College Park: Orlando’s ‘City’ Within A City

Located in one of Orlando’s oldest neighborhoods, College Park is mostly an all-American, middle-class neighborhood just Northwest of Orlando’s downtown urban core. Contained within roughly five-square miles, among majestic towering oaks and brick-lined streets, it offers an established feel. Set around 287 acres of urban lakes, including Lake Adair, Ivanhoe, Concord and Silver, this pedestrian-friendly community contains numerous parks, a broad-based residential area and a mile-long business district. It is where the convenience of urban living fuses with the atmosphere and comforts of a small town; where residents can live, work, worship and shop without needing to travel beyond the community borders.

The close-knit community exhibits a unique balance attributed largely to its broad economic and social mix: elegant million-dollar lakefront estates with moneyed inhabitants nestled among average-priced homes of more modest appeal, where young urban professionals mix with retired members and where neighbors aren’t just neighbors, they’re friends. Residents here are immensely proud of their socially and economically diverse community. They embrace a sense of optimism and shared values that make the hometown lifestyle of the “drive,” vibe.

The first home arrived in College Park when citrus grower John Ericsson built in the middle of the 80 acres he purchased in 1875. Several other growers followed, buying acreage for grove development and by 1880, with the completion of the South Florida Railroad, 100 homes stood in what was to become the College Park area. By 1900, the area is touted as producing the best pineapples in the United States, specifically on thirty acres owned by George Russell located between Lake Ivanhoe and Lake Concord. As trade with Cuba opened and pineapple profits decreased, Ivanhoe Pineries became Orlando’s first water park, Russell’s Point (also called Ivanhoe Park and later renamed Joyland), became a favorite spot for water slides, picnics, fishing, swimming, dancing and watching silent films from 1910-1919.

Driving through College Park, you’ll notice that many of the streets have been named after famous ivy-league and top-tier colleges, such as Princeton, Harvard and Yale, Bryn Mawr and Vassar. However, it was not until 1925 that the idea for naming the area College Park came about. Seizing on the college-theme of the already named streets, developer Cooper-Atha-Carr Company (CABCO) platted a 201-lot subdivision and named it College Park. Sales were so successful, CABCO continued by platting the College Park golf course and country club section, as well as six more additions. As the subdivisions grew, the idea of naming the area encompassing many other subdivisions grew, such as Edgewater Heights, Concord Park, Adair Park, Ivanhoe Heights, Anderson Park, Dubsdread, Palm Terrace, Ardsley Manor, Biltmore Shore, Rosemere, and with it, “College Park.”

From pineapple pinery, to water park, to quaint in-city village, today’s College Park has become as trendy as it is popular. The area is a true haven for its residents, offering something for everyone. However, it is the spirit and excitement of Downtown College Park, with its fabulous restaurants, cafes, homecoming parades, wine tastings, regular farmer’s market and other events, that brings this community together and draws many to this Orlando’s ‘City’ within a City.

Approximate Distance to:
Orlando International Airport: 24 miles
Universal Studios, Florida: 11 miles
Walt Disney World Resort: 17 miles
Downtown Orlando: 1 mile

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