The development of Spring Lake neighborhood began in the twenties with Spring Lake Terrace, one of Orlando’s finest residential neighborhoods.  Because of the preservation of most of the older homes and the addition of many homes built through the years in the original section and adjoining land parcels, this neighborhood has a variety of architectural styles of different time periods.  This rich architectural heritage gives the area individual charm and interest.

Period Houses

During the first forty years of the twentieth century, most of the residential homes constructed were Period houses, signifying that their design was based on the architecture of an earlier time.  These houses were not direct copies but were suggestive of earlier styles, such as Spanish haciendas, Colonial American houses, English cottages, Italian villas, and French chateaux.  Period styles found in Spring Lake are Mediterranean and Anglo-American. 

Mediterranean Period Houses

Many of the Period Houses built in Spring Lake are based on Mediterranean influences, containing architectural elements with Spanish or Mideastern motifs.  The designs of these homes, built in the twenties and thirties, were undoubtedly influenced by Addison Mizner who built some of the grandest Mediterranean homes in Florida during that time, most notably in Palm Beach and Boca Raton.  The types of Mediterranean Period houses found in Spring Lake neighborhood include Mission, Monterey, Spanish Colonial, and Italian Renaissance.

Building began in Spring Lake in 1925.  The first house to be built was 716 Ramona Lane.  This home is reminiscent of early Spanish missions of the Southwest, and neighborhood children affectionately called the home “the fort”.  It is an interesting example of Mission style, characterized by its red-tiled roof, balcony, and rough-cast stucco wall surfaces that continue upwards to form parapets as curvilinear gables.  The home at 722 Springdale Road is very similar in design, and 710 Springdale Road also shows Mission influences.

The Monterey style, built mostly between 1925 and 1955, is based on earlier Colonial houses built in northern California, a fusion of Spanish adobe construction with an English style pitched-roof and other architectural influences brought to the west coast by settlers from New England.  The homes at 1328 Spring Lake Drive and 1263 Spring Lake Drive are classic examples of the Monterey style.  The home at 1507 Spring Lake Drive is a variation of the Monterey style called Creole French.  Designed by Ray Stevens and built in 1940, its cantilevered balcony features New Orleans French-style wrought iron.

Mediterranean homes classified as Spanish Colonial borrow elements from Spain’s rich architectural history.  The home at 1271 Spring Lake Drive is a typical example, featuring a graceful arched opening over the balcony with twisted Moorish columns.  Other examples of Spanish Colonial are 1217 Golden Lane, 1244, 1258, 1271, 1304, 1307, 1355, and 1621 Spring Lake Drive.

Italian Renaissance homes have tiled, low-pitched hipped roofs, often with wooden brackets under the eaves, and arches above first story windows and doors.  An example is 1233 Spring Lake Drive.  Another example is 1245 Spring Lake Drive which has urns, twisted chimney pots, a broken pediment over the door, dentil molding, and segmented arch details.

Anglo-American Period Houses

The examples of Anglo-American and English Period houses found in Spring Lake are Colonial Revival, Tudor, and Neoclassical styles.

The Colonial Revival style reflects an interest in the early English and Dutch houses of Colonial America.  Early examples of this style are 714 Springdale Road, built in 1927 by C.W. Rex; 1405 Spring Lake Drive, designed and built in 1926 by C.W. Chewning; and 1345 Spring Lake Drive.  Identifying features of this style are an accentuated front door, often with fanlight or sidelights, a decorative pediment supported by columns, central placement of the door, symmetrically balanced windows, and windows with double hung sashes.  Designed by James Gamble Rogers and built in 1939 by W.A. McCree, 1611 Spring Lake Drive is an elegant example of the centered gable Colonial Revival in the Adam tradition.   Rogers also designed the fine brick home at 1701 Spring Lake Drive, which was built in 1940 by Ray Stevens and features a semi-circular fanlight over the front door.

An interesting Colonial Revival home with Spanish accents is 746 Clifford Drive, one of the earliest homes built in the neighborhood in 1926.  Its overall shape and pedimented porch signify Anglo-American construction while the stucco walls, tile roof, and arches show Spanish influences.

One of Orlando’s best examples of Tudor Revival is the home at 1230 Golden Lane.  The home was built in 1926 by the Hill, James and Voorhees Construction Company.  Typical features of the Tudor style are steeply pitched roofs, decorative half timbering, narrow casement windows, and massive chimneys often located on the front façade of the building.  Other examples of the style are 1216, 1226, 1227, and 1241 Golden Lane.

