Windermere, Florida

Windermere is a town in Orange County, Florida, in the United States. As of the 2000 census, the town population was 1,897. According to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2006 estimates, the town had a population of 2,019.

Windermere was established in 1889 and works hard to retain a small town feel. For instance, many local streets are dirt roads and street name signs are white concrete posts (see photos). Windermere has been the residence of professional golfer Tiger Woods since 1997 as well as other professional sports figures. However, many celebrities such as Woods actually live in the Isleworth gated community/subdivision which is outside the town limits of Windermere but utilize the Windermere mailing address. During late 2007 the Town of Windermere filed a proposal to annex Isleworth and Butler Bay, another wealthy subdivision. This was met with extensive debate from town residents and an objection from Orange County, Florida which stood to lose millions of dollars of property tax revenue. After lengthy discussions, and battles with the county, Isleworth remained in the county, but Butler Bay was annexed into Windermere with over 90% of its residents approving annexation via a mail in ballot. Windermere is also home to famous cyclists, the Windermere Roadies, led by Sir Kevin Grogan of Minneola, FL


Windermere is located on an isthmus between several lakes in the Lake Butler chain. As such, it is on the shortest road route between the east and west sides of the chain. In fact, the next crossing to the south is 7.5 miles (12 km) south at Lake Buena Vista, where County Road 535 (CR 535) and Apopka-Vineland Road meet. The next crossing to the north is at Gotha, the north end of the chain of lakes, 2.25 miles (3.5 km) to the north. 2003 Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT), much of which is commuters passing through, is 17,197 vehicles per day for Sixth Avenue (the east entrance), 18,362 on Main Street north of Sixth Avenue, and 9,484 on Main Street south of Sixth Avenue.

As a small town, prideful of its character, Windermere tries to regulate traffic and encourage traffic to use alternate routes. In 2004, two roundabouts were installed downtown with the largest public works project in the town's history. This has greatly improved traffic flow and relieved cut through traffic. A third roundabout will be started in late 2008 which should improve the other area of congestion at the intersection of Park Avnue and Maguire Road. This is at the Windermere Elementary School intersection. All roads in the downtown area (laid out in a grid) are dirt roads except for a few through roads:

  • Main Street from the northern boundary (as Maguire Road, which heads north to Ocoee) south to 12th Street; the pavement turns west at 12th Street onto Chase Road, which connects to CR 535
  • Sixth Avenue east from Main Street to the town line, where it becomes Conroy-Windermere Road
  • Second Avenue west from Main Street (serves a peninsula)
  • "Dirt Main Street", just west of Main Street (opposite where the railroad used to run), from Third Avenue to Seventh Avenue
  • Several other paved roads exist in the outskirts, in areas that have been annexed since the original town was formed.

Until the 1980s, Main Street north of Sixth Avenue and Sixth Avenue east of Main Street were maintained by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) as part of State Road 439 (SR 439). This was given to Orange County as CR 439, and Orange County eventually removed all signs and gave the part inside Windermere to the town. Signs put up by FDOT still mark the north end of CR 439 at SR 50, but no other signs exist, in part because Orange County has a general policy of not signing county roads.

Three four-way stops were in the downtown area, all on Main Street - at Fifth Avenue, Sixth Avenue and 12th Avenue. The large amount of traffic during rush hours causes a great deal of congestion, especially as more housing developments are built west of Windermere (particularly the planned Horizon West New Urban community). In 2005 the stretch of main street between Seventh Avenue and Fifth Avenue was repaved in brick and the four-way stops at Sixth and Main and Fifth and Main, were replaced with circular, round-a-bout intersections which have eased traffic flow and added aesthetic value.

Some drivers try to avoid the jams by taking alternate routes via the dirt roads, but Windermere made that illegal on July 13, 2004 for all but local traffic by passing Ordinance 2004-07 The meaning of "local traffic" was clarified by Ordinance 2005-02, passed March 8, 2005, by defining it as traffic originating or terminating within the town limits. All side roads east of Main Street have signs at Main Street and Sixth Avenue allowing "local traffic only" from 07:00 to 09:00 and 15:00 to 18:00, with a penalty of $200 for violating the law. A grace period was provided during which violators were given a warning. The law or signs do not specify that it is only in effect weekdays, though the purpose of the law was to keep commuters on the main roads during rush hours.

The Florida Midland Railroad, part of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, used to run just west of Main Street; there is now a large grassy area between Main Street and the dirt road (often called Dirt Main Street) that ran just west of the railroad. Windermere had a station on the railroad.

Lynx bus does not serve Windermere.


Windermere is located at (28.496581, -81.533781).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 2.9 km² (1.1 mi²), all land.


As of the census of 2000, there were 1,897 people, 704 households, and 561 families residing in the town. The population density was 654.0/km² (1,688.2/mi²). There were 723 housing units at an average density of 249.2/km² (643.4/mi²). The racial makeup of the town was 95.68% White, 1.3% African American, 0.05% Native American, 2.00% Asian, 0.32% from other races, and 0.69% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.53% of the population.

There were 704 households out of which 36.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 70.3% were married couples living together, 6.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 20.2% were non-families. 17.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.69 and the average family size was 3.05.

In the town the population was spread out with 27.5% under the age of 18, 5.1% from 18 to 24, 25.8% from 25 to 44, 30.5% from 45 to 64, and 11.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 104.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.3 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $88,809, and the median income for a family was $105,737. Males had a median income of $80,693 versus $37,321 for females. The per capita income for the town was $51,370. About 2.4% of families and 3.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.0% of those under age 18 and 9.1% of those age 65 or over.


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