This week in West Orange County history: Dec. 2, 2021

These are the people and events that shaped today's West Orange County.

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85 years ago

It was announced that Winter Garden had been selected as the spring training grounds for the Baltimore Orioles baseball club of the International League for next year.

The Oakland Shuffleboard Club planned to build two new courts in the park opposite the hotel.

“Gay,” a comedy in three acts, was presented by members of the Dramatic Club of Lakeview High School. The play was directed by Albert C. Valdes. Among the cast members were Marie Smith, Jasper Joiner, Othella Anderson, Mary Jean Denmark, Ruby Shepherd, Marjorie Griffith, Harold Britt, R.P. Howard and Dora Vining.


75 years ago

Mrs. W.B. Burch and Mrs. Selby Burch attended the Burch Memorial Race at Bowie Racetrack near Baltimore. The race was run every year in honor of the late W.P. Burch, a noted trainer, and was won by True North, a horse trained by his son, Preston Burch.

Happy Hour Club met with Dr. S.L. McCarty in charge. President Bennie Driggers led the hymns.


70 years ago

Elder Mitchell R. Garrett of Orlando was appointed pastor of the Winter Garden Seventh-day Adventist Church on Highland Avenue.

Miss Margaret  Holbrook, sponsor of the Junior Red Cross in Winter Garden Elementary School, reported during October and November the students made 142 wash cloths for use in Naval hospitals.


50 years ago

New machinery rolls — The Winter Garden Citrus Growers Association’s brand-new packing house started packing fruit on schedule.

Mervin Lee, district manager for Florida Power Corp., received the Citizen of the Year citation from the West Orange Jaycees, presented by Stan Smith, Jaycees president, at the Winter Garden Chamber of Commerce banquet. Joe Walker took over as new president from Jimmy Pitchford.


40 years ago

St. Luke’s United Methodist Church celebrated the second anniversary of its charter and the consecration of its first church building.


20 years ago

The American Cancer Society and Relay For Life were chosen to decorate the 9-foot Christmas tree in the main lobby of Health Central in Ocoee. Some of the youngest cancer survivors in West Orange County gathered to put pink and purple ribbons, ornaments and beads on the tree: Benjamin Swick, Dalton Kress, Jenna Cross, Mary Daugherty, Tobi Pryor and Thomas Giallella.

The four local mayors — Jack Quesinberry of Winter Garden, Karen Ruenheck of Windermere, Scott Vandergrift of Ocoee and Jon VanderLey of Oakland participated in the West Orange Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Mayors’ Luncheon.



DEC. 6, 1979

Eckerd Drugs was known for its display cabinets full of perfumes and colognes that stood just inside the front doors of the store.

During the 1979 holidays, the store took out a full-page advertisement in The Winter Garden Times to promote the various smells and scents for men and women. Some popular name brands of the time were Enjoli, Heaven Sent, Brut, Faberge, English Leather, Coty, Bonne Bell, Cachet and Jōvan. Attractive sets were available for holiday gift-giving.



As the weather grows colder up north, thoughts of Florida’s warm winters drew travelers to our region. “Snowbirds” established themselves in RV parks such as the Stage Stop Campground, shown here in an undated aerial view. A peaceful rural state road — State Road 50 — runs along the bottom of the setting from east to west; Florida’s Turnpike is seen along the top of the photograph.

The property was purchased in 1920 by attorney John Thomas Ezzard. A farmhouse was built near the center of the site in 1930, and Ezzard raised citrus on the surrounding acreage. The Spigener family purchased the property in the 1970s and created the Stage Stop, which still operates today.

From fishing camps to trailer parks, the Winter Garden heritage Foundation preserves a wealth of information about West Orange County’s tourist industry. Call (407) 656-3244 to make a research appointment of to share some memories.



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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