During the nineteenth century, the building of large public buildings started a revival of interest in the Classical architecture styles of the Greek and Roman states.  Some of the characteristics of the Neoclassical style are a full height portico (entry porch) with a roof supported by Classical columns, symmetrically balanced windows, and a center door.  Neighborhood examples are 1336 Spring Lake Drive, which features a full-façade porch with an unadorned roof line supported by slender square columns; and 934 Valencia Drive, which is a later single-storey example featuring a full-façade porch with a balustrade above and a broken pediment over the door.

Modern Houses

When construction resumed after World War II, most homes were built in various Modern styles that grew from the avant-garde designs of the pre-War years.  Modern style homes found in Spring Lake include Minimal Traditional, Ranch, Split Level and Contemporary.

The earliest trend, the Minimal Traditional style, combined traditional Tudor elements with a simplified building form.  Minimal Traditional houses generally have a dominant front gable and large chimney but lower roof pitches than the Tudor Revival houses.  These homes were often built with a mixture of materials: wood siding, brick and stone.  A neighborhood home with Minimal Traditional features is 1015 Valencia Avenue.

The Ranch style, which originated in the mid-thirties in California, became the most popular American building style during the 1950s and 1960s mainly because it incorporated into the plan an attached garage for the American sweetheart, the automobile.  Ranch homes typically have private outdoor living areas in the back yards, based on patios and courtyards of earlier Spanish homes of the Southwest.  The style is characterized by asymmetrical forms and low pitched roofs with moderate to wide eave overhangs.  The hipped roof is the most common Ranch style, as seen at 923 Valencia Avenue, which was built in 1962 by W.A. McCree; and 1314 Spring Lake Drive, which also features a center-knob front door and ribbon windows.  Another roof form is the cross-gabled, like 1728 Spring Lake Drive, designed by Earl Delue in 1950; and 1620 Spring Lake Drive, built in 1951 by Nixon Butt.  Still another roof form is the side-gabled, as seen at 910 Ventura Avenue, designed by George Sturgis, and built in 1958 by Bill Schwind, and 1317 Country Lane; or large picture windows, like 1121 Country Lane, built in 1962 by George Shilling.  Some traditional detailing is used, such as wrought iron or wooden porch supports, or decorative shutters.  Homes that have these details are 1721 Espanola Drive, designed by Ray Stevens, and built in 1953 by Stevens and Sipple; 2043 Siesta Lane, built in 1961 by Bud Davis; and 2124 West Alameda Avenue, built in 1966 by W.H. Jayne.

The Split Level style became popular during the 1950s, and the trend continued through the 1960s and 1970s.  It was a modification of the Ranch, especially adapted to unlevel lots and designed with the intent to separate living, sleeping, and garage/storage areas.  Two examples of this style are 1002 Valencia Avenue, built in 1951 by Chester Karst, and 2146 Companero Avenue.

The Contemporary style was the popular avant-garde architectural style during the 1950s and 1960s.  An example of the gabled Contemporary style is 1818 Espanola Drive, designed by Robert Murphy and built in 1956.  It shows influences of earlier Prairie and Craftsman styles and features overhanging eaves with exposed roof beams and front gables supported by piers.  Another Contemporary house is 1312 Country Lane.  An example of the flat-roof Contemporary style is 1212 Spring Lake Drive.  Two shed-roof Contemporaries which feature multi-directional roof lines are found at 1904 Espanola Drive and 2143 Forest Club Drive.

Neoeclectic Houses

By the mid-1960s the trend in home fashion turned again to more traditional designs; however, there was not the emphasis toward the historical accuracy of earlier periods.  Rather, designers of Neoeclectic houses used historic details with new building materials and contemporary forms.  Some examples of Neoeclectic houses in Spring Lake are Mansard, Neocolonial, Neo-French, Neo-Tudor, Neo-Mediterranean and Neoclassical Revival.

The Mansard name was given to houses because of their box-like shaped roof style.  Examples are 2040 West Alameda Avenue, built in 1967 by William H. Jayne; 2025 Siesta Lane, built in 1969 by Ken Garvin; 1317 Spring Lake Drive; 2047 Forest Club Drive; 1919 Espanola Drive; 1700 Spring Lake Drive; and 2145 Companero Avenue.

