Hannibal Square Heritage Center                          
  642 West New England Avenue, Winter Park, FL 32789 407-539-2680 Open Wed. - Thurs. noon - 4pm, Fri. noon - 5pm, Sat. 10am - 2pm
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The Hannibal Square Heritage Center

"Every community, every family has a history and a heritage, it simply does not matter if you are a fifth-generation Central Floridian or if your family moved here last year from Puerto Rico. The more diverse and multi-cultural our American society gets, the more important it is for us to appreciate and celebrate our own and others? culture and heritage."

 Peter Schreyer,
founder of the Heritage Center and Crealdé Executive Director,
during the dedication of the new facility on April 28, 2007

10 yr
Honoring the Hannibal Square Heroes
at the 10 year Anniversary Celebration
Hannibal Square Heritage Center

From left to right: Peter Schreyer, Joe Terranova, Taylor Robinson, Mayor David Strong, Evelyn Perkins and Fairolyn Livingston at the Heritage Center
Ribbon Cutting on April 28, 2007.

Fairolyn Livingston, Chief Historian of Hannibal Square Heritage Center


Peter Schreyer,
Crealdé School of Art Executive Director
and Heritage Center Founder

"The Hannibal Square Heritage Center is a great opportunity to bring the rich history of west Winter Park into the hearts and minds of people worldwide. Generations to come will see the actual makings of this proud community."

Carol Anderson, west Winter Park native


The Hannibal Square Heritage Center is a unique experience relating the history of a community as told by its members. The exhibitions and programs held at the center weave the stories of this proud neighborhood together with African-American history in general, as well as related topics in art, family and community experience.

Visitors to the Heritage Center are moved by the personal stories of the people of west Winter Park and the Hannibal Square community by the beautiful presentation of historical information and artworks.  All ages can experience the first-person accounts gathered from west Winter Park residents and their families. The Hannibal Square Heritage Center inspires all visitors to respect, explore, and participate in their own community's history.



The mission of The Hannibal Square Heritage Center is to pay tribute to the past, present and future contributions of Winter Park's African-American community. Through its innovative programming in the arts and humanities, the Heritage Center is a neighborhood focal point, archive, and home to the expanding exhibition, The Heritage Collection: Photographs and Oral Histories of West Winter Park. Through exhibitions and diverse educational programs it will inspire all Central Floridians and visitors to Winter Park to become more aware of, respect, explore and participate in their own community's history and heritage.


The History of Hannibal Square

Imagine a different time in the days so long ago . . . before air conditioning . . . before easy travel by air or even road . . . before "Juneteenth," and way before the civil rights movement.

Winter Park was the first planned community in Central Florida, strategically built around the railroad that served commerce and travel.

Hannibal Square (the "west side") was officially founded in 1881, only 40 years after Florida became the 27th state, and 14 years after the state reentered the Union after seceding and co-founding the Confederate States in 1861.

The free black families who lived here provided a ready source of labor for building a town to serve wealthy white winter residents and visitors. Although Florida and Winter Park were to stay deeply segregated into the 1960s, the non-agricultural railroad jobs and domestic service positions with Winter Park's wealthy white families resulted in educational opportunities and comparative prosperity and privilege for Winter Park's black residents.

On October 12, 1887, young Republican Gus Henderson lead a march of black registered voters across the railroad tracks to Ergood's Drugstore. The Oct 12, 1887 election was held during the day. This established the quorum, which then voted to incorporate the town of Winter Park, which included Hannibal Square, in its boundaries. In addition, two black men from Hannibal Square, Walter B. Simpson and Frank R. Israel, were elected Aldermen and served from 1887 to 1893.

From its beginnings, Hannibal Square was rooted in faith, family, and community. The west side was characterized by high levels of education, business and home ownership, and by professional standing among its black residents.

Today, the City of Winter Park, known worldwide for its wealth and quality of life, is one of the most desirable addresses in Florida. This prime location has fueled development and gentrification of Hannibal Square, with significant loss of cultural landmarks and native residents. Members of the community have rallied to preserve what is left of its heritage, and that is where the Hannibal Square Heritage Center story begins.

Establishment and Founding of the Hannibal Square Heritage Center

Since its inception in 1975, Crealdé School of Art, a community based, non-profit art school in Winter Park, has been led by a mission to ?provide extensive outreach and foster cultural diversity, understanding of pluralism, and preservation of our cultural heritage.?

At the time the center was born, the school had a decade-long presence at the Winter Park Community Center, serving the city's historic African-American community through free art classes for children and seniors.

