Things of the Past

Norma Lopez Molina

Anniversaries are a time of celebration. Most of all, though, they offer a golden opportunity to examine and embrace how far we’ve come.

While gathering information for this anniversary issue, I pored over a lot of old documents and photos. Of particular interest were the minutes of the Orlando Chamber of Commerce meetings from the 1920s—neatly typed, to-the-point accounts of weekly gatherings to talk about the business of The City Beautiful. Local leaders discussed everything from improving the Lorna Doone Auto Tourist Camp to hosting the Florida Grape Growers Convention at the San Juan Hotel.

They also offered an uncanny glimpse into the future.

From the Feb. 2, 1926, gathering came this summary:

“Edgar C. Nilson, a member of the special committee appointed to investigate the possibility of obtaining for Orlando an adequate permanent aircraft landing field, made a report urging action, and suggesting that the right kind of aircraft landing field in Orlando would eventually result in a great contribution to the growth of the city.”

Soon after, the city approved construction of an airfield next to Lake Underhill, and the Orlando Municipal Airport opened in 1928. Ed Nilson, a former World War I fighter pilot, would become its first manager. People started flying into Orlando. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Beginning on page 34, you’ll read stories about the chamber as it celebrates its centennial, along with entertaining accounts about Florida’s 500th anniversary and UCF’s 50th. There’s also plenty of here-and-now in this issue, from the fascinating Kickstarter crowdfunding concept to Orlando’s urban chicken program, which allows a select number of residents to keep fowl for eggs. And finally, we look at what a local support group called the Grown Ass Woman Brigade is up to.

Urban chickens and grown ass women? Hmm. What will historians think of us when they look at those stories a century from now?


A reminder: Artists still have a few days to submit entries for consideration in our 11th annual Paint the Town art show. We’re looking for works that reflect a vision of the Orlando area you have in your mind’s eye, whether it be through painting, sculpture, photography or another medium. It’s always a great show, especially the opening reception. You can enter online at But hurry—the deadline is January 6.

Also on our website is the ballot for the magazine’s annual Dining Awards. As usual, there are dozens of categories, from Best Burgers to Best Service. This year we have a new category: Best Place to Take the Kids. So support your local eateries and cast your ballots. Deadline is February 1, and you could win a dinner for two at a top restaurant just for voting.


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