Thornton Park, Orlando, FL
Thornton Park is a historic neighborhood less than 1 miles from the central business district of Orlando, FL and adjacent to Lake Eola. It is generally known as both the premiere historic residential neighborhood near downtown and a trendy urban enclave consisting primarily of residential neighborhood fabric with a commercial cluster on the downtown end of the neighborhood. The neighborhood has a pervasive grid except where interupted by lakes.
Thornton Park is a renaissance story. The neighborhood fell into disrepair but was restored in the 1990s through the implementation of a historic district and the loosening of regulations which allowed businesses to reopen in existing buildings on Washington Street.
The residential area east of Summerlin is dominated by historic single family homes with a few apartments, duplexes and houses converted to apartments.
The neighborhood has one bifurcated commercial area located on East Washington Street between Hyer and and Summerlin and on Central Ave from Summerlin towards downtown. The East Washington Street commercial area consists primarily of historic residential and commercial buildings that are in commercial use (primarily local operators), as well as some infill residential. The Central Boulevard commercial area is primarily new construction and is also part of an emerging "South Eola" neighborhood dominated by new condo residential buildings. One seminal mixed-use project, Thornton Park Center, consisting of residential, office and ground floor retail with a structured parking, defines the corner of Summerlin and Central making the connection between the two commercial areas. Both commercials areas have a focus on restaurants.
Most of the streets are paved with brick which is a Central Florida tradition. The same is true in the nearby city of Winter Park and in the TND Baldwin Park.
What most city residents identify as Thornton Park is really 3 neighborhoods according to the city's designation consisting of Thornton Park, South Eola and Lawsona/Ferncreek. Lawsona Ferncreek has not commercial center of it's own and thus identifies with Thornton Park's neighborhood center. South Eola's neighborhood center is continous with Thornton Park's and includes the "Thornton Park Central" building. Thornton Park is part of the Lake Lawsona Historic District.
Thornton Park was listed as one of the "Best Old House Neighborhoods" by This Old House in 2010.