The Genius Preserve in Winter Park is an historical landscape, a remaining tie to the romantic "Old Florida" Marjorie Rawlings revealed in Cross Creek. To stroll through the Genius Preserve is to take a step back in time.
In 1921, Charles Hosmer Morse purchased 200 acres of mesic oak habitat in the heart of Winter Park between lakes Virginia, Mizell and Berry. His intention was to preserve a piece of the natural beauty that had attracted him to Florida, the only alterations being the meandering dirt road, a citrus grove and ornamental flowering shrubs.
Today, the Genius Preserve remains an historical artifact of the 19th century. Tucked away from the bustle of urban activity, Charles Morse’s vision of natural and cultivated beauty offers a living link to our natural past. Morse understood the therapeutic value of nature to humans — that it can provide a sanitary experience that will restore and inspire the observer; that it offers a valuable escape from the push of urban existence.