Of the 189 buildings in the Lake Cherokee Historic District, 160 are contributing structures. The Lake Cherokee neighborhood is bounded by: the East-West Expressway on the north; Summerlin Avenue on the east; Orange Avenue on the west; and Cherokee Drive, Euclid Avenue, Delaney Avenue and Gore Street on the south. In July 1981, the Lake Cherokee area became Orlando’s second locally designated historic district.
Designated a local historic district in 1981, the Lake Cherokee Historic District consists of 16 square blocks of residences and two schools. Building activity around the lake, formerly known as Lake Minnie, began in the late 1870s. Five 1880s homes along the west shoreline were built by newlyweds. The small enclave became known as “Honeymoon Row.”
A number of houses from the Victorian era remain in the district. Two homes from Honeymoon Row remain: the large Queen Anne style Poyntz-O’Neal House (1887) at 614 South Lake, and the Gunby House (1887) at 709 Euclid Avenue. Along with the eclectic Shingle/Neoclassical style Peleg Peckham-Dr. Phillips House (1893) at 135 North Lucerne Circle East, these homes offer an impressive representation of the early architecture of the City.
The first two decades of the 20th century are also well-represented by vernacular houses north of the lake. The house at 536 Lake Avenue is a traditional Southern form with a central hallway, a broad sweeping pyramidal roof and wraparound porch.
During the 1920s Florida land boom, a variety of architectural styles, including Craftsman style bungalows and Mediterranean, Tudor and Colonial Revivals, were constructed in the district. Some of the district’s distinctive homes were built in the bungalow style including those at Hovey’s Court (1913-19) at 545 Delaney Avenue. Its nine bungalows formerly served as guest cottages for visitors to the city. The bungalows have now been adaptively re-used as offices.
Cherokee School (1926) at 525 South Eola Avenue is the district’s most architecturally significant institution. The Mediterranean Revival School is highlighted by decorative and colorful terra cotta ornamentation. The building is still used as a public school.
From 1930 through the 1940s, Art Deco was popular. The streamlined Wellborn Apartments (1947) at 203 North Lucerne Circle East contrast with the traditional architecture of the district.
Before you make any exterior changes to your property, a Certificate of Appropriateness must first be issued by the Historic Preservation Board.
Exterior changes that will minimally impact the appearance of a structure, such as painting, re-roofing and repair with matching materials can be expedited by the Minor Review Committee of the Board in 2 to 10 days. Major modifications that significantly impact a property, such as alterations, additions, new construction, relocation, and demolition require a hearing of the Board for approval. Expect approximately seven weeks from the closing date until the Certificate of Appropriateness is issued. The City charges a $50 fee for a Certificate of Appropriateness.
The City has recognizes the importance of offering incentives to property owners choosing to rehabilitate buildings in the Lake Cherokee Historic District. Two preservation incentives are currently available for the contributing buildings in the district: a federal tax credit and a property tax exemption.
In 1982, the district was specially certified by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior for the purpose of allowing property owners to pursue the Federal Investment Tax Credit. This certification may allow you to qualify for the credit for the rehabilitation of historic income producing buildings. The credit is based on 20% of the qualified expenditures necessary for the substantial rehabilitation of a certified historic property. For more information on this program, contact the State Historic Preservation Office.
The City also offers a property tax exemption to property owners for the substantial rehabilitation of contributing structures in the district. This 10 year exemption applies to 100% of the City’s portion of the property taxes attributed to the increase in property value due to rehabilitation. The exemption period remains intact with the sale of the property.
For further information regarding the Lake Cherokee Historic District or questions regarding modifications to structures or property within the district, contact the Historic Preservation Officer at 407.246.3350, or the Historic Preservation Board recording secretary at 407.246.3416.
Permitting, located on the ground floor of City Hall, can assist you with questions regarding the necessary permit(s) for your project. Contact Permitting at 407.246.2271.