April is a month for recognizing the life-long achievements of some local legends while also celebrating the opening anniversaries for a couple of significant additions to the community. Here, we take a look at these springtime moments in Orlando’s history. The Dr. P. Phillips Legacy On April 18, 1959, a man with one of the […]
April is a month for recognizing the life-long achievements of some local legends while also celebrating the opening anniversaries for a couple of significant additions to the community. Here, we take a look at these springtime moments in Orlando’s history.
The Dr. P. Phillips Legacy
On April 18, 1959, a man with one of the most recognizable names in all of Orlando passed away. However, his contributions to the citrus industry and passion for philanthropy built a legacy that lives on to this day.
The first orange grove that Dr. Philip Phillips purchased near Ocala in 1894 was destroyed by freezing temperatures the following year, sending him back to his home state of Tennessee. In 1902, he bought land in Osceola County – the beginning of his citrus empire. Phillips sold more than 100 million oranges a year, beating out any other citrus business in the world. He also developed a new way to pasteurize, which took the metallic taste out of the canning process.
Phillips clearly left his mark on Orange County. These days, his name is everywhere, including Dr. P. Phillips YMCA, Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts and Dr. P. Phillips Hospital.
Astronaut John Young Honored at Home
John Watts Young, who grew up in College Park, was an astronaut who had many firsts during his career with NASA. He was the first astronaut to soar into space in six missions, the first man to fly solo around the moon and the commander of the first space shuttle. He was one of three astronauts to fly to the moon twice and logged 835 hours in space.
Nearly a month after he participated in Gemini III, the first manned space mission in which he snuck a corned beef sandwich aboard the spacecraft, Orlando celebrated this hometown hero with a lively parade on April 24, 1965. Earlier this year, he passed away at age 87, but his legend lives on with every drive down the highway named his honor.
Celebrating the SunRail
After getting the green light in 2007, the SunRail finally celebrated its grand opening on April 30, 2014. It opened with a 12-stop, three-county stretch from DeBary to Sand Lake Road and will expand in the coming years to include additional stops in Orange County as well as a downtown Kissimmee station and a Poinciana station in Osceola County. The biggest benefit of the SunRail has been the ability for travelers to avoid I-4 traffic while enjoying the Wi-Fi enabled, air-conditioned railcar.
New Attraction Welcomes First Passenger
On April 29, 2015, the very first passenger took a spin on The Orlando Eye to get a view of The City Beautiful from 400 feet above. Since then, tourists and locals alike have flocked to the International Drive attraction to take a 20-minute spin on the slow-moving observation wheel. It has even been the site of both engagements and weddings. In the summer of 2016, it was renamed to the Coca-Cola Orlando Eye.