- Seminole County
- Year Founded: 1959
- Founded by: North Orlando Company
- Previously known as: The Village of North Orlando
Prior to European colonization, the area that is now Winter Springs was populated by the various Native Americans including the Timucua and Seminole tribes. This land on the southern banks of Lake Jessup was acquired by Moses Levy, a New York merchant, who amassed thousands of acres of Florida land in the early 1800s.
In the early 1840s, wealthy landowner Henry and John Gee persuaded Florida Territorial Governor Richard Call to give them part of the Moses Levy land grants along Lake Jessup. In 1852, US courts upheld the validity of the Spanish land grants and returned the property to Moses Levy.
In 1865, George Brantley and Daniel Mitchell built a wharf and general store on the south shore of Lake Jessup on what is now the City’s Central Winds Park. He named the site Tuskawilla after an Indian Village in Alachua County. The wharf at Tuskawilla Landing was as far south as steamboats could travel with freight bound for the settlements in Maitland, Orlando and Winter Park.
In the frontier-like atmosphere of the 1800s, wagons hauled people and goods south to the cities of Orlando and Maitland, or transported products and passengers north across Lakes Jessup and Monroe and up the St. Johns River. Lumber and logging ventures, sawmills, and turpentine stills were built, orange groves were planted, and railroads were extended to serve them.
In 1957, Raymond Moss and George Edgemon purchased land under the name North Orlando Company, a subsidiary of Silver Creek Mining and Precision Company. This area was originally incorporated as North Orlando in 1959, with a population of 300 residents. The City changed its name to Winter Springs in 1972.
The growth of the Central Florida region has contributed to Winter Springs’ steady development. In 1968, nearby Florida Technological University opened, and has grown to become the nation’s third largest university, the University of Central Florida (UCF). The continued development of UCF, its adjacent Research Park, and the growth and development of Central Florida’s aerospace and defense industries has fueled consistent, steady development of high quality, suburban style residential neighborhoods from the 1970s to date, making Winter Springs one of Central Florida’s premiere destinations.
The Winter Springs Town Center, designed to replicate the feel of “old town” Florida in the geographic heart of the City, opened in 2002. This mixed-use development provides an urban center for the City with a new 54,000 SF Publix store and 61,000 SF of specialty retail shops and office space. Winter Springs is now home to over 33,633 people and is poised to remain one of the state’s most livable communities.
Little Known Facts
An effort was made in 1966 to change the City’s name due to resident’s having difficulties receiving mail and telephone calls because of the similarity with nearby “Orlando” in Orange County.
Name: Richard Grogan’s Barber and Style Shop
Location: 1 North Fairfax Avenue, Winter Springs
Historical Significance: First City Hall
Name: City Hall
Location: 1126 East State Road 434, Winter Springs
Historical Significance: Second and Current City Hall