Wells’ Built Museum of African American History & Culture

Art Deco Furniture

Wells’ Built Museum listed on the National Register of Historic Places located at 511 W. South Street in Parramore an African American Community in Orlando. Watch a film about the Wells’ Built Hotel, the South Street Casino and the Paramore neighborhood. The renovation of the hotel began in 1999 and opened as a museum in 2001.

The Wells’ Built Hotel built in the late 1920s by Dr. Wells a general practitioner who had a practice in Parramore. He also built the South Street Casino a nightclub that also served as a community center.

Photographs of early residents and famous people throughout the museum that show the rich history of African Americans. Famous Floridians include Jonathan Gibbs, Secretary of State during Reconstruction after the Civil War and Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune an educator who opened a college for black women in Daytona Beach.

People would relax in the sitting area at the Wells’ Built Hotel or listen to music at the South Street Casino. Some of the famous musicians that played at the casino included Ella Fitzgerald, Cab Calloway and David “Panama” Watts a drummer.

Visit the museum and learn about the history and culture of African Americans. Admission prices and hours of operation on the website.

High Springs Museum

The town of High Springs founded in the early 1890s surrounded by three springs that contain the clearest blue green water. High Springs Museum located at 23760 NW 187th Avenue in High Springs.

Our docent gave us a tour describing in detail the diorama created to depict life built around the railroad. From the late 1800s until the 1940s, Atlantic Coastline Railroad was a central part of life in High Springs. An ice plant and oil depot businesses built around the railroad no longer in operation. The peanut mill owned by Golden Peanut Company is still operating. The Alabama Hotel catered to travelers and people who worked on the railroad. The hotel burned down twice and the owners decided not to rebuild.

During Prohibition, Skeet Esterlin the first woman mayor of High Springs arrested for making Moonshine Whiskey. After serving a jail term, she went back to making Moonshine Whiskey.

Railroad history in High Springs shown in pictures. Boardinghouses built to house railroad workers. A photograph of Alfred Davis, Jr. first African American train conductor. All photographs donated by local residents.

A cave wall exhibit that shows what an underwater cave looks like. A cave map illustrates the three caves in detail.

Hang your raincoat on a replica of a spike built by the local blacksmith. Train whistles, a model train, books on local history and other souvenirs all found in the gift shop. A great museum to visit for railroad aficionados. Free entrance to the museum, donations accepted. Hours of operation on the website.