South Trail: Through The Years
The South Trail branch’s history spans almost six decades. First opening in April 1965, the South Trail branch has undergone many changes since then.
Fort Gatlin Branch
The South Trail branch’s original name was Fort Gatlin, sharing its name with the historical fort. It was located at 105 Gatlin Avenue in the Fort Gatlin Shopping Center and served the South Orlando area with a collection of five thousand books.
In 1967, according to the library’s 1966-1967 Annual Report, the Fort Gatlin Branch was awarded $1000 from the Bessie Ziegler Foundation for the purchase of books. This was welcomed since the previous year’s funding was cut due to budget constraints.
Fort Gatlin Branch, photo dated November 30, 1972
Staff member Susan Broomall working at desk, Fort Gatlin Branch, 1970
The South Orlando area was developing faster than the library system could keep up. By the 1980s, the Fort Gatlin branch was reportedly “bulging at its seams”. The Fort Gatlin branch was moved to the South Trail Shopping Center, located 4702 South Orange Blossom Trail in 1981, and became known as the South Trail branch of the Orange County Library System.
South Trail Branch
The South Trail branch first opened to the public on September 17, 1982. Photos from the Extension Department Scrapbook of 1966 – 1983, not only shows photos from the Fort Gatlin Branch, but also shows photos from when the South Trail Branch first opened.
Outside of the South Trail Branch Library, 1982
Inside the South Trail Branch Library, 1982
Along with retaining all of the services that were formerly offered at the Fort Gatlin branch, the new location allowed the branch to expand to 10,000 feet, which was three times the size of the Fort Gatlin branch. The new location also gained a book drop, wheelchair access ramps, a larger children’s area and increased the amount of study tables.
Undated photo of South Trail Branch
Move to New Building
The branch again moved in 1996 to its current location at 4600 South Orange Blossom Trail. Flyers were created that advertised the move to the new location.
Flyer from May – December 1996 Scrapbook in the Archives.
The branch’s ribbon cutting ceremony took place at 10 a.m. on September 8, 1996. Speakers at the ribbon cutting ceremony were State Representative Alzo Reddick and County Commissioner Mable Butler.
State Representative Alzo Reddick and library director Dorothy Field at the grand opening
Library Director Dorothy Fields cutting the ribbon.
The branch was renovated in the early 2000s.
Feature of the Month: April 2001
In April 2001, the South Trail Branch was highlighted in a staff Feature of the Month. The feature highlights not only staff, but also offers a glimpse at the community they served and services that were offered at the branch.
L-R: Jessica Sugiuchi, Alice Grace, Azoria Williams, Usha Marajh,
Pamela Graham, Raquel Quinones, Sharon Payton, Maria Perez
Staff Day November 11, 2006
The OCLS annual Staff Day took place November 11, 2006. These pages were created as part of a system wide scrapbook and were on display during the event.
Names, counterclockwise: Lisa, Sharon, Riurka, Tishna, Maria
Names, counterclockwise: Johnson, Nicole, Latonya, Alice, Glen, Azoria, Michael
The South Trail Branch was again renovated in 2019. The 2019 renovation gave the branch a sleeker, modern look and features a mural created by library’s graphic designer, Ben Garcia.
For more information on the history of the branches of the Orange County Library System, see OCLS Branches – Then and Now.
The South Trail Branch Library was highlighted in this April 2001 Feature of the Month.
These pictures, taken in roughly April 2006, show the renovation to the South Trail Branch Library that was undertaken in 2006.