Friday, December 7, 2012

Winter Park History: The Importance of Ergood's Store and Hall

One of the first buildings erected in Winter Park by the town's founding father's Oliver Chapman and Loring Chase, would become known as Ergood's Hall (interchangeably known as Ergood's Store). Owned by John R. Ergood, Ergood's would officially open in September 1882 on the corner of North Park Avenue and Morse Boulevard. While it was first opened as a store, due to a small number of buildings in Winter Park, the store had many functions. But just how important was Ergood's to Hannibal Square (west side and housed the Black community of Winter Park) and the rest of the rich side of town?

One of Ergood's earliest shots of what the original building looked like as well as the scarcity of the rest of the town. Unlike today where Park Avenue is packed with stores and restaurants, Winter Park was still in its beginning stages as a town, let alone the thought of it being anywhere close to a city.

With the word "Furniture" written across the top, Ergood's is located as the first building in this picture circa 1888. Since Winter Park was still particularly small with few buildings spaced far apart, the buildings that were erected by Chase and Chapman needed to be of importance to the town and its community (even if it was created with luxury and vacationing in mind).

This was an eastern view of Morse Boulevard and of a more developed Winter Park. The first building to the left was what used to be Ergood's. This picture was taken after 1900 (but before 1928) and housed what is known here as the Winter Park Pharmacy, established by Dr. Jerry Trovillion. Before it became the Winter Park Pharmacy, Ergood's Hall and Store was more than just a store. It held Winter Park's Town Hall where city officials met to conduct business that affected all parts of the community. Ergood's was also converted into a general hall for church meetings for different congregations varying from Presbyterian to Methodist. It also housed the first Sunday School as well as classes for Rollins College when they first opened. Not only was John R. Ergood the owner of the store he also became Winter Park's postmaster and the back of the store was where the post office was located.
Fast forward 130 years from Ergood's first year of business, in 2012 where the building used to be is now a Penzey's Spices. After Dr. Trovillion bought the store from Ergood and made it into Winter Park's first soda fountain and the new pharmacy, it would continue to change over the years. In 1931 the name would change to the Corner Drug Store and in 1948, Taylor's Pharmacy. By 1987 it would be the new location of the Banana Republic before becoming Penzey's.

As Winter Park progressed and became more of the town and then city it originally set out to be, one of luxury and relaxation, the uses for the original stores were no longer as sought after. Now there is more room for buildings that house items that are not necessarily needed for a town to thrive and survive. While the original store is no longer there and it has changed significantly over the years, that does not by any means make Ergood's any less important to Winter Park's upward movement in prosperity. The importance of Ergood's Hall and Store and the historical presence it held was captured in the city's 125th anniversary as it celebrated all the businesses, buildings and people that help make Winter Park what it is today.

Claire Leavitt MacDowell, Chronological History of Winter Park, Florida (1950), 22.
Barbara White:
- "Ergood's Store and Hall," Winter Park Public Library,
- "Winter Park Streets: Morse Boulevard," Winter Park Public Library,

"Historic Downtown Winter Park: A Walking Tour" Winter Park Historical Association,

Jennifer Kopf, "Winter Park Celebrates 125th Anniversary"

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