The Tavares and Gulf Railroad, affectionately known as the “Tug and Grunt” for its propensity to derail, built this Ocoee depot in 1915 at the southeast corner of where McKey and Taylor Streets intersect. That year, the rail line laid track two-and-one-half miles east of the T&G depot in downtown Winter Garden, which was constructed in 1913. The “Ocoee wye” was placed at the terminus, enabling trains to turn around for its journey back to Tavares.
Phil Cross, in his history of the railroad, shares that the crowd cheering the first train, unaware of the wye’s purpose, scattered for cover when engineer Morgan Mills hollered, “Lookout, folks, because we’re fixing to turn this train around!”
“They may have thought the train would run off the tracks and make a big circle in town,” Cross writes.
Although passenger service was discontinued in 1938, produce was shipped from two nearby packinghouses and a pulpwood company until 1969, when the depot was taken out of service.
The WGHF thanks the Maguire family for donating this photo.