West Orange County history

Find out what happened this week in history in West Orange County.

  • West Orange Times & Observer
  • Neighborhood
  • Share


80 years ago

Ruth Bekemeyer became the bride of Jose Manuel Valdes at the home of the bride’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. George Bekemeyer.


75 years ago

Memorial services were conducted at the First Baptist Church of Winter Garden for Lt. Col. George B. McMillan and Pvt. William C. Bray. The two young men were cousins and were killed in action within a month of each other.


65 years ago

Bill Tilden appeared before the Winter Garden City Commission to explain his intention to subdivide the 10-acre tract north of Dillard Street School. This is part of the nearly 30 acres of remaining farm land between Winter Garden proper and Winter Garden Shores.

Orange County commissioners have indicated their willingness to have a public park and boat-loading area on the south end of Lake Apopka, in Oakland.


45 years ago

Newspaper advertisement: Put on your raccoon coat, grab your favorite flapper and head for the Ramada Inn West. Beginning at 9 p.m., it’s Moonlight Cocktails. You can stay all night for just $10 a couple.


40 years ago

Griffin’s Men’s Wear in the Tri-City Shopping Center, Winter Garden, was robbed of $96 and one hat. It was the first armed robbery in its 33-year history. Following the incident, the clerk quit her job.


20 years ago

Church of Christ of West Orange held a concert to raise additional funds for the Relay For Life of Stoneybrook and the American Cancer Society. Adam’s Road, the Christian pop group from Winter Garden performed, as did former “American Idol” contestant Luke Menard.

Jon Johnson, a 23-year veteran of the Winter Garden Police Department, was promoted to deputy chief. His role was to assist Chief Jimmie Yawn in all aspects of the department.



July 14, 1966

The Winter Garden Times advertised its advertising services in a 1966 edition, hoping to catch the eye of Mr. Merchant: “Have you resolved to build traffic and to make sales soar? Are (you) determined to get the best ad-tools available to make this possible? Have you figured your ad-budget most effectively?”

At that time, the weekly newspaper office was at 18 N. Boyd St., Winter Garden, currently the home of The Deli Downtown. The office’s phone number remains the same. The paper also offers top-notch advertising services in print and online.



The home of Thomas Eugene Heidt (1883-1962) and Ethel Janie Ware Heidt (1892-1964) once stood in the family citrus grove, six miles south of Winter Garden near Speer Lake. Thomas was the son of Winter Garden pioneers Solomon Robert Heidt and Sarah Elizabeth Powell Heidt, who are both interred at the Powell Cemetery in south Orlando. Three generations of Heidts lived in this family home. Betty Heidt Goodwin, Thomas and Ethel’s granddaughter, recalls hearing her Aunt Tommie tell the story about the family dog eating its food — only it actually was a black Florida panther.



Amy Quesinberry

Community Editor Amy Quesinberry was born at the old West Orange Memorial Hospital and raised in Winter Garden. Aside from earning her journalism degree from the University of Georgia, she hasn’t strayed too far from her hometown and her three-mile bubble. She grew up reading The Winter Garden Times and knew in the eighth grade she wanted to write for her community newspaper. She has been part of the writing and editing team since 1990.

Latest News