The West Orange Times celebrates anniversary

The first edition of Winter Garden's first newspaper was published 116 years ago today.

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Amy Quesinberry contributed to this report. 

Editor A.B. Newton published the first edition of Winter Garden’s first newspaper on Sept. 13, 1905.

The paper, originally known as the Winter Garden Ricochet, contained only four pages with three columns each. 

One day, Newton was on a train coming from Sanford when he met a printer with the last name March, according to an article published on Aug. 24, 1933, by The Winter Garden Journal. 

When March told Newton that he was looking for work, the pair decided to work together to put out a newspaper. The first paper was produced on a hand press with all the type set by hand.

Only a year later, Newton moved forward in the newspaper business by purchasing The Apopka Citizen. Newton combined the two papers before selling them in 1909. 

The Winter Garden paper has seen its fair share of history and change. Since its establishment, it has been called The Winter Garden Times (around 1913-15), The Orange County Citizen (1918), West Orange Herald (early 1920s), Winter Garden Herald (mid-1920s), The Winter Garden Journal (1925-33), The Town Crier (1933-34), West Orange News (1934-48), The Winter Garden Times (1948-80), The Times (1980-87) and, currently, The West Orange Times.

The paper has also gone through a variety of editors and owners including Lester Price Robinson, who was owner, publisher and editor of West Orange News, R.S. Williams, who worked with Robinson as editor and manager, Eldon Johns, who bought the paper and changed the name from West Orange News to The Winter Garden Times, with the help of Ken Chatfield as editor, George and Anne Bailey, who purchased the newspaper from The Winter Haven News Chief, and more. 

One of the reasons the paper still remains so unique today is due to it being independently owned throughout its history. 

The oldest copy of the newspaper that is kept in the vault of the Times’ current office is dated Dec. 1, 1932.

The West Orange Times was sold to Observer Media Group in 2014 and continues to operate the newspaper today. A second paper, Southwest Orange Observer, was started.

Today, the paper prides itself in being “The Voice of West Orange.”



Annabelle Sikes

News Editor Annabelle Sikes was born in Boca Raton and moved to Orlando in 2018 to attend the University of Central Florida. She graduated from UCF in May 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in sociology. Her past journalism experiences include serving as a web producer at the Orlando Sentinel, a reporter at The Community Paper, managing editor for NSM Today, digital manager at Centric Magazine and as an intern for the Orlando Weekly.

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