The building that houses the African American history museum today originally opened as a hotel in the 1920s. Dr. William Monroe Wells, one of the first black physicians in Central Florida, wanted a safe place for black travelers and residents to stay and a space to host parties and events.
In its heyday, stars like Ray Charles, Ella Fitzgerald and other entertainers performed at the neighboring South Street Casino and stayed at the hotel. But in the 80s, the hotel and casino became abandoned as folks moved to other more modern hotels and the Parramore neighborhood saw increasingly less development. In 1987, a fire burned down the casino and the buildings attracted squatters and the homeless population.
Then in the 90s, historians and community leaders stepped in to raise funds to restore the building and declare it a historic site, said Elizabeth Thompson, the museum director.
Now for more than 15 years, the museum has served as a place to preserve the black history of Orlando.
Check out our video for a taste of the incredible history the museum has preserved.
Want to visit the museum? It’s open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturdays by appointment for a group of 20 or more. Admission is $5 per adult and $3 per student.
Battling opioid addiction. Florida, Texas, Nevada, Tennessee, North Carolina and North Dakota are suing the manufacturers of OxyContin and other opioids. “We are in the midst of a national opioid crisis claiming 175 lives a day nationally and 15 lives a day in Florida,” said Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. Meanwhile, Heart of Florida United Way is piloting a program that can help those seeking treatment for opioid addiction via text message. Central Florida residents can text OPIOD to 898-211 to answer questions and get local resources and links. (USA Today, Orlando Sentinel)
Vegging out. Orlando landed middle-of-the-pack on a new fitness survey. While 73 percent of us are exercising at least once a month (low bar, there, but yay!), apparently less than 20 percent are eating three or more veggies a day. Might we recommend some regular trips to Orlando’s great vegetarian and vegan spots? (Orlando Weekly)
Grocery war. If you are looking to add healthier eats to your pantry, Whole Foods just started offering an additional discount on sale items to Amazon Prime users in Florida, where Publix is the dominant supermarket. Prime members can save this week on organic strawberries, fish, cold brew and granola. (CNBC)
Bionic babes. Limbitless Solutions, a charity started at UCF will fit 20 children with custom-designed bionic arms as part of a clinical trial of its 3-D printed prosthetics. Members of the group hope the trial will help these generous techies reach their goal of creating 5,000 free bionic limbs by 2020, which could save families up to $100,000. Wanna help? You can donate here. (WFTV)
Shooting questioned. Orlando police officers shot and killed Juan Silva last week inside his vehicle, despite the department’s policy against shooting into cars. Silva was suspected as the getaway driver for two women who shoplifted baby clothes, and Orlando Police Chief John Mina says the officers feared for their lives. But, SIlva’s family wants answers about why the officers didn’t follow protocol. (Orlando Sentinel)
🍻Get your drink and think on at 3rd Thursdays Networking event at Burton’s. (Thornton Park)
📱Step up your ‘gram game with a smartphone photo workshop at ConnectOrlando (Mills 50)
🍔Celebrate Central Florida’s best bites at The Orlando Sentinel Foodie Awards. (Downtown)
🎨Enjoy Orlando Museum of Art for half price on Art Museum Day (Loch Haven)
🕺Bust a move with your boo at Bachata Downtown (Downtown)
🎯Cheer along at the Special Olympics Florida State Summer Games (Disney)
👻Get spooked at the Hauntingly Historic Ghost Tour (Saint Cloud)
💃Experience the future of dance at the Orlando Ballet’s Fast Forward (Downtown)
🎤Attend the 7th Annual Swamp Sista La La at the Orlando Fringe. (Loch Haven)
🌺Gardening for Beginners: 101 (Audubon Park)
🍩Doughnut and Ice Cream — two of our favorite things. (Mills 50)
🦁Unleash your inner party animal at Back to Nature Wildlife Refuge’s Animalversary (Lake Hart)
🇭🇹Celebrate culture at the Haitian Flag Day Parade (Southwest Orlando)
🎨Get crafty with the kiddos at Bluebonnet (Ivanhoe Village)
👗Scope out fashion fest at the Orlando Science Center. (Loch Haven)
📕Orlando Story Club meets Orlando Fringe! (Loch Haven)
Going to any of these events? If so, take us with you! Send us a pic to email@example.com or tag #pulptown or #livelikeyoulivehere on Insta. You might just see one of your photos appear in our newsletter.
So far 20 of you have told us you wanna ditch your car for a week and take Sunrail, all expenses paid. That’s right. We’re offering up our Sunrail Challenge so that we can better understand and explore the transit opportunities that surround us here in Central Florida.
There’s still time to apply – just answer a few of our questions here.
See you tomorrow. – Pulptown