New Collection: Truth and Justice Project Collection

The Truth and Justice Project of Orange County, Florida, (TJP) is a volunteer-based organization that engages with the community to promote education concerning the truth of local history and to advocate justice for those who have been harmed by inequities born of prejudice. TJP builds on the work of Montgomery-based Equal Justice Initiative as well as the local efforts of Democracy Forum, the West Orange Reconciliation Task Force, and the Ocoee Human Relations Diversity Board. This project is rooted in acknowledging the 1920 Election Day Massacre in Orange County and all of the violence committed in the name of white supremacy. Their mission statement says that they are “working to create a more hopeful, collaborative, and just society for every person in Orange County, Florida.”

Click the link below to view the collection:

New Additions to LGBTQ+ Collection!

We’ve added new items to our LGBTQ+ Collection! One is a flyer for a history harvest conducted by the GLBT History Museum of Central Florida and the University of Central Florida’s RICHES program on January 14, 2017. The harvest was held at The LGBT Center of Central Florida, located at 946 North Mills Avenue in Orlando, Florida. The purpose of the event was to collect, preserve and digitally share photographs, documents and objects related to GLBT history in Central Florida. The other is a planning document for a display at the Orange County Regional History Center in Orlando, Florida. The exhibition, entitled “Pride, Prejudice and Protest”, chronicles the history of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender community, sharing the progress and setbacks of the Central Florida LGBTQ+ community over the past five decades. The planning document is divided into three columns: Text, Theme and Image or Artifact.

You can view the collection here:

New Collection: Jones High School Historical Museum Collection

Located in the Parramore/Lorna Doone neighborhood of downtown Orlando, Jones High School – OCPS was the first area public school for African-Americans. The original building was located on the corner of Garland Avenue and Church Street, but the school was renamed the Johnson Academy and moved to a new building on the corner of Chatham Avenue and West Jefferson Street. In 1921, the school was renamed in honor Principal L. C. Jones and a brick colonial revival building was constructed on the corner of Parramore Avenue and Washington Street. The school was finally moved to its current location at 801 South Rio Grande Avenue in 1952.

Click the link below to view the collection:

100 Year Memorial Remembering Roderick Perry Taylor

The Geneva Historical & Genealogical Society, Inc. held a 100 year memorial on October 10, 2018, for Roderick Perry Taylor of Geneva, Florida, and the other 564 people who died on the R.M.S. Leinster when it was hit by three German torpedoes in the Irish Sea on Oct. 10, 1918. Most of those killed were young military men and women. The ceremony was held at 2:00 PM at the Geneva Community Center. While memorials were also held on the same day in Ireland and other Allied countries, this was the only memorial in the United States that honored the six American soldiers who drowned.

You can watch the ceremony here.

And check out our Geneva Historical & Genealogical Society Collection here!

New Collection: Weeki Wachee Collection

Along with a group of investors, Newton Perry opened Weeki Wachee Springs to the public in October of 1947. At the time, roadside attractions were becoming popular stops along Florida roadways. The attraction consisted of an amalgamation of vendors, an orchid garden, a river boat tour, as well as the star attraction: a mermaid show that took place in an underwater theater. Eventually, the May Museum of the Tropics, an “abandoned Seminole village”, a show called “Birds of Prey”, and a petting zoo were added. After peaking in the 1950s and 1960s, attendance began to decline as theme parks and highways changed the dynamics of Florida’s tourism. The State of Florida took over the attraction as a state park in 2008. Since then, the park has focused on appealing to a modern audience while preserving its history.

Check out our Weeki Wachee Spring Collection:

New Item: A Side Walk with the Art Festival

A Side Walk with the Art Festival by Elizabeth Bradley Bentley. The book celebrates two decades of the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival in Winter Park, Florida. Bentley documents the festival’s history using newspaper articles, oral history interviews, personal experiences, scrapbooks, programs and minutes. Each chapter in Section One represents one year of the festival. Several photographs of prize winning displays are included. Section Two is an appendix of winners, judges, officers, committees, commission and associates.

Debuting in 1960, the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival is one of the nation’s oldest, largest, and most prestigious outdoor art festivals. By 2018, after 60 years, the festival attracted more than 350,000 visitors a year. 225 artists are selected from over 1,000 applicants by a panel of three independent judges. Arts and crafts categories include clay, digital art, drawings and pastels, fiber, glass, graphics and printmaking, jewelry, leather, metal, mixed media 2D, mixed media 3D, painting, photography, sculpture, watercolor and wood. The festival incorporates hands-on activities for young children and students to encourage participation in and appreciation of the arts.

You can view this item by clicking on the link below:

New Additions to the Geneva Historical & Genealogical Society Collection!

