This week in West Orange County's history

What was happening this week in history in and around West Orange County?

  • West Orange Times & Observer
  • Neighborhood
  • Share


70 years ago

Editorial: Some of the Winter Garden City Commissioners are worried because some of the good women are worried because some of the beautiful oak trees along Plant Street have been cut down — and maybe more to follow someday. I wouldn’t worry if I were you, men! That is a conflict that has been going on from time immemorial and will continue to go on as long as time lasts. This is as long as there are any beautiful trees and flowers that seem to the stern businessman to be blocking the road to progress.


50 years ago

They will soon be pulling the plug in Lake Apopka. The lake level will be reduced four feet in three months and the lake bottom allowed to fry out. The filling process, depending on rainfall and Gourd Neck Springs, will bring the lake level back to nearly normal by late fall 1971.


20 years ago

Winter Garden began the new year with a new city clerk when Kathy Montoya joined the staff with 20 years of experience in city and county government.

West Orange High School principal Gary Preisser announced his retirement from Orange County Public Schools to become head football coach at Bishop Moore.

West Orange Habitat For Humanity broke ground on a new home just north of Ocoee thanks to the generosity of the First Baptist Church of Windermere. The future homeowners, Chris and Jessica Gray and son Christopher, helped at the groundbreaking ceremony.

State Farm Insurance agent Joe McClellan was honored with the National Sales Achievement Award. This award is given to only 10% to 15% of the nation’s insurance agents. This is McClellan’s fifth time receiving the award.




The Winter Garden Times

Jan. 22, 1970

Nearly two years before Walt Disney World held its grand opening, the Disney Preview Center opened to the public, recording 12,000 visitors in its first three days of operation. The “modernistic building” contained a stand-up theater that showed an 11-minute film every 15 minutes throughout the day. Also on display were drawings and photographs of planned and actual construction on the site. A souvenir stand offered trinkets and Disney products.

An article in the Jan. 22, 1970, issue of The Winter Garden Times said a variety of housing types and neighborhoods, along with full commercial, professional and community services, would be integrated into a “small town” environment.

“And this is just the start,” the article read. “In the years to come the magnitude of Walt Disney World will unfold to dwarf any single project ever undertaken in Florida. West Orange County is about to become a world celebrity.”




Dr. Henry Nehrling poses regally in this 1926 photograph taken at the International Botanical Congress in Ithaca, New York. Conferences like these benefited from the field experience and experimentation done by famed horticulturalist Henry Nehrling and his contemporaries.

The life and achievements of Henry Nehrling, a kingpin in the establishment of Florida’s foliage industry, are featured in “Dr. Henry Nehrling and His Gotha Legacy,” a new exhibit at the Winter Garden Heritage Museum (open daily from 1 to 5 p.m.).

Call (407) 656-3244 for more information. To plan a visit to Palm Cottage Gardens, Nehrling’s Gotha estate, go to



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