For a brief time, College Park was home to Jack Kerouac, an American journalist, author and poet best known for his classic novel titled On the Road. A back apartment in the home, a 1920s-era cottage located at 1418½ Clouser Avenue, was occupied by Kerouac and his mother between 1957 and 1958, the height of his novel’s acclaim. It was at this home, which is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, that Kerouac typed the original manuscript for the sequel to that novel, titled Dharma Bums. Each year, the Kerouac Project hosts four writers for residencies (one per season) at the home, and the only requirement is that they work on their writing and participate in two events during their stay.
The final resting place for Bob Ross, who is best known as the host of The Joy of Painting on PBS, is the Woodlawn Cemetery in Gotha. The “happy little trees” painter was born in Daytona Beach and raised in Orlando, so it’s no surprise that his gravesite can be found in a small Florida cemetery that is blanketed with trees. On any given day, the gravesite for Ross can be found memorialized with flowers, paintings and paint supplies from fans paying respects to a favored artist.
Fans of pop music know that one of Orlando’s claims to fame is being the stomping grounds for many pop stars of the late ‘90s and early ‘00s. Lou Pearlman helped form several famous boy bands, including NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys, right here in Central Florida. Shadow Bay Park and former XL 106.7 host Hill D were even featured in one of the Backstreet Boys’ very first music videos. Filming for the third edition of The Mickey Mouse Club, which featured Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake and JC Chasez, happened at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, so the young stars called The City Beautiful Home during their tenures.