Original Images Courtesy of the Rollins College Archives
Winter Park’s enduring appeal is no accident. For more than a century, the city’s residents have made certain that their one-of-a-kind hometown has remained a welcoming and well-planned oasis of beauty, culture and intellectual attainment.
With that in mind, last year Winter Park Magazine put forth the idea of an official Winter Park Hall of Fame. The hall would salute people — some familiar, some less so — whose contributions to the city were particularly significant.
In consultation with local historians, the magazine’s editors selected an inaugural class of 15, ranging from the city’s earliest pioneers through some 20th-century icons. Only those who are no longer living were considered. Otherwise, the field was wide open.
The resulting roster was an eclectic assortment of pioneers, philanthropists, educators and activists. Digital artist Chip Weston volunteered to transform old photographs of the selectees into stunning works of art, which were reproduced in the magazine and displayed in the J.K. and Sarah Galloway Foundation Community Gallery at the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce.
Our hope was that community organizations and the City of Winter Park would ultimately adopt the concept, and designate it as official. Fortunately for those who care about Winter Park history, that’s exactly what happened.
The City of Winter Park and the Winter Park History Museum, in cooperation with Winter Park Magazine, are now the stewards of the Winter Park Hall of Fame.
There’ll ultimately be a permanent exhibit at the Winter Park Public Library and Events Center, which is soon to be built in Martin Luther King Jr. Park, on the site of the current Rachel D. Murrah Civic Center.
In the meantime, the display will occupy the Chapman Room, on the second floor of Winter Park City Hall adjacent to the City Commission chambers. Appropriately, the room is named for Oliver Chapman, an original founder of Winter Park and an inaugural inductee into the Winter Park Hall of Fame.
For the 2016 selection process, the museum assembled a volunteer committee to submit nominations and settle on a maximum of four inductees. Committee members included Jack Lane, professor of history emeritus, Rollins College; Thaddeus Seymour, president emeritus, Rollins College; and Jack Rogers, retired architect who took over the practice of his father, James Gamble Rogers II, a 2015 Hall of Famer.
Also participating was attorney Harold Ward of Winderweedle, Haines, Ward and Woodman. Ward is a fourth-generation Winter Parker whose family has been prominent in the city’s history since the 1880s.
Rounding out the committee was Ann Hicks Murrah, community activist; Joyce Swain, retired city clerk; and the versatile Weston, a history aficionado as well as an artist, musician and instructor in new media at Full Sail University.
Clarissa Howard, director of communications, City of Winter Park; Randy Noles, editor and publisher, Winter Park Magazine; and Susan Skolfield, executive director, the Winter Park History Museum and the Winter Park Historical Association; served as ex-officio members.
Below are the four new members of the Winter Park Hall of Fame. The city will soon release information about when the full display will be completed and installed.