Orange County Communities: Eatonville

The Community of Eatonville

If you have never visited Orange County, you should consider visiting the community of Eatonville, FL. It has a rich history but still maintains the small town feel that is popular amongst growing families. Eatonville is also only about 5 miles north of the City of Orlando. Residents shouldn’t have any problems commuting there if necessary.

(Quick Fact: there are currently only 2,400 people who call Eatonville, FL home.)

Brief History of Eatonville

During the 1800’s, Joseph C. Clarke acquired much of the land in this area from the Mayor of Maitland, Josiah C. Eaton. He then started selling portions of the land following the Civil War to black families coming from nearby Winter Park and Windermere. The community of Eatonville (then only a meager 112 acres) was officially established in 1887 when 27 of these new residents (all registered voters) voted to incorporate.

This very action marked a very important moment in the history of the entire country– not just Orange County. The town of Eatonville was the first officially incorporated African-American community in the United States.

(Quick Fact: There were just about 100 similar communities formed during this time period. Eatonville is one of only about 12 communities that still remain intact to this day.)

Famous Residents in Eatonville

There have been several noteworthy residents who have called this Orange County neighborhood home over the years.

Zora Neale Hurston

Hurston grew up in Eatonville, Florida and was an accomplished writer and anthropologist. Her best works became closely linked with the Harlem Renaissance of the Roaring Twenties. Today, she is considered to be one of the most influential authors in 20th century African-American literature. She published four critically acclaimed novels during her extensive career, but her most famous book is Their Eyes Were Watching God.

Hurston was certainly a multi-talented individual. Her body of work includes:

  • Four published novels
  • Numerous short stories
  • Several plays and essays
  • Two published books on folklore

David “Deacon” Jones

Long-time football fans will probably recognize the name of this Hall of Famer. “Deacon” Jones was born in the Eatonville and was a dominant defensive end during the 60’s and 70’s. Over the course of his career, he played for the Los Angeles Rams, San Diego Chargers and Washington Redskins.

(Quick Fact: Jones was often referred to as the “Secretary of Defense” and is widely considered to be one of the best defensive players in the league’s history.)

Notable Events in Eatonville

Fans of Hurston should consider going to the the annual Zora Neale Hurston Festival of the Arts and Humanities in Eatonville. This event has garnered international acclaim for its celebration of the cultural contributions made by people of African descent. The festival takes place in late January and is held at some popular venues around Central Florida. Attendees can expect a week full of interesting activities, including:

  • Workshops
  • Lectures
  • Concerts
  • Fine arts displays

Communities like Apopka and Eatonville are great locations for families looking to purchase a home in Orange County. They offer plenty of gorgeous listings and landscaping while also being relatively close to the city of Orlando. If you’re a current resident looking to sell your home for cash, then we can help you get started now.