Friday, April 17, 2009

A Mall in Winter Park? (Scanning Project Continued)

Out of my five items that I scanned earlier this semester, my favorite item is a newspaper article called “Mall Fireman Told Thanks with Suit of Armor”. Before I explain why I like this article and what it describes, I should probably give some (historical) context. In the night of April 6th / 7th, 1969 (Easter morning of 1969) there was a great fire that severely damaged the Winter Park Mall. This fire is actually of great historical importance since “the Winter Park Mall fire was the first major fire incident in the United States involving an enclosed shopping mall.” ( The Winter Park Fire department responded with a staff that would be considered small for today’s standards, but as they received help from five other departments in the greater Orlando area, they were able to get the fire under control in a matter of four hours. ( Nevertheless, the fire had damaged the Winter Park mall to such an extent that it had burned down and what remained of it was torn down shortly after.

However, one thing – or better to say one knight – survived the mall fire. While none of the merchandise in the mall survived the fire, the firemen were able to “rescue” a suit of armor of knight out of the flames of the mall fire. The armor was a (historic) piece that belonged to L.E. Crawford and James Post. Showing their appreciation for the firemen’s valor in putting out the fire, they donated the knight valued at roughly $2000 at that time to the Winter Park’s fire department. The article I scanned describes the donation ceremony and shows a picture of the mall firemen holding up the knight, which is now displayed at the Winter Park fire department (according to the article).

This article from 1969 was my favorite item to scan because I felt it was different and somewhat more entertaining than the other articles. I liked how a knight (or his armor better to say) could play such a big role in a mall fire – I find it great that the fire didn’t ruin it! Since I am not from the area, I also found it interesting to find out about the mall that apparently existed in Winter Park in 1969 – up to now I was never aware of a mall in Winter Park.

1 comment:

  1. I stumbled across this blog while reading about winter park (I grew up there in the early 70's and 80's) - I never knew the mall had burned down - they must have rebuilt it - because my best friend and I spent counltless hours there in the 70's and 80's before they tore it down and eventual built what is there now - the Winter Park Villages - an upscale shopping village of sorts. Interesting blog - thanks!!!