Oliver Everett Chapman was born December 29, 1851 in Canton, Massachusetts. Early in his career, Chapman was engaged in the wholesale import business. In 1881, Chapman and his friend Loring A. Chase purchased three homesteads comprising 600 acres bordering along Lakes Maitland and Osceola. Their goal was to develop a beautiful residential community of winter homes for wealthy Northerners. From 1881 to 1885, Chapman and Chase developed and advertised the new town of Winter Park. The Chapman-Chase partnership came to an end in 1885 when Chapman sold his interest to Chase for $40,000. Chapman built one of the first homes in Winter Park in 1882 on Lake Osceola at what is now 420 Interlachen Avenue. He passed away September 4, 1936 in Sharon, Massachusetts.
Loring Augusta Chase was born July 1, 1839 in Nashua, New Hampshire. An orphan at age two, Chase was reared by an aunt and uncle in Canton, Massachusetts. Following the outbreak of the War Between the States, Loring Chase enlisted in a Massachusetts regiment and served in North Carolina for nine months. Honorably discharged, he went to Chicago in December of 1864. During the years he spent in Chicago, Chase held various occupations, including real estate broker and employment with the Pantagraph Stationery Company. These years of strenuous work undermined Chase's health to the extent that in 1880 his doctor advised that he go south to recuperate. In 1881, Chase united with his friend Oliver E. Chapman and together they formed a partnership that lasted several years and culminated in the founding of the town of Winter Park. Chase died August 21, 1906.
William Charles Comstock was born October 20, 1847 in Oswego, New York. He attended Northwestern University earning a BA degree in 1867 and a Masters degree in 1870. From 1868 to 1893, Comstock was engaged in the grain business in Chicago. From 1875 to 1924, he was president of the Chicago Board of Trade. He also served as president of the Traders Assurance Company of Chicago. Comstock first came to Osceola (the fore-runner of Winter Park) as early as 1876. In 1882, he purchased property along Lake Osceola and built his winter home, Eastbank, which was completed in 1883. Comstock was an active contributor to the economic and social life of Winter Park. His involvement included the directorship of the Winter Park Company, serving as a charter trustee of Rollins College, and acting as an early supporter of the Winter Park Public Library. Comstock died in Chicago on September 24, 1924.
Colonel Franklin Fairbanks was born on June 18, 1828 in St. Johnsbury, Vermont. At age 18, he entered the family scales manufacturing business and eventually became president of the company in 1888. Fairbanks was also an officer and director in a number of mining, manufacturing, banking, and telegraph businesses in addition to being a member of the Vermont legislature. Fairbanks came to Winter Park in 1881-82 with his friend and business associate, Charles H. Morse, who was also from St. Johnsbury. He was one of the first investors to purchase lakefront property from Chapman and Chase. His property was located on Interlachen Avenue facing Lake Osceola. Fairbanks was one of the first trustees of Rollins College and contributed towards its founding. He was deeply interested in church work. He served as a member of the International Sunday School Lesson Committee and was superintendent of the St. Johnsbury Sunday School for thirty years. Colonel Fairbanks died April 24, 1895.
Francis Bangs Knowles was born in Hardwick, Massachusetts on November 29, 1823. In 1845, he began manufacturing gloves in New York and sold them to the Union Army during the years 1861-62. After the Civil War, he joined his brother who was engaged in manufacturing looms and steam pumps in Warren, Massachusetts. They later relocated to Worcester. In 1884, the Knowles Loom Works was incorporated with Francis B. Knowles as president. The company prospered greatly. Knowles first visited Florida in 1883 and met his friend Colonel Franklin Fairbanks, who may have informed him of the developing community of Winter Park. By 1885, Knowles returned to central Florida where he became one of the directors of the Winter Park Company. During the last years of his life, Knowles made great contributions to both Winter Park and Rollins College, which proved to be crucial for their continued existence. Knowles passed away in Washington DC on May 15, 1890 at the age of 67.
Charles Hosmer Morse was born in St. Johnsbury, Vermont on September 23, 1833, where he attended public school and then the St. Johnsbury Academy. At the age of 17, he apprenticed with E. & T. Fairbanks and Company and within a few years was sent to the New York office to establish an affiliate, Fairbanks and Greenleaf, becoming a partner in 1862. Two years later, he founded Fairbanks, Morse, and Company in Cincinnati.
Morse first came to Winter Park in 1881 at age 48 with his friend and associate, Franklin Fairbanks. Each bought lots facing Lake Osceola. Morse's greatest involvement in Winter Park began in 1904 when he purchased the Francis Knowles Estate and took over the operation of the Winter Park Company. The transfer of the Knowles property made Morse the largest landholder in Winter Park. In 1905, Morse made Winter Park his permanent home. The deep commitment and generous contributions made by Morse to the city during his lifetime are still being enjoyed each and every day. Morse passed away at his home in Winter Park on May 5, 1921.
Alonzo W. Rollins was born in 1832 on a farm in southern Maine near Lebanon Center. At age 32, he and his brother built a paper mill which produced print paper. Around 1865, Rollins formed the A. W. Rollins Company based in Chicago to sell dyes to woolen mills. Ten years later the company had a capital of $100,000. For health reasons, Rollins began spending his winters in Florida. He was one of the earliest winter visitors to purchase a home site on Lake Osceola in Winter Park. It was Rollins' donation of $50,000 in cash and real estate in 1885 that made possible the establishment of Rollins College in Winter Park. Tragically, Alonzo Rollins passed away at his home in Chicago on September 2, 1887, little more than two years after the founding of the College.
William C. Temple was born in Starke, Florida on December 28, 1862. After moving to Delaware, he attended public school in Wilmington and graduated from Delaware State Normal School in 1879. Temple had a wide range of interests and this translated into having numerous occupations. These positions included serving as the director of a number of banks, trust companies, lumber, coal and mining companies. Temple came to Winter Park in 1898 and soon purchased an estate and orange grove along Lake Maitland which he named "Alabama." As a result of his great concern and interest in the welfare and progress of Winter Park, Temple served the town as mayor. He was active in forming the Board of Trade, and served as its first president. He was also a trustee of Rollins College for many years and was a generous donor to its funds. William C. Temple died on January 9, 1917. The Temple orange is named in honor of him.