Historic Markers Across Florida

Winter Garden Downtown Historic District

Marker ID: FLHM F-861
Location: on Plant St (FL 438) at Woodland St, Winter Garden, FL
County: Orange
Coordinates: N 28° 33.958    W 081° 35.092
  28.56596666    -81.58486666
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WMQ5EJ


On this corner, farmers built a small wooden train station soon after the Orange Belt Railroad reached the area in 1886. By 1899, the Taveres & Gulf Railroad constructed a second rail line and depot nearby. Wooden stores rose alongside the parallel tracks and Winter Garden was incorporated in 1908. Prosperity fueled Winter Garden's growth from 1910 to 1960. The town became a major citrus shipping point, and downtown served as the region's shopping center. Nearby, Lake Apopka gained recognition as "the large-mouth bass capital of the world." During the second half of the 20th century, the city center declined. Automobiles replaced train travel, strip malls outpaced downtown Plant Street stores, and Lake Apopka became severely polluted. After multiple freezes during the 1980s decimated the citrus industry, the buildings in the dilapidated downtown district stood mostly abandoned. Orange County replaced the Plant Street railroad tracks with the West Orange Trail in 1994, which sparked a turnaround. In 1996, a district featuring 24 commercial structures was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Through the strong efforts of residents, merchants, and city officials, the city center has undergone a rebirth.

The Winter Garden Heritage Foundation,
and the Florida Department of State