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Winter Park Library Archive

Winter Park Land Company

The history of the Winter Park Land Company can trace its roots back to the Winter Park Company, which was one of the early businesses in the town. The Winter Park Company was incorporated in 1885, with Frederick C. Lyman serving as its first president. Also in 1885, Oliver Chapman (one of the town founders) sold his interest in Chapman & Chase to partner, Loring Chase, who subsequently conveyed his title to all of their Winter Park properties to the Winter Park Company. In 1886 the Winter Park Company built their headquarters on the corner of Park and New England Avenues.

In 1891 when the Winter Park Company was unable to pay its mortgage to the Estate of Francis Knowles, it agreed to convey all of its properties to the Estate in lieu of a foreclosure suit.

After the economy had taken a dramatic down-turn from the devastating freezes of 1894 and 1895 and the loss of the Seminole Hotel to a great fire in1902, Charles Hosmer Morse purchased all of the properties in Winter Park that were owned by the Executors of the Francis B. Knowles estate in 1904, thereby becoming the owner of almost half of Winter Park. The Winter Park Land Company uses this date as their founding date.

The Winter Park Land Company, incorporated on June 25, 1915 by Mr. Morse, is still in existence. It opened for business in 1917 and its offices are at 122 South Park. The company remains the oldest real estate firm in the "City of Homes."

A 1954 article from the Winter Park Herald describes the Winter Park Land Company's concerns as "insuring the orderly development of the city, maintaining its present beauty, and attracting to it people who are sympathetic to the cause of perpetuating and extending its great natural attractiveness."

This article was written by former archivist, Barbara White, MLIS.