I’ve been scouring some aerial photography archives for interesting comparison subjects. I love ‘then and now’ comparisons. This set illustrates the changes to the area around Colonial Drive (State Road 50) and Bumby Avenue in Orlando since the 1950s. Click on the photos for larger versions.

Here’s the area in 1954. This was actually before the Colonial Plaza was built. Also note that what is currently the back side of Winn-Dixie along Rosedale St, there was a row of houses.

Here’s the area in 2005.

Looking South over Colonial Plaza Mall, sometime in the 1960s. If you look close, you can see the old style Publix where there is today a Barnes and Noble.
If you remember the area back in the 50s, 60s or 70s, I’d love to hear your remembrances. I live just blocks away and I’m interested in the history of the shops, restaurants, mall, etc. Post in comments and share!
Photo credits:
University of Florida Aerial Photography Database
Florida State Photo Archives
Google Maps

3 replies
  1. rick
    rick says:

    I believe the area where the Colonial Plaza was developed used to be pasture land for the cows of TG Lee dairy. Also I think the Publix was where Wine Warehouse is today and Colonial is in the foreground. Just to the SW of Publix was the amazing Ronnies Restaurant. You can alos see the curved facade of the Plaza Theater on Bumby- still there today!

  2. Jason
    Jason says:

    I’m pretty sure Publix was in the current Barnes and Noble location. If you take a look at this photo (http://www.easternct.edu/~pocock/wpc0575OrlandoColPlz.jpg) you can see the Walgreens is clearly the current Petco location, based on the second story windows. The Wine Store down at the East end was then a Belk. Compare it to this modern Google Streetview… (http://maps.google.com/?ll=28.552068,-81.351783&spn=0.000002,0.001635&t=h&z=20&vpsrc=6&layer=c&cbll=28.552167,-81.351784&panoid=HoPfwTuLsoF30Pfzfcskpw&cbp=12,118.38,,0,8.31)

  3. Terance Keenan
    Terance Keenan says:

    I grew up in Rockledge. In the late 60s Colonial Plaza had the closest big department stores. We’d trek to Orlando for Christmas shopping, crossing 520 and 50 when it was all still 2-lane. No Beeline Expressway (Beachline now?) Colonial Drive was always jammed even then. I remember Ronnies, very popular. Jordan Marsh had Santa Claus every year. WDBO was about the only pop music station, and we’d listen to it the whole trip. I haven’t been to this area of Orlando in 25 years, I’m not sure I would recognize any of it. Have you done any before and after research of the Naval Reserve Base? I think it’s the Baldwin Park area now.


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