One of the best ways to get to know more about the history and architecture of a city is to embark on a walking tour. Strolling through a city provides the opportunity to develop a feel for the area and provides an up close look at features that are missed when on a driving tour.
If you are feeling adventurous and want to set off on your own, the City of Orlando provides a downloadable self-guided tour of the 8 square block downtown historic district, complete with map and descriptions of each of the featured sites on the tour. The historic district designation has helped to preserve buildings that might have been demolished as the city grew. The complete tour is about 2.5 miles, but the tour route may be followed in whole or part.
Guided walking tours of Downtown Orlando's Historic District are now available. Call the Downtown Information Center at 407-254-4636 to find out when the next tour date will be. These tours will be led by Richard Forbes, Historic Preservation Officer for the City of Orlando. Tours will begin at the Downtown Information Center, 201 S. Orange Ave.
Located on the south shore of Lake Monroe at the head of the St. John's River, the City of Sanford was founded in 1877 by Henry Shelton Sanford to become the transportation hub for all of southern Florida. Today the Sanford Historic Preservation Board offers a downloadable self-guided walking tour of Sanford's downtown historic district that features a unique look at examples of the diverse architectural styles and building materials that were used throughout the city's growth and development. The tour, which takes about an hour, starts in the center of town at the clock tower in Magnolia Square.
The Winter Park Historical Association offers a 20 stop self-guided tour of the historical buildings and scenic surroundings of this beautiful community. Just visit the first stop of the tour, the Winter Park Historical Museum in the Winter Park Farmers market building at 200 W. New England Ave. and pick up the free walking tour brochure. Open Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m.- 2 p.m.
The self-guided tour marks historically significant points along Conway Road highlighting the area’s past including: The English Colony/The Polo Club; Conway United Methodist Church/Brick Road; Conway School/The Citrus Industry; Conway First Baptist Church/Fort Gatlin at Conway and Gatlin Avenue; and St. Mary’s Missionary Baptist Church/Datson Diaries at Conway and St. Mary’s Lane.
The Longwood Historic District near the intersection of SR 434 and County Road 427 in Longwood, became part of the National Register of Historic Places in 1990. In addition to the Longwood Hotel, the 1879 Christ Episcopal Church, and the 1885 Queen Anne-style Bradlee-McIntyre House, the district contains many interesting homes like the 1873 Inside Outside House that features support studs on the outside. The downloadable walking tour, available at the website, takes about 1 hour to complete.