With the year 2021 about to come to a close, we thought it’d be fun to reach back into our community’s rich history and pull out some fun and interesting facts about Greater Oviedo and Winter Springs for you to enjoy and share. Of course the first one is about birds.
- Oviedo is renowned for its free-roaming chickens, but also features a substantial population of peacocks, rivaling if not exceeding that of Winter Park. A group of peacocks is properly known as an “ostentation” or “pride.”
- Seminole County used to be part of Orange County before being carved out in 1913. Before that the two were part of a much larger “Mosquito County,” consuming roughly a quarter of the entire state of Florida and stretching as far south as Palm Beach. When Florida became a state in 1845, the more flattering Orange County name was adopted.
- Lake Jesup was the southern terminus for boat traffic along the St. Johns River, making Winter Springs’ current territory and Oviedo a particularly busy spot for river boats. The present-day Aloma Avenue was once known as the Oviedo-Winter Park Road, as it provided travelers by river the most efficient route to Winter Park over land. In the same vein, the Oviedo-Geneva Road, as you might expect, is the continuation of this general route to the northeast.
- The area known today as Winter Springs was once “North Orlando,” its proper name, a reference to the development company that owned the land south and west of Lake Jesup. It kept that moniker from 1959 until 1972, when it took on its present name.
- Oviedo features four buildings in the National Register of Historic Places — King’s Manor, the R.W. Celery precooler that’s the present home of Atticus Printing, the Wheeler-Evans house on South Lake Jesup Avenue and the Historic Sanctuary of First United Methodist Church of Oviedo, which was designed by Gamble Rogers.
- Tuskawilla is named for a native village in Alachua County, an area now known as Micanopy.
- The Alafaya Woods neighborhood features a variety of streets named for significant figures in Oviedo’s development, and once provided the only practical route to Stenstrom Elementary, as the stretch of Mitchell Hammock Road east of State Road 434 didn’t exist.
- Oviedo’s original fire department was volunteer-based, and some of those firefighters are still alive today.
- Florida was originally inhabited by native tribes more than 12,000 years ago, before Europeans began arriving in the late 1400s and early 1500s. All that is present-day Florida was once either populated by native tribes, colonized by Spain, or a British territory, and then again a Spanish possession, before becoming part of the United States in 1821.
- Both Oviedo and Sanford were founded in part by Swedish immigrants, including Andrew Aulin, the namesake of Aulin Avenue in Oviedo. Aulin is noteworthy both for having managed the first Oviedo Post Office, and for naming that office, and by association, the town around it. He chose the name Oviedo, after a city in Spain, as an homage to Florida’s Spanish past. Until that time the settlement was known as “Lake Jesup.”
Editor’s note: This article was amended to include the fourth nationally registered historic building in Oviedo, the Historic Sanctuary of First United Methodist Church of Oviedo. Also, due to a technical error, this article was misattributed to Megan Stokes. The author is Alex Babcock.