In 2001, during an impromptu meeting in his Winter Park Community Center office, Community Center Director Ron Moore and Crealdé Executive Director and documentary photographer Peter Schreyer had the conversation that led to the establishment of The Heritage Collection. Peter shared an inspirational presentation that he had witnessed at a photographic conference. A representative from the Los Angeles County Library had shared their community research involving the collecting of family photographs and oral histories, to which Ron replied with the words that will go down in history, "Our community's history is stored in shoe boxes under our beds." This comment and the conversation inspired Crealdé staff to write a successful grant application to the Community Foundation of Central Florida.

In March of 2002, the first of many Heritage Days was held. Over two dozen residents showed up with their treasured family photographs and histories. The resulting exhibition, The Heritage Collection: Photographs and Oral Histories of West Winter Park, was displayed and temporarily housed at the Winter Park Community Center until it was expanded by additional Heritage Days and outgrew its space. Out of the popularity of the exhibition, a community movement was born by which local residents rallied to establish a permanent home to celebrate and honor historic Hannibal Square, also known as the west side of Winter Park.

After four years of persistence, research, dialogue and planning with community and civic leaders to find a suitable building for the collection in the historic Hannibal Square neighborhood, the City of Winter Park and Crealdé School of Art opened the new Hannibal Square Heritage Center on April 28, 2007. The center was built and is sustained, in part, through funding from the city's Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA). It is primarily operated and staffed by Crealdé  though a portion of the center is home to the Family History Research Library, a service of the Unity Heritage Festival Foundation and the City of Winter Park. The center has allowed Crealdé School of Art to expand its services to the west Winter Park community and to strengthen the organization's mission to use the arts as a vehicle to connect and celebrate individuals, neighborhoods, and cultural diversity. It is the organization's hope that the Hannibal Square Heritage Center will be a model for recording and celebrating the culture, history and heritage of threatened communities everywhere.

Community Offerings

  • Free admission and open to the public five days a week; staffed by docents from west Winter Park.

  • The Heritage Collection: Photographs and Oral Histories from West Winter Park is a unique permanent exhibition of history told by the residents who have lived it.

  • Regularly scheduled Heritage Collection Days provide an opportunity for residents and former residents to add to The Heritage Collection.

  • The Hannibal Square Timeline, a display detailing significant local and national events and how they relate to the African-American history since 1858.

  • Rotating Visiting Exhibitions by local, regional and nationally recognized artists, free cultural events and programs for all ages that explore the African-American experience.

  • Visual arts classes and workshops for adults and children, selected from Crealdé curriculum of over 90 courses in painting and drawing, ceramics, sculpture, and photography.

  • Free outreach programs that explore the value of culture and heritage, such as the - What Heritage Means to Me? Workshop and Field Trip Program for student groups from public and private schools.

  • Free visual art classes for youth and seniors from the west Winter Park community.

  • Educational programs for visiting groups during and outside of regular hours.


Funding and Partnerships

The general operating and programming costs for the Hannibal Square Heritage Center are funded by Crealdé School of Art, the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) of the City of Winter Park, United Arts of Central Florida and the Division of Cultural Affairs through the State of Florida.

Special programs and initiatives are made possible through grants from such contributors as the Orange County Department of Arts and Culture, the Walt Disney World Let Kids Shine Program, The Golden Rule Foundation, The Community Foundation of Central Florida, and other private contributors.

Funding is granted annually or for specific projects. Therefore, the Heritage Center relies on partnerships, memberships and designated gifts from individuals, corporations and private foundations. Special thanks to the businesses that have supported the Heritage Center, including Tolla's Restaurant and Dexter's Restaurant. Thanks also to our programming partners including the Bach Festival Society, the Orange County Regional History Center, the Zora Neale Hurston Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Florida History.

If you are interested in becoming a partner or in funding the Heritage Center, please see the Get Involved page of this site or call us today at 407-671-1886 (Peter Schreyer).


Winter Park Magazine, 2009

Winter Park Magazine, 2009

Park Press, 2008

Orlando Sentinel, Sunday, May 6, 2007

Orlando Sentinel, April 27, 2008


Florida History and the Arts, Summer 2007

Orlando Arts Magazine, July/August, 2008

Winter Park Observer, January 3, 2008

Orlando Sentinel, January 19, 2003

October 19, 2001

Crealde School of Art City of Winter Park Orange County, Florida United Arts of Central Florida logo Culture Builds Florida
The Hannibal Square Heritage Center is a project of the City of Winter Park and the Community Redevelopment Agency, operated by Crealdé School of Art, a non-profit organization, and the Parks and Recreation Department of the City of Winter Park. Crealdé School of Art is a non-profit art organization supported in part by memberships, the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs; the Florida Arts Council; United Arts of Central Florida; and various private foundations.