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Monday, November 9, 2015

THE RAILWAY STATION (1889) AT CHURCH STREET, ORLANDO -- 4 Depot Pl. and W. Church St. --


Church Street Station
SunRail commuter rail Station
SunRail Church Street.jpg
The Old Orlando Railroad Depot built in 1889 still stands alongside the modern SunRail station
Location4 Depot Place and West Church Street
Orlando, Florida
Owned byFlorida Department of Transportation
Platformsside platforms
ConnectionsLocal Transit LynxLymmo Orange & Grapefruit Lines[1]
Structure typeAt-Grade
ParkingNearby Street and Garage Parking
Bicycle facilitiesYes
Disabled accessYes
Other information
Fare zoneOrange
Passengers (2014)435 daily
Preceding stationSunRail logo.png SunRailFollowing station
toward DeBary
Future services
toward Poinciana
Phase 2 (2017)
toward DeLand
Old Orlando Railroad Depot
Church Street Station (Orlando) is located in Florida
Church Street Station (Orlando)
Coordinates28°32′24″N 81°22′50″W 
ArchitectT. B. Cotter[3]
Architectural styleEclectic Victorian,[2] Shingle Style[3]
Governing bodyPrivate
NRHP Reference #76000604[3]
Added to NRHPApril 22, 1976

Church Street Station, also called the Old Orlando Railroad Depot, is a historic train station and commercial development in Orlando, Florida

The historic depot and surrounding buildings house a retail and entertainment center. 

The complex also contains a stop for SunRail, the commuter railservice of the Greater Orlando area.

The station building was constructed in 1889 by South Florida Railroad.

It served several different railroads until 1926, when passenger services transferred to what is now the Orlando Health/Amtrak station.

In the 1970s, the station and nearby buildings were bought and developed into an entertainment center.

After its original owner sold the development in 1989, Church Street Station experienced a period of decline.

In 2013,St. Petersburg businessman Mark Ferguson signed a 20-year lease with an option to purchase in hopes of turning the property around.[4]

The Depot, as it appeared circa 1910.

The station was originally built by the South Florida Railroadin 1889 (although some sources say it was built in 1890) to serve Orlando.

The South Florida Railroad was bought out thePlant System in 1893, which in turn was taken over by the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad in 1902.

The station also served the Tavares, Orlando and Atlantic Railroadand the Orlando and Winter Park Railway. In 1926 passenger operations were transferred to Orlando Health/Amtrak station.

The Church Street depot still survives to this day on theNational Register of Historic Places.[3]

The SunRail commuter rail project uses the historic Church Street Rail Depot as one of three stops in downtown Orlando.[5]A new platform on the same side of the tracks was built down the block from the Church Street Station, within walking distance of Orlando City Hall. Church Street Station is typical of most SunRail stations featuring canopies consisting of white aluminum poles supporting sloped green roofs and includes ticket vending machines, ticket validators, emergency call boxes, drinking fountains, and separate platforms designed for passengers in wheelchairs. The station is located along the former CSX A-Line (originally constructed by the South Florida Railroad) and is one of two located in the central business district, providing easy access to the new Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts and hotel development within the same block; the Citrus Bowl, which recently underwent a complete renovation; the proposed Orlando City Stadium, future home of the Orlando City Lions MLS soccer club; and the new Amway Center and proposed entertainment complex, home of theOrlando Magic NBA team[6]

Based on the Rosie O'Grady's/Seville Quarter complex opened in Pensacola, Florida in the late 1960s by entrepreneur Bob Snow, Rosie O'Gradys/Church Street Station in Orlando saw great popular success in the 1970s and 1980s as it operated as an attraction offering admission to multiple nightclubs of various formats) facilitating "club hopping" for a single price in a monolithic location.

It spanned both sides of Church Street and both sides of the railroad tracks.

Walt Disney World emulated the successful formula, opening its own Pleasure Island club district amidst Church Street Station's peak years of success, as did Universal Studios Orlando with its "City Walk" complex. The attraction's developer proceeded to develop a similar venue in Las Vegas, "Main Street Station" that at inception shared many club concepts with the Orlando facility.

As an attraction, Church Street Station eventually experienced a steep decline in attendance and had largely closed as a club-hop by the end of the 1990s.

