Sunday, February 10, 2019

Wild Hogs Roam the Streets of Winter Park

Pam Schwartz, the head curator at the Orange County Regional History Center needed to do some research for History in a Glass which is a fun event where local craft bartenders compete for bragging rights by creating libations inspired by historical themes and artifacts.

The theme for History in a Glass was going to be about Winter Parks history of having to deal with wild hogs wandering the streets of downtown at the turn of the century. The city had to pass an ordinance banning these wild hogs from the streets.

In 1903, animals were doing a lot of damage, so five-day permits were issued to kill squirrels and destructive birds. Permission was also granted to kill alligators in the town’s lakes. Another ordinance levied a $25 fine and or 25 days at hard labor for persons found guilty of playing games on Sunday. At the same time, the sale of intoxicating liquors was prohibited, except by a physician’s prescription.

In 1905, the Travelers Insurance Company asked town officials to protect their property from damage by hogs running wild inside the town. A committee was appointed to look into the matter. The committee learned that state law authorized towns with more than 500 residents to pass an ordinance that prohibits hogs running wild. As Winter Park had only 461 residents, it was powerless to stop the problem. (Such and ordinance successfully passed two years later after a petition drive.)

A recent ordinance prohibits the creation of art on the streets of Winter Park. Sec 70-10 Regulation of Street Performers. "The City Commission finds that street performers in certain  areas of the City defined herein and designated as prohibited public area have interfered with and have a substantial likelihood of interfering with pedestrian and vehicular traffic of the City, including residents, business owners and occupants, and visitors and tourists by, among other things, attracting audiences which congest the prohibited public area, increase the likelihood for conflict and disorderliness, and may impede the ability of emergency personnel to reach various locations. Moreover, such street performers may cause or contribute to pedestrian and vehicular safety risks through increased congestion, sight obstruction, and obfuscation, and obstruction to pedestrian right of ways and crosswalks. The city finds the existence of street performers in the prohibited public area adversely affects the City's interests in maintaining the aesthetics of the prohibited public area and character of the same in the city with a unique historic downtown district."

(1) "Perform and performance means to engage in any of the following activities: Acting; singing; playing musical instruments; puppetry; pantomiming; miming; performing or demonstrating magic or acts of illusion; dancing; juggling; or the public display of and composition or creation of crafts, sculpture, artistry,writings, or compositions, including the application of brush, pastel, crayon, pencil, or other similar objects applied to paper, cardboard, canvas, cloth or to other similar medium."

To celebrate these historic ordinances the History Center shared this strange history while tasting some amazing craft cocktails. Patrons got to laugh at Winter Park's long history of absurd ordinances which continues today. Winter Park is working hard to keep the streets clear of wild pigs and artists. Bottoms up.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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