LAKE EOLA HEIGHTS HISTORIC DISTRICT
The Lake Eola Heights Historic District was created in 1989. There are approximately 570 buildings in Eola Heights. This is one of Orlando’s oldest and most architecturally diverse neighborhoods. In the late 1800s, Mr. Summerlin purchased two hundred acres around Lake Eola. Much of the area had been planted for citrus groves in the late nineteenth century; however, following the big freeze in 1895, the area was subdivided for residential development. Vernacular clapboard farmhouses, built between 1890 and 1911, are scattered throughout the neighborhood. Other styles include Colonial Revival, Craftsman, Mediterranean Revival, Mission Revival, Art Deco, and Minimal Traditional.
In 1989, Lake Eola Heights was designated a local historic district. Three years later it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Spanning approximately 38 blocks, the area offers an eclectic mix of architectural styles among its tree-lined brick streets.
Citrus was grown in the area north of Lake Eola until the freezes of 1894-1895 devastated the groves. The district’s greatest period of growth, 1905-1925, saw the construction of homes, educational and religious institutions, as well as a smattering of commercial buildings to house and serve residents of the growing city.
Several architectural styles inspired the design of the residential structures in the district. Examples of the Craftsman style, frame vernacular, Mediterranean Revival, and Colonial Revival can all be found along the district’s grid streets. Two outstanding examples include the Craftsman style house at 421 East Amelia Street (1923) with its full width front porch and the Mediterranean Revival Atha Apartments (1920), located at 411-415 East Livingston Street.
Neighborhood religious buildings add their own distinctive style to the district. Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church (1926), at 123 East Livingston Street, exhibits Gothic Revival design and form. The Broadway United Methodist Church (1922), at 406 East Amelia Street, reflects the Neoclassical Revival style. The St. James Cathedral School (1928), at 505 Ridgewood Street, is one of several Mediterranean Revival schools built in Orlando in the 1920s and is one of the best examples with its bell tower, ornate entrance, and embellished friezes.
Before you make certain 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 re-roofing, fences and gates, awnings, signs, 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 in the district, 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.
There are exceptions to these requirements. Approval does not have to be obtained for landscaping, paint color, emergency repair that will not change the exterior design, and the alteration of patios and walkways not subject to public view. Chain-link fences are not permitted in the front yard nor within the side yard setback.
The City has recognized the importance of offering incentives to property owners choosing to rehabilitate buildings in the Lake Eola Heights Historic District. Two preservation incentives are currently offered for contributing structures in the district—a federal tax credit for commercial properties and a property tax exemption.
The Federal Investment Tax Credit is available as a result of the district’s inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places. This certification may allow you to qualify for the federal Investment Tax 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 certified historic property. For more information on this program, contact the State Historic Preservation Office.
The second is a property tax exemption adopted by the City in 1994 for the substantial rehabilitation of locally designated historic property. The 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 remains intact with the sale of the property.
For further information regarding the Lake Eola Heights Historic District or questions concerning modifications to structures or property within the area, contact the Historic Preservation Officer at 407.246.3350, or the Historic Preservation Board recording secretary at 407.246.3416. The Office of Permitting Services, 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.