West Orange County history for the week of Aug. 27, 2020

There is so much history in West Orange County. How much do you recognize?

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80 years ago

Mr. W.B. Burch and his children, Claire, Selby and Joe, spent Wednesday afternoon in Winter Haven with Mr. and Mrs. J.F. Holly.


70 years ago

Many notable improvements around the grounds of the First Baptist Church were announced by the beautification committee. These improvements included the installation of a beautiful neon sign composed of the “Cross of Christ,” which flashes on and off.


50 years ago

Judges and entertainers at West Orange Library’s first Book Parade of children dressed to represent book characters were Carolyn Peterson, children’s librarian, Orlando Public Library; Melody Schick, Winter Garden; Mrs. James F. McKey (Frances), Winter Garden; and Ruffles the Clown (Robert Schick), Killarney.


30 years ago

The Winter Garden City Commission approved 49 petitions for annexation totaling 2,000 acres. The area was between Windermere Road and State Road 535 received zoning designations of commercial (six property sites), residential 1 and 2 (41 sites) and two as industrial 1 and 2.

A look at the real estate advertisements gave potential buyers an idea of what’s available. A four-bedroom home in Lake Florence Estates with a pool, security system and fireplace could be yours for $134,500. A four-bedroom, two-bath house with living, dining, den and family rooms, wood-burning fireplace, bar, fenced yard and screened porch was listed at $88,500. Those wanting to live in South Bay/Bay Hill could purchase a gorgeous home with hardwood and tile floors, stained glass and bay windows with two fireplaces and a solar pool for $259,000. Other homes were built with the latest 1990s features: wall mirrors, sunken living rooms and wallpaper.


20 years ago

Oakland native Bill Floyd was appointed principal at Gotha Middle School.




Aug. 27, 1970

August is back-to-school time, and Murphy’s was advertising its “Shop for School” campaign. An ad in the Aug. 27, 1970, issue of The Winter Garden Times showed shoppers all the latest fashions. For less than $50, parents could buy a sharp-looking permanent-press wardrobe for the classroom plus binders, folders and a school bag (with lunch pocket!). The G.C. Murphy Co. was located in the Pine Hills Shopping Center. In the ’70s, there were few shopping options in West Orange County, so residents traveled east to Pine Hills to satisfy their shopping needs.




Effie and Oraleze Hewett enjoy some sisterly companionship in this setting from August 1929. They lived in the Hewett house at 19 W. Oakland Ave. in Oakland — a home cherished by many generations of the family. The girls’ father, citrus and vegetable grower Austin Rockwell “Boss” Hewett, farmed property located where State Road 438 and the West Orange Trail cross over Florida’s Turnpike today.



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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