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Orlando, the City Beautiful

In May 1981, a sinkhole opened up in Winter Park, Florida, the tiny suburb just north of downtown Orlando. Over the course of that day the ground gave way, swallowing five Porsches from a repair shop, a small home, and the deep end of an Olympic-size swimming pool.

The event brought national attention to my hometown; all three national television news networks came to report the story. Years later I would open my college geology textbook and find a picture of the Winter Park sinkhole staring back at me. Eventually, my textbook explained, the sinkhole had been filled with water and christened Lake Rose by the city. But I already knew that. We had picnicked through the years in the new park built beside it. I took social dance and etiquette lessons for Junior Cotillion at a small building just up the street. …

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