Well's Built Hotel - Orlando, FL
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Outspoken1
N 28° 32.304 W 081° 23.123
17R E 462298 N 3156906
Quick Description: This landmark is transitioning to an African-American history Museum.
Location: Florida, United States
Date Posted: 5/13/2012 12:00:28 PM
Waymark Code: WMEDVV
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Lat34North
Views: 6

Long Description:
"Dr. William Monroe Wells, one of Orlando's first black physicians, came to the area in 1917 . He built his home on South Street in 1921. Issued a building permit, he began construction of the Wells' Built Hotel in 1926. The hotel opened with three storefronts on the first floor and hotel rooms on the second floor.

Dr. Wells erected the Wells' Built Hotel to provide lodging to African Americans during an era of segregation when accommodations were not available to them in other areas of Central Florida. Next door to the Wells' Built was once the South Street Casino, a performance hall, which featured musicians that traveled the 'Chitlin Circuit' performing for audiences all over the country. African Americans came from Sanford, Eatonville and surrounding areas to Orlando to shop and take in performances of popular musicians at the South Street Casino. After the performances at the casino, the artists checked in at the historic Wells' Built Hotel. In its heyday, the Wells' Built provided lodging for clientele such as Pegleg Bates, Ella Fitzgerald, Roy Campenella, Thurgood Marshall, and Jackie Robinson. The entertainers and athletes who frequented this establishment made it one of the most popular venues for African Americans in the South.

William Monroe Wells, who was born in Ft. Gaines, Georgia in 1889, arrived in Orlando in 1917 after completing his medical training at Meharry Medical College. During part of WWII, Dr. William Monroe Wells was the only African American physician in Orlando. During segregation, white physicians did not treat African American patients. African American doctors, therefore, earned their money from people of their own race. He worked very hard to serve the growing African American population in the City Beautiful. With the help of his assistant, Mrs. Josie Belle Jackson, Dr. Wells is known to have delivered over 5.000 babies in Orlando. He treated patients who suffered from pneumonia, influenza, scarlet fever and other serious illnesses before drugs like penicillin were introduced. Many of Dr. Wells' patients were extremely poor. He treated their illnesses though they many times could not afford to pay his fee. This allowed them to speak forcefully against poor conditions that existed in the African American community without fear of losing their livelihood. Although African Americans were taxpayers like other residents of Orlando, they did not have access to recreational facilities, good schools, police protection, health care and other services that were provided to white citizens. This led him to build the South Street Casino and the hotel next door.

Currently, the museum features over 6,000 square feet of display space. It retains the original hotel facade, a guestroom featuring authentic furniture, beading and decorations of the 1930's, and also bears an original interior wall reflecting important architectural elements and designs unique to the period. Exhibition material collected for display include: official hotel documents, an original Negro League baseball jersey, photographs, artifacts, books, multi-media exhibits, slave records and other items of historic significance." (from (visit link) )
Street address:
511 West South Street
Orlando, Florida USA

County / Borough / Parish: Orange

Year listed: 2000

Historic (Areas of) Significance: Event

Periods of significance: 1925-1949

Historic function: Commerce/Trade, Domestic

Current function: Work In Progress (Education as a history museum)

Privately owned?: yes

Primary Web Site: [Web Link]

Secondary Website 1: [Web Link]

Season start / Season finish: Not listed

Hours of operation: Not listed

Secondary Website 2: Not listed

National Historic Landmark Link: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
Please give the date and brief account of your visit. Include any additional observations or information that you may have, particularly about the current condition of the site. Additional photos are highly encouraged, but not mandatory.
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