Winter Park acquired it's name in the 1800s and it's easy to guess how it was named Winter Park. The wealthy northerners who were looking to escape the cold winters of New England traveled down to Central Florida to spend the winter months in the small, warm area known as Winter Park. This was a great vacation spot because it was warm all year round, but the travelers didn't have to stay for the hottest summer months. The New Englanders that founded Winter Park were industrialists who wanted to create a town that had museums and businesses and they wanted it to be unlike other Central Florida towns. These men were wealthy and after the railroad was constructed through the town, business increased as well as it became a site for tourists. The wealthy business men and their families were not the only people occupying the town. Many African Americans lived in the area already and came to work with the construction of the buildings, businesses and the land.
With the wealthy business men controlling business and buying up the land, a racial divide occurred that is not as prominent, but still noticeable when driving through different parts of Winter Park. The area called Hannibal Square along with the west side of town is predominately African Americans. This area was crime ridden, pretty run down and not very safe. The wealthy white population lived on the east side of Winter Park on the huge lots with giant houses and beautiful scenery. The east side also had the majority of businesses and restaurants that added to the elegant setting and life style of the wealthy whites.
This divide of races between the two sides of Winter Park has in fact shaped the perception of the city as a whole in that they are two completely different life styles that when put together create a very distinctive, diverse city. Back when Winter Park was developing, there was discrimination and not much cooperation between the two races except that the African Americans worked for the whites and of course worked the jobs they were given. For a long time there weren't many opportunities for the African Americans to receive benefits or education unlike the white population. Now a days there is not a whole lot of segregation nor discrimination between the two races and major changes within the community have taken place that preserve the good name of Winter Park, but make it even better. Over the past few years, Hannibal Square has dramatically improved physically with new roads and buildings and the whole west side has made dramatic changes. The east side still keeps it reputation as being expensive in the real estate market as well as the types of stores and restaurants are all top notch, but now there are many more job opportunities for any person seeking a job as well as the many college students that attended Rollins and are looking for jobs after they graduate.
Thus the perception f Winter Park has changed in a positive way and the community now is very united and proud, especially the older citizens who have remained here throughout some of the developments and social changes the city has gone through. Now there isn't a division between the African Americans and the whites as there was a long time ago. For the most part, everything is equal within the Winter Park community including jobs and the ability to afford to live in the pricier parts of town. No matter the race, people in the 21st century are able to work their way to be where ever they want to be and this is definitely the case with the citizens living in present day Winter Park.