This week in West Orange County history

These are the names, faces and places that made West Orange County what it is today.

  • West Orange Times & Observer
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95 years ago

Winter Garden School children and teachers had to be in Florida at least two weeks before school opened. This was the decision of the local school board to take precautions against the dreaded infantile paralysis epidemic.


85 years ago

Grocery establishments in Winter Garden did a nice business. The announcement that the rationing of canned fruit and vegetables had been lifted caused many housewives to flock to the stores.


75 years ago

C.G. Tilden, who operated one of the large truck farms in West Orange County, was reported to have shipped out 75 tons of watermelons. That is two days’ pickings.


45 years ago

There were big doings at the Winter Garden Travel Center as the new Airstream and Aryosy trailer and motor home lines were unveiled. Open house activities had a bicentennial theme with Minutemen to proclaim, “The Airstreams are coming!”


40 years ago

The West Orange Memorial Hospital board of trustees last week approved the purchase of $30,000 worth of surgical equipment for the ophthalmology department.


30 years ago

The St. Johns River Water Management District governing board gave its nod to spending about $23 million to acquire lands with significant water management value — bringing more than 15,000 acres of land into public ownership. The most significant purchase is the acquisition of 4,400 acres of farmland along the northern shore of Lake Apopka.


20 years ago

Nearly 100 students living in the Tildenville community near Winter Garden could safely ride a bus to Tildenville Elementary School instead of walking, thanks to businessman Dale DeWitt, who donated $7,000 to provide the transportation after courtesy busing in the area was stopped.




Aug. 11, 1950

Winter Garden Times had special sections for various parts of West Orange County to report their goings-on. News was sparse back then, because there weren’t many people living here yet and there was no social media to spread news and gossip. In the Aug. 11, 1950, issue of the newspaper, such events were worth noting in Ocoee: taking a family trip, moving to a new location, heading off to camp and visiting family. Because there was space at the bottom of the column, a tidbit about Florida’s trees was included.




Winter Garden Mayor Bob Barber, right, and Ocoee Mayor Tom Ison, center, commemorate the successful mutual-aid agreement between the cities’ police departments in this West Orange Times photograph dated Aug. 14, 1986. The hourglass that Ison is holding symbolized that it was “high time” for a collaboration. Winter Garden and Ocoee have always engaged in a friendly rivalry of sorts. In fact, a piece by the newspaper reported that the two cities had agreed on a “merger plan.” The article, which ran April 1, 1971, said “the office of mayor will be determined by the toss of a coin.”



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.

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This week in history