The Casino

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Next door to the Wells’ Built was once the South Street Casino, a performance hall, which featured musicians that traveled the ‘Chitlin Circuit’ performing for audiences all over the country.  In 1924, Dr. William Monroe Wells received a building permit to build the South Street Casino. There was rarely organized recreation for young African Americans in Orlando, Florida during this time.

The Casino was a place for recreation for African Americans of all ages. Inside the Casino were a basketball court and a skating rink for young adults, but come 8:00pm they had to leave the Casino so the adults may come in for their night’s entertainment. African Americans came from Sanford, Eatonville and surrounding areas to Orlando to shop and take in performances of popular musicians at the South Street Casino. After the performances at the casino, the artists checked in at the historic Wells’ Built Hotel.   In its heyday, the Wells’ Built provided lodging for clientele such as Pegleg Bates, Ella Fitzgerald, Roy Campenella, Thurgood Marshall, and Jackie Robinson.  The entertainers and athletes who frequented this establishment made it one of the most popular venues for African Americans in the South.

In the 1980’s, a fire erupted through the South Street Casino. The damage was severe and could not be repaired. The fire led to the final demolition of the South Street Casino in 1987.

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