The Parliament House display spans 50 years from its early years as a motor lodge, and through the decades past since it became known as The World's Largest Gay Entertainment Complex.
In the early 30's, Orlando's Rock Lake became the home to the area's first resort when the Carolina Moon opened on South Highway 441.
The Carolina Moon as pictured on this vintage postcard (date unknown).
1965 – The Parliament House Motor Hotel of Orlando opens to the public. It featured the Baron of Beef restaurant and the Libido lounge, along with 6 function rooms.
This exterior photograph was dated 1968 and shows the multi-color doors of the Parliament House Motor Inn.
The Parliament House was an instant success, and served as a primary accomodation for visitors to the booming Tupperware Headquarters in Kissimmee.
The motor inn was a popular style of motel in the late sixties.
This vintage Parliament House Motor Inn postcard showcased paddle boats along the shore of Rock Lake, and poolside lounge service at the olympic sized pool.
Dinner was served at the luxurious Baron Of Beef restaurant with picture window views of the adjacent pool. This area would later become the dance floor. Notice the air conditioning ducts, which are still there today.
The Parliament House's lakeside setting and large meeting rooms made it a popular spot for Central Florida weddings.
Weddings, meetings, and political rallys were held in in the space that is now known as the Footlights Theater. At the time, the Abbey banquet hall could be divided into three meeting rooms and offered Orlando’s largest meeting facility.
This color photograph of the Parliament House room was dated 1968.
The Diamond Head closes, and its owners, Bill Miller and Mike Hodge, take control of the almost bankrupt Parliament House Motor Lodge at 410 N. Orange Blossom. The motel had fallen on hard times after the opening of Walt Disney World, as the tourism business had moved to the south towards the attraction.
The grand opening program of the Parliament House. The official opening date was May 1, 1975.
The Parliament House Motor Lodge was christened "The World's Largest All Gay Resort" when it opened under new management.
Early Parliament House brochure.
The Parliament House Motor Lodge postcard was given a makeover to market to its new gay audience.
The Footlights Theater featured world-class female impersonators including "Heavy Duty" who was famous for her annual dive (ala Shamu) into the pool during her Labor Day Luau performance.
The 10th anniversary of the Parliament House was celebrated by burning the mortgage, which had been paid off after only 10 years.
1987 - Bill Miller succumbs to AIDS. Michael Hodge becomes the sole owner of the resort.
1989 - Mike Hodge and his lover Bob Graves purchase the Blue Beards Oyster Bar next door to the Carolina Moon and the Full Moon Saloon opens at 500 N Orange Blossom Trail.
Eartha Kitt performed at the Parliament House in 1990.
Followed shortly by the Weather Girls.
And then, the Flirtations.
1993 - A group of about 20 neo-nazis skinheads protest across the street from the Parliament House. The skinheads called the gays "disease carrying bastards" and shouted "Zeig Heil". At one point, a gay activist ran across the street and snatched the red and black Nazi flag from the hands of the skinheads. The event lasted about 40 minutes
The Parliament House was transformed to a fictitious Cocoa Beach hotel for the filming of HBO's from the Earth the Moon in 1998. The episode was directed by Sally Field.
1999 - Susan Unger and Don Granatstein, canadian husband and wife investors, purchased the Parliament House Resort from the family of Mike Hodge, who had aquired the property after his death. The couple immediately began renovation on the resort that had been in a state of decline for the past 5 years.
The new millineum starts with a bang, as the Parliament House is given a million dollar face-lift including a new courtyard that replaced the old parking lot.
2003 – Orlando’s most prominent GLBT landmark celebrated its 30th anniversary in the same year it broke ground on the area’s first timeshare resort for gays and lesbians. Developer and Parliament House owner Don Granatstein has said he envisions a Wilton Manors-styled revitalization of the neighborhood.
2004 – Paul Wegman (Miss P) dies from complications of AIDS just a few days after the passing of Hurricane Charlie. Paul had been performing at the Parliament House since it opened in 1975.