From its construction onward, the Downtown Orlando Post Office has been a physical symbol of the growing and evolving city that surrounds it. Opened in 1941, the post office experienced many changes that reflected national and local social and economic transformations. Demographic shifts, wars, economic booms and downturns, and social conflicts were reflected in the history of the Orlando Post Office. This exhibit examines the impact of some of these changes on the building itself and the people who worked there or used the agency's services. Viewing the building over time allows us to see the impact it had on Orlando and to glimpse a reflection of the city itself. The post office building was more than just a government edifice; it became a symbol of the city that surrounds it.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Orlando was remarkably different from the city that is is today. The local economy, which relied on the citrus industry, had survived two devastating freezes in the winter of 1894-1895 to develop into a bustling town by 1900. As growth continued in the 1910s and 1920s, Orlando faced numerous infrastructural and logistical challenges. When the post office at Jefferson Street was conceived in the mid-1930s, it became a symbol of economic revitalization that the city sorely needed in the depths of the Great Depression.
Alayna Shumate, Stephen Gold, Mark Barnes, Dr. Rosalind Beiler