The Geneva Historical & Genealogical Society, Inc. held a 100 year memorial on October 10, 2018, for Roderick Perry Taylor of Geneva, Florida, and the other 564 people who died on the R.M.S. Leinster when it was hit by three German torpedoes in the Irish Sea on Oct. 10, 1918. Most of those killed were young military men and women. The ceremony was held at 2:00 PM at the Geneva Community Center. While memorials were also held on the same day in Ireland and other Allied countries, this was the only memorial in the United States that honored the six American soldiers who drowned.

You can browse items from the memorial as well as others in our Geneva Historical & Genealogical Society Collection by clicking on the link below:

New Additions to the Orlando Gay Chorus Collection!

The OGC allowed RICHES to digitize their concert programs going all the way back to their very first performance! Follow the link below to browse through some of the earlier programs and check back soon for more additions!

New Collection: Hillcrest Elementary School Collection

Hillcrest Elementary School is one of Orlando’s oldest schools, opening in 1923. Since the 1980s, it has had a vibrant foreign language component and today it continues that tradition through the Orange County Public Schools Foreign Language Academy.

Visit our Hillcrest Elementary Collection:

Watermark Collection Now Through 2006!

Since 1994, The Watermark has been the cornerstone source of LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer/Questioning, and others) centered news for the Central Florida region. Founded by Tom Dyer in Orlando, the publication began generating bi-weekly issues beginning August 31, 1994. Since then, The Watermark has consistently published newspaper style issues every other Thursday. Gaining traction, the publication expanded in 1995 to include Tampa and, in 1997, The Watermark became a permanent piece of LGBTQ+ culture when the publication initiated the first large-scale Gay Days Weekend event, the Beach Ball at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon. Before 1999, the publication printed 20,000 copies every week, distributing them to over 500 locations between its two major cities. Following 1999, the publication launched shifting to an online publication style. In 2016, Rick Claggett purchased The Watermark.

To explore this collection, please visit:

New Exhibit: Central Florida Railroad Depots

Digital exhibit created by Dr. Connie L. Lester’s American Economic History class during the Spring Semester of 2014 at the University of Central Florida. The class project entailed a digital exhibit demonstrating the role of railroads, and specifically railroad depots, in the economic life of Central Florida communities. Each student was responsible for one railroad depot, documenting the historic and current economic impact of the depot to the surrounding community. Documentation included historic and current images, economic development statistics, and historic analysis.

Long and arduous journeys by watercraft or stagecoach were the only methods of travel and transportation of goods in Central Florida before the advent of railroads in the 1830s. Following the American Civil War, railroads expanded further across the peninsula, eventually becoming a fully established system by the 1880s. The efforts of Henry Flagler (1830-1913) in the eastern coast and Henry B. Plant (1819-1899) in the central and western portions of the state were largely responsible for the rapid development of the railroad, which connected virtually every major city and town by the 1890s. Although the railroad network peaked in the 1920s, with a number of cities being serviced by multiple lines, the rise of the automobile, air travel and the Great Depression contributed to its decline during the 1930s and 1940s.

To explore this collection, please visit:

Nearly 100 Years of the The Sanford Herald are now digitally available on RICHESMI™!

On August 22, 1908, the Sanford Herald published its first issue. Featuring articles about the cost of purchasing and developing farm land and details of orange culture, the first issue was named the “industrial edition” as Sanford was then known as the Gate City to Florida.

News of the past is no longer limited to newspaper print as the result of a collaborative partnership between the Museum of Seminole County History, the Sanford Museum and the UCF Department of History.

Seminole County Historical Society led the initiative by raising funds to cover the costs of digitizing original newspapers and microfilm published from 1908 to 2005. Over 300 rolls of microfilm were digitized by local business partner, EZ Photo Scan. The Sanford Historical Society, Inc., also joined the effort with fundraising, making the project a true working partnership. Together, these historical societies dedicated countless hours to review completed scans, provide quality control and assure that scans were legible. Without their tireless effort, this treasure trove of newspapers would remain physically archived without digital preservation.

Final digitized images were supplied to RICHES™ to complete optical character recognition (OCR), a technology that enables the conversion of various types of documents into editable and searchable data. The OCR process ran continuously for nearly six months. Earlier newspapers were very slow to process due to print quality, but the more recent documents are processing much faster. Issues published from 1908 to 1962 are currently available digitally. As the OCR process continues, newspapers beyond 1962 will also be available through RICHES™.

You can view the current Sanford Herald 1908-1962 collection here:

New Exhibit: Westinghouse Power Generation in Orlando – The Early Days

The national headquarters of Siemens Energy, Inc., located in east Orlando on Alafaya Trail near University Boulevard—across from the University of Central Florida—is a major part of the Central Florida business community. Almost forgotten, however, is that the original developer and occupant of the site was the Power Generation Business Unit (PGBU) of the Westinghouse Electric Corporation, one of America’s foremost industrial companies, whose history spanned a 100-year period from the late 1800s until the late 1990s. In 1998, PGBU was acquired by Siemens, AG of Germany.

New Release of RMI

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