Several attempts have been made by multiple owners to re-create the success of the mid-1980s. Today there is a relatively new improv venue in what used to be a restaurant. The area immediately around the station is slated to become downtown apartments.

With foreclosures and serial disappointments duplicating the successes of the past, the future of the development remains questionable. A source of probable stimulus will likely occur with the new Amway Center. Across Interstate 4, Orlando's new entertainment arena has been constructed on Church Street, within close walking distance of Church Street Station. The arena, home to the Orlando Magic of the NBA, opened to the public on Oct. 1 2010.[8]Nearby businesses anticipate a boost in traffic as arena customers hit the streets before and after events.

SunRail revived the station in 2014 as a commuter rail stop.[6]
The former Rosie O’ Grady’s Good Time Emporium restaurant and entertainment venue — sold in June 2010 for $2.2 million to downtown commercial property owners Frank Hamby and Margaret Casscells. The new owners are transforming the 14,335-square-foot (1,331.8 m2) building into the New Orleans-style MoJo Bar & Grill.

Pre-SunRail view, with historic locomotive on display
  • 1972: Entrepreneur Bob Snow announces plan for a downtown Orlando entertainment complex.
  • 1974: Snow opens Rosie O'Grady's.[7]
  • 1976: The station is added to the National Register of Historic Places
  • 1982: Cheyenne Saloon & Opera House opens.
  • 1985: Church Street Station draws 1.7 million visitors, making it the fourth-largest tourist attraction in the state after Walt Disney World, Sea World and Busch Gardens.
  • 1988: Snow sells 50 percent interest in Church Street Station.
  • 1989: Snow sells remainder of his interest to a subsidiary of Baltimore Gas & Electric Co.; total cost of the two-step deal: $61 million to $82 million.
  • 1994: Church Street Station completes major expansion with a 24,000-square-foot (2,200 m2) Presidential Ballroom for $5.5 million.
  • 1998: Church Street Station loses $1 million on revenue of $20.85 million, attracts only 550,000 visitors.
  • 1999: Baltimore Gas & Electric sells Church Street Station to Enic PLC, a British firm, for $11.5 million.
  • 2001: Enic PLC sells Church Street Station to F.F. South & Co. for $15.9 million
  • 2002: Lou Pearlman buys into Church Street Station, later becomes majority owner.
  • 2007: Pearlman's financial troubles trigger foreclosure lawsuit against Church Street Station.[1][dead link]
  • 2007: Cameron Kuhn (Developer) purchased church street station at bankruptcy court auction due to financial issues of former owner Lou Pearlman Trans ContiTnental Empire. The property was purchased by Kuhn for $34.1 million.
  • 2008: Church Street Station retail opens including The Cheyenne Saloon by Bob Snow, Bliss Ultra Night Club, Brick and Fire Pizza and Wine Company, Ceviche Tapas Restaurant and Bar, The Dessert Lady and Hamburger Mary's.
  • 2008: Lender Tremont Net Funding LLC file to foreclose on the property while Mr. Kuhn tries to retain control & negotiate the re-sell of the complex.
  • 2010: Historic Church Street Station RR FRISCO 0-6-0 Switcher #3749 Locomotive which has been on display for many years at the station was put up for sale.[2]
  • 2010: The Amway Center arena opened on West Church Street and is already bringing an influx of business to Church Street vendors and establishments. In the long term the new arena is expected to at least stimulate partial revitalization to the complex.
  • 2014: SunRail commuter rail begins service with its platform beside the original station[9]


  1. Jump up^ http://www.golynx.com/plan-trip/riding-lynx/sunrail-connections.stml
  2. Jump up to:a b c "Old Orlando Railroad Depot"Florida Heritage Tourism Interactive Catalog. Florida's Office of Cultural and Historical Programs. 2007-02-23.
  3. Jump up to:a b c d "National Register of Historical Places - Florida (FL), Orange County"National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-02-23.
  4. Jump up^ Florida Trend magazine October 2013 page 94
  5. Jump up^ http://www.bizjournals.com/orlando/blog/2014/04/a-virtual-ride-to-3-downtown-sunrail-stops.html
  6. Jump up to:a b (SunRail)
  7. Jump up to:a b c Church Street Station (Orlando Memory)
  8. Jump up^ "MAGIC: Events Center". Orlando Magic. Retrieved 2009-07-06.
  9. Jump up^ Sunrail.com

External links[edit]

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