This week in West Orange County history

These are the people and events that shaped the West Orange County we know today.

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85 years ago

The American Legion sponsored a big event, “Friday All Day.” The entire day was spent with events honoring and benefiting the boys Drum and Bugle Corps and the Lakeview High School baseball team. There was a political rally, barbecue, a baseball game between Lakeview and Cocoa, a diaper-pinning contest with prominent men contending and a gayety ball.

Ocoee High School held its annual Junior-Senior Banquet at the Perrydell in Orlando. The dining hall was decorated with pink and orchid ropes with silver bells attached. This illustrated the class motor: “Let the ropes of the past ring the bells of the future.”


80 years ago

Withers Memorial Christian Church at Ocoee celebrated its 50th anniversary. The church was built by the children of W.T. Withers as a memorial to their father. It was erected on land donated by Capt. B.M. Sims. After the morning service, there was a basket dinner at the women’s clubhouse.


70 years ago

Cub Scouts held a pack meeting at the Fellowship Hall of the First United Methodist Church of Winter Garden. Awarded their Bobcat pins were Gloyce Fulmer, Art Ficquette, David Barley, David Haler, Wayne Collier and Malone Traywick. Art Dees received a Silver Star, and Jimmy Kerr earned the Bear badge.


50 years ago

Robert Williams was hired as the new Ocoee High School principal. He previously had taught mathematics at Ocoee High for eight years before taking an assistant principal’s position at another school.


40 years ago

To add a little variety to the Winter Garden dining scene, the newly opened Jud’s Restaurant on South Dillard Street offered fine Italian fare each evening.



May 2, 1974

Jimmy Pitchford owned Jimmy’s Thriftway in downtown Winter Garden for decades, and this was the grocery store of choice for many local residents. Pitchford ran a weekly advertising column in The Winter Garden Times, offering sage advice on all things related to food.

He said, “history will call this ‘the age of the supermarket,’ where today’s mother can find the best food for her family’s table” at his Plant Street establishment.



Ed and Beulah Reeves are seen outside the Reeves Brothers barbershop on Plant Street — with two rattlesnakes. The story behind this c. 1958 photo is woven into Winter Garden’s folklore. At the time, the family lived in Gotha. When their little dog, Prissy, gave the “snake warning,” they and their daughter Glenda went outside to the carport to see about the commotion. After spotting the rattlers that Prissy had warned them about, Beulah shot them with a rifle.

This marvelous photograph was supplied by Nancy Acton, Glenda Reeves Acton’s daughter and Rod Reeves’ first cousin once removed. The “Your Wate and Fate” machine standing at the left side was eventually relocated to Jowers Batteries on State Road 50. Over the years, many residents stepped aboard the machine for an indication of their present weight and future fortune.



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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