Thursday, December 6, 2012

Suburban Isolation in Winter Park: Bob MacHardy's Journey to Work

Bob MacHardy, 52, died suddenly at his suburban Maitland home at 233 Pinewood Drive on August 21, 1985. He was a teacher at Winter Park High School for over twenty-three years. While this may seem ordinary, Mr. MacHardy’s journey to work reveals certain facets of the suburban Winter Park middle class, the most prominent being isolation. From his quiet home off of 17-92 to his place of work, the most direct route runs through only suburb after suburb. With Maitland being one of the first suburban housing developments in central Florida, it is clear that its purpose was to isolate the post-war middle class from the hustle and bustle of the big city to the southwest. The route Bob MacHardy took from his home to his place of work is indicative of the suburban isolation that took place in central Florida during the Cold War and the urban expansion of the 1970s and 80s.

 MacHardy’s journey to work starts with his subdivision in southern Maitland. The suburb is heavily wooded, but not far from major thoroughfares. The houses are modest, one-story, two to three bedroom houses that roughly all look the same. One cannot help but think of Levittown and other pioneer suburbs, and how the emerging nuclear family played a major role in urban development.
       Bob then traveled east on Derbyshire Road: one of the largest roads on the journey. It is also heavily secluded and wooded, surrounded by even more suburban houses. From here, Mr. MacHardy would be far removed from 17-92 to the west and State Road 436 to the east. There would obviously be a strong sense of community in such a large development.
       Bob would then head south on Kewannee Trail for about 0.7 miles and then east on Tuscarora Trail. After that, MacHardy would turn south on Lake Howell Road, which turns into North Lakemont Avenue. Pictured is the intersection between Lakemont and Aloma Avenue, the only major intersection MacHardy would encounter on his trip to work. This illustrates how close, yet so removed, the Maitland and Winter Park suburbs are to Orlando proper.
       Arriving at Whitehall Drive, MacHardy was less than a mile from his occupation. Even though his place of work was on the other side of Lake Maitland, it bears striking similarity to his own suburb, even though it is in the immediate vicinity of a high school. This directly reflected the desire for professionals to have their children protected and secluded away from the city proper.
       This is a photo of the Winter Park High School campus itself. In can be observed that it is located within a housing development, within walking distance of a multitude of middle class suburban houses. It can also be said that the campus is completely off limits during the weekends from the side entrances in order to keep it safe from students vandalizing or trespassing.
       Bob MacHardy’s journey to work was typical for a middle class educator in Winter Park. From his home at 233 Pinewood Drive to Winter Park High, his route would have been completely devoid of the sights and sounds of downtown Orlando. His house was less than two hundred yards from a major state road, yet his route would bypass every major road on the way to his place of employment. This was a direct result of the urban decay of the urban centers in the 1970s and the subsequent desire for solitude and protection from big cities. This gave rise to a massive increase in urban sprawl that proliferated when Mr. MacHardy was alive and still continues today. 

Primary Sources
"Bob MacHardy dead at 52" Outlook (Tallahassee, FL) Aug. 25, 1985
Secondary Sources
United State Census Bureau. State and County QuickFacts Maitland, FL. September 18, 2012. (accessed November 25, 2012).

Maitland History. (accessed November 25, 2012).

Teaford, Jon C. The Metropolitan Revolution. Chichester, West Sussex NY: Colombia University                      Press, 2006.


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