INFORMATION FOR THIS ARTICLE WAS PROVIDED BY THE ORANGE COUNTY REGIONAL HISTORY CENTER ARCHIVES
The City of Orlando, at one time, had a city dump located on the present site of World War II-era public housing complex, Carver Court, near the intersection of Gore Street and Interstate 4. Prior to Carver Court’s construction in 1945, the property was used for local trash collection and was simply referred to as “the old city dump,” prior to being shut down in 1941.
In 1927, an athletic field was opened nearby and in 1937, the city designated the Carter Street dump as part of the city park system but by 1939, enough petitions and complaints had been filed with the Orlando City Council about the smoke and odor emanating from the property that they were forced to take action and relocate it further out of town.
The dump was, allegedly, always aflame, and as we referenced in a previous story about Orlando’s first Black settlement, Jonestown, people used to have to wear masks and turn on their headlights when driving by, due to the dense smoke perpetually billowing out from the burning trash.
A suit was filed against the city in November of 1939 by H.L. Beeman, O.L. Beeman (who we hope were descendants of Edwin Beeman the “Chewing Gum King“), and Carl Englehart to cease operation of the city dump at Carter Street. When Campbell Thornall, then the city attorney, reported the outcome of the injunction to the Council on December 6, 1939, he asked that the council, “…give serious consideration to the removal of this dump to another location.” Which, was apparently not a hard thing to convince anyone of, as it became apparent in 1940 that the City only had two years until the dump would reach capacity.
Orlando City Council closed the city dump in January of 1941 and began to clear the land the following year.
Carver Court was torn down in 2002 due to poor living standards and cracked foundations – because, again, it was built on a dump, and was shut down by federal officials. In 2006, as reported by Orlando Sentinel, the Orlando Housing Authority chose to remove the top layer of soil (two feet) from the property as tests revealed that it was contaminated with benzo(a)pyrene and related chemicals known to cause cancer.
The Villas at Carver Park opened in September 2009 with units for the elderly and families.