This Week in West Orange County History: Dec. 23, 2021

These are the people and events that helped shape the West Orange County of today.

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70 years ago

Pvt. Selby Burch of Camp Jackson, South Carolina, was here on a 10-day furlough with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. W.B. Burch.


50 years ago

A front-page story announced that Roy O. Disney, the man who labored behind the scenes as the business brain of Walt Disney Productions to free his brother for creative work, died at the age of 78.

Several hundred people gathered on Plant Street to enjoy Christmas music and singing. Music was provided by Lakeview High School band volunteers and Joan Teal at the organ. Lew Warden led the singing. A Christmas tableau was presented by the youth of the Church of God, led by Mrs. George Ayers. It was hoped that this would become an annual tradition.

David Asendorf and Willie Harp were elected co-captains for the Lakeview High School football team for the following year.

In Editor’s Notebook: “The next time you visit the Winter Garden Post Office, be sure to get a glimpse of J.D. Rutledge’s bow tie. He looks like a sprig of Christmas holly.” … “A couple of our coin racks went on the blink last week (at the West Orange Shopping Center and at the Montverde Post Office). As a result, a number of people lost a dime and did not get a paper. We apologize to you and hope you’ll bear with us. We have some new racks on the way.”

A reward was offered by Johnnie Griffin for information leading to the return of the back door steps at Griffin’s Mens Wear. These concrete steps, which were there for many years, mysteriously disappeared.


40 years ago

Lake Butler Estates, the prestigious new residential development just north of Windermere, was getting ready to offer for sale the one-acre homesites in Unit Two.


30 years ago

A van full of judges for the Ocoee Christmas Lighting Contest — driven by veteran Recreation Director Jim Beech — rode all through the city and making a list of their favorite holiday displays. Winners were George and Georgia Griffith, first place; David Lowery, second; and Myrtle Vaughn, third. Judges were Bruce Nordquist, Kelly and Bill Chambers, Jean Grafton, Judy Henry, Mary Anne Swickerath, Peggy Psalidakis and Montye Beamer.

Winter Garden resident Linnie Lowe wrote a letter to the editor thanking the downtown merchants for hosting the well-attended Christmas Open House and said it was nice to see the streets full of people again.



DEC. 23, 1971

Readers looking for last-minute Christmas gifts in 1971 were given several options, including Penny Saver Department Stores and Griffin’s Mens Wear, both of which advertised in The Winter Garden Times.

At Penny Savers, located in the Ocoee and West Orange shopping centers, there were deals, such as flannel shirts for $2.98; slippers for $2.66; and assorted blouses, slacks, pant suits, robes and “warm or sexy” gowns and dusters. And there was a bonus for shoppers: free gift-wrapping.

Griffin’s Mens Wear, at 116 W. Plant St., Winter Garden, had sales on slacks, starting at $17, and ties as low as $3; as well as jackets, sweaters, windbreakers, sport coats and Samsonite Luggage. Smaller gifts, such as shoe trees, shoe mitts and tie racks, were available to round out the gift-giving.



Mary Vea Tanner showcased this Christmas Eve scene in an exhibit at Winter Garden’s First United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall. Married to Elwood Mitchell “Doc” Tanner, the city’s long-time city clerk. This is one of many dioramas that Mary Tanner created inside repurposed television cabinets.

The Winter Garden Heritage Foundation preserves in its archive hundreds of works of art in all media that were created by area residents. Call (407) 656-3244 to schedule an appointment.



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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