All across the nation, various towns and communities have their individual features that, alone, may tell the story of the town or creates a boundary that separates the community into different sections or populations. That factor may deal with social stature, ethnicity, economic growth, or even be a physical boundary. Looking specifically at the town and community of Winter Park, Florida, there is one major factor that I believe separates the community. That one factor is the train tracks.
The railroad tracks were originally laid in 1880. It was originally named the South Florida Railroad. In the late summer of 1881, a small town (which later would be named Winter Park) consisting of multiple streets forming a grid like outline, a 10-acre park, a lakeside resort hotel, and a black residential district for domestic servants and grove workers. The railroad ran right through the middle of this town and the creation of the black residential district shows how the tracks served as a boundary and division between two different communities.
Later on as the town of Winter Park developed and grew, the tracks’ purpose as a boundary became more and more prevalent. What become of the west side of the tracks was a dominantly African American population and on the other side a business based white community just waiting to take charge of the other side and grow economically. As we learned at the heritage center just by taking a tour of the community and what it is today, one can see all the change that has occurred. What once were lines of houses that served as historic scenes in the community have been taken over by the business world. Where the houses once were stands large strips of shops and restaurants, all representing the growth that occurred throughout the communities, mainly by the white community, economically. The business side of Winter Park has grown to both sides of the tracks, hinting that the tracks no longer serve as the boundary that they once did. The communities have come together and grown as one; Winter Park has become one town instead of one town made of two communities.
Even though the tracks do not serve so much as a boundary, they serve as a memory of the history behind the railroad being built and the two communities that once were divided. That tracks’ eternal visibility will always be present and will always tell the story of a historical boundary.