This week in West Orange County history

These are the names and faces, events and places that shaped West Orange County.

  • West Orange Times & Observer
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85 years ago

Winter Garden swept on to a pennant: Riding the crest of a five-game winning streak, Tiger Minor’s hard-fighting baseball team was within striking distance of the first half title. The Gardeners held a two-game lead over Apopka.


75 years ago

Plans were underway by the city of Winter Garden to widen South Dillard Street and open it up to the proposed cross-state highway.


70 years ago

Mrs. R.J. Patrick entertained in her home with a bridge party. Mrs. Lester Austin II won high score, Mrs. Glenn Joiner won second, and Mrs. Elmer Youngblood won low. Other guests at the card party were Mrs. Charles McMillan, Mrs. Everette Farnsworth, Mrs. Paul Crawford and Mrs. Charles Hawthorne.


50 years ago

Mary Farnsworth of Winter Garden showed Winn-Dixie Manager Joe Walker the rose bush she bought recently at his store. It had grown to 13 feet high!


45 years ago

The West Orange Memorial Hospital in Winter Garden unveiled its renovated obstetrics department with a reception and open house.


30 years ago

The West Orange Hospital System closed a complicated financial transaction that would result in a major new health and medical center to serve West Orange County. The hospital district sold $64.4 million in bonds to finance the medical facility that would become Health Central in Ocoee.

Orlando Sentinel sports columnist devoted an entire column to Leroy “Bud” Hoequist, calling the local businessman (Hoequist Funeral Home) and rotarian “Orlando’s best athlete.” Guest said Hoequist was a gifted running back for the University of Georgia football team whose sports career was cut short when he was drafted into the war to serve as a fighter pilot.



July 5, 1979

Who wants to go back to the home prices of 1979? Longtime Windermere Realtor Suzi Karr frequently advertised homes for sale in The Winter Garden Times, including this five-bedroom, three-bath, two-story home near Windermere for under $80,000.

In the same issue of the newspaper, July 5, 1979, Realtor E.M. Henderson advertised a two-bedroom, one-bath house in Winter Garden for $18,000; Hartzog & Vick offered a 1.5-acre commercial tract on Highway 50 for $50,000, and an advertiser offered in the classifieds a three-bedroom, 1.5-bath new house on Old Winter Garden Road for $27,000.



The striped trousers proudly worn by Ben Hill Lawson at right tell us that three young celebrants are about to participate in a circa-1925 Fourth of July parade. Pictured are Mary Elizabeth Kannon Payne, left, Carlton Lawson, and the future Dr. Ben Hill Lawson, according to information accompanying the photograph.

In the 1950s, Maxey Elementary School for African American students lacked a marching band. Dr. Lawson, as an adult, secured donations for the purchase of band instruments and, from Haimowitz’s Mercantile Store at the corner of Plant and Main Streets, white band uniforms set off with red sashes. At the Christmas parade that year, the band played for the first time. When the band saw Dr. Lawson standing in the crowd they stopped and played Hail to the Chief.



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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