Variations on the Colonial theme have continued to be built up to the present time.  Two examples of Neocolonial style are homes built by Ralph Williams: 1129 Country Lane, built in 1961, and 1130 Country Lane, built in 1960.  Other Neocolonial examples are 1007 Valencia Avenue, built in 1953 by W.A. McCree; 2000 West Alameda Avenue; 2029 Companero Avenue; 719 Rio Grande Avenue; 2025 Siesta Lane; 1007 Valencia Avenue; and 1905 Biscayne Drive.

The most distinguishing characteristic of the Neo-French house is its steeply pitched roof reminiscent of rural Brittany farmhouses.  Windows and doors are frequently arched.  Examples may be one-story, like 2024 West Alameda Avenue, built in 1968 by W.H. Jayne; or two-story, like 1833 Espanola Drive, designed by George Sturgis and built by Fred Merriman in 1957.  The home at 1508 Spring Lake Drive has been remodeled in the Neo-French style featuring chimney pots, decorative urns, and applied “grotesques” (figural masks) above the windows.

Neo-Tudor houses have a dominant front-facing gable, steeply pitched roof and decorative half-timbering.  A neighborhood example is 2107 Forest Club Drive.

Neo-Mediterranean houses reflect Spanish or Italian influences, like tiled roofs, stucco walls and round-arched windows and doorways.  A good example is 1920 Espanola Drive which was designed by Robert McEwan and built by Charles Rex in 1969.  Other examples are 720 North Rio Grande Avenue and 1626 Spring Lake Drive.

Neoclassical Revival styles exhibit Classical elements as in the pedimented portico of 931 Ventura Avenue, built in 1961 by Ralph Williams.  W.H. Jayne built examples of this style at 2132 Alameda Street in 1963 and at 2100 West Alameda Street in 1969.

Post-Modern Houses

Post-modern architecture emerged in the 1970s.  In Post-modern residential architecture, historical and contemporary design motifs appear as simplified shapes, and nontraditional color schemes are often used.  A home in Spring Lake neighborhood which reflects this style is the remodeled residence at 919 Valencia Avenue.

Florida Cracker Houses

An architectural overview of the neighborhood would not be complete without mentioning a type of architecture particular to Florida known as the Cracker style.  This style was based on low country French architecture and was further adapted to suit the Florida climate.  It incorporated an above-ground foundation for humidity and insect control; a high pitched tin roof for solar reflection and heat ventilation; large windows to take advantage of tropical breezes; shutters for storm protection; and wide wraparound porches to provide shade for outdoor enjoyment.  Bud Davis designed and built his Cracker style home at 1233 Golden Lane in 1988.

The architectural history of Spring Lake neighborhood is still being written as new houses are constructed and existing homes are remodeled.

By April Lawson
Contributions by Nancy Greenlee
Architects, Builders and Dates Researched by Arabella Hart

Specific Homes

1720 Espanola Drive
Orlando, FL 32804

1720 Espanola Dr. History 1720 Espanola was built by the Whittle family in 1952. The home was one of the first to be built beyond the nucleolus neighborhood of Spring Lake Drive and the small side streets which were built in the early part of the 19th century. The home, located at the corner of Valencia and Espanola, is two stories and was built of block construction in the modern ranch style design. There is also a hint of the New Orleans architectural influence which is evidenced by the rot iron work that decorates the upper front heavy wood beamed balcony, as well as, the front and back entrance features. When the barbeque and pool were added in the back yard in the early 60’s, the enclosure around the barbeque completed that New Orleans theme with rot iron topping the brick knee walls. During the homes 55 year history, the home has been owned by the Barnett’s, the Smith’s, the Logan’s and now the Roberts. Verbal history from a member of the Whittle family tells of many grand parties that were held here. Their party’s guest lists have included several Governors, US Senators, and it is purported, LBJ was secreted here for a party while in Orlando on a visit in the early 60’s. 1720 Espanola has been in the movies too. During the Logan’s ownership, a horror movie was filmed here, however no ghosts remain! The Roberts have entertained recent luminaries such as Miss America and Miss America’s Outstanding Teen. With the home’s classical strong bones, 1720 Espanola is sure to continue to stand for future generations, giving great joy and pleasure to those families who live here.

The Nieto & Medina Home