West Orange County in history

Read about the folks and events that shaped the West Orange County we love today.

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85 years ago

V.E. Bourland, Winter Garden scoutmaster, put the finishing touches to the Father and Son Dinner held at the Legion Hall.


80 years ago

Joe Burch and Fred Bekemeyer were chosen from Lakeview High School as delegates to Florida Boys State in Tallahassee. The local post of the American Legion paid the cost of the trip.

Mrs. Norwood Lockett entertained with a Coca-Cola party in honor of her houseguest, Mrs. Hugh McLennon of Chicago. The occasion was considered an “outstanding social event of the week.” There were approximately 30 local ladies attending.


70 years ago

The Junior Club of Homemakers of America held a four-course dinner at Lakeview High School. The girls planned, purchased, cooked, served and decorated for the banquet.


55 years ago

When friends of Col. Selby Burch from Texas asked him to co-pilot a C-16 twin-engine cargo plane into the jungles of Ecuador, adventuresome Burch “flew” at the chance to add more geographic experience to his record. The purpose of the trip was to transport a gold dredge and helicopter for gold mining.


20 years ago

Rod Reeves, director of the Winter Garden Heritage Foundation, put together nearly 600 family files representing residents of West Orange County.

Richard Crotty was sworn in as Orange County chairman a minute after his predecessor, Mel Martinez, was sworn in as secretary of HUD in Washington, D.C.

The West Orange Times printed an editorial in support of the preservation of Palm Cottage Gardens, Dr. Henry Nehrling’s historic property in Gotha. The property was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but this does not guarantee the preservation of this botanical treasure.



Feb. 4, 1974

Bank of West Orange was known for its catchy advertisements in The Winter Garden Times, and this one dated Feb. 4, 1974, is no exception — with its hip pencil drawings and ’70s music vibes.



E.M. (Elwood Mitchell) “Doc” Tanner escorted a large hog toward its pen in this undated photograph. Tanner served as Winter Garden city clerk for decades; Tanner Hall, a municipal project funded by the Works Progress Administration and located in Newton Park on Lake Apopka, is named for him. The Tanner home stood until recently at the northeast corner of Smith and Main streets in Winter Garden.

The Winter Garden Heritage Fountain maintains an extensive archive of photographs, documents, deeds, books and artifacts that tell the story of West Orange County since its beginnings in the 1850s — and earlier. Call (407) 656-3244 to schedule a research 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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