Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A Florida sinkhole swallows homes, cars, a pool: Remembering the Winter Park sinkhole.

Posted By on Tue, Aug 13, 2013 at 5:03 PM

click to enlarge Villa at Summer Bay Resort, via the guardian.com
  • Villa at Summer Bay Resort, via the guardian.com

Villa at Summer Bay Resort, via the guardian.com

By now, you've surely heard about the sinkhole in Clermont that swallowed up part of a resort in Clermont, not far from Disney. Despite many reports, the resort was not part of Disney – it was part of the Summer Bay Resorts, which looks like it was probably a pretty nice place to visit, except for the sinkhole.

click to enlarge Lake Rose via geocaching.com
  • Lake Rose via geocaching.com

People are freaking out about the sinkhole catastrophe, which is being reported internationally. And it made us a little nostalgic for one of our favorite local sinkholes – the Lake Rose Sink in Winter Park.

Today, Lake Rose, which is located behind Austin's Coffee along Fairbanks Avenue, looks like this:

click to enlarge Winter Park sinkhole via floridamemory.com
  • Winter Park sinkhole via floridamemory.com

Lake Rose via geocaching.com

But back in 1981, it looked like this:

click to enlarge via orlandosentinel.com
  • via orlandosentinel.com

Winter Park sinkhole via floridamemory.com

Rose Mae Williams (at the time, her name was Rose Mae Owens) lived in a house that was swallowed up by the sinkhole. She was with her dog, Muffin, when the sinkhole began to open. Reports say she saw an oak tree disappear into the ground, then another one, before she realized what was going on.

click to enlarge via floridausaimages.com
  • via floridausaimages.com

via orlandosentinel.com

Within just a couple of days, the massive sinkhole was 320 feet wide and 90 feet deep. It swallowed Owens' three-bedroom house, six Porsches from a nearby auto shop, the deep end of the city of Winter Park's swimming pool, a pickup truck and various other odds and ends.

click to enlarge via pelicanparts.com
  • via pelicanparts.com

via floridausaimages.com

click to enlarge via Florida Geologic Survey
  • via Florida Geologic Survey

via pelicanparts.com

click to enlarge via pelicanparts.com
  • via pelicanparts.com

via Florida Geologic Survey

 

That little blue Porsche was one of three to eventually be pulled out of the hole. The others are still in there somewhere.

click to enlarge via Florida Geologic Survey
  • via Florida Geologic Survey

via pelicanparts.com

click to enlarge via etsy.com
  • via etsy.com

via Florida Geologic Survey

Williams' house, which you an see on the left side of this photo, was not salvageable.

click to enlarge via thedailycity.com
  • via thedailycity.com

via etsy.com

The sinkhole became an oddball tourist attraction. Crowds gathered to gawk at it, and enterprising locals made T-shirts to commemorate it.

Eventually, the novelty wore off. The city of Winter Park stabilized the sinkhole by filling the bottom with dirt and concrete. It began to fill with water, and now it's home to fish and wildlife.

The city decided to name the sinkhole Lake Rose, after the woman whose home was swallowed up by it and is, we presume, still down there somewhere.

via geocaching.com

 

 

For old archival footage of the Winter Park sinkhole, check out this 2008 YouTube video, which contains Betamax footage of news reports from when it first turned up in 1981.


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