This week in West Orange County: 1-27-22

How many of these names and stories do you recognize from our area's past?

  • West Orange Times & Observer
  • News
  • Share


80 years ago

Mrs. Dudley Wilson, West Orange chairman of the Orange County Defense Council, issued an appeal for wool blankets. A call was also made for wastepaper, scrap metal and tin foil, the latter to be used by the British government.

From the Social Whirl: When Carolyn Peters returned to Hollins College in Virginia, there were 12 passengers on the train pulling out of Orlando.

Winter Garden’s blackout, including all of West Orange, Ocoee, Oakland, Killarney and Tildenville, was a big success as witnessed from the air. Following the blackout, all emergency Red Cross workers gathered at Legion Hall to practice first-aid treatment for pseudo-victims of the air raid.


70 years ago

Mrs. Russell Pounds entertained at a matinee party in honor of her son, Rice, on his 7th birthday.


50 years ago

The Winter Garden City Commission approved plans for the Klondike Pool and recreation area improvements. Plans called for a Little League ball diamond and a basketball court, and city officials hoped the West Orange Jaycees would help equip the playground area.

The city of Winter Garden, with the help of the Maxey Recreation Council, purchased the old movie theater on Klondike Street with plans to convert it into a community youth center. City forces began renovation, and the new facility was to be available within a few weeks.

Four local mayors from Ocoee, Windermere, Winter Garden and Apopka urged the Orange County Commission to give its approval to a proposed tri-city airport, saying the general aviation facility was urgently needed for the area.

Four full-time firemen began serving the Ocoee area: Rupert Warr, Butch Coschignano, Chief Jimmy Vandergrift and Rex Warr.

Members of the Windermere Rotary Club mixed concrete and set posts for the new Little League field behind Town Hall. Don Strube spearheaded the project and had assistance from Gene Spears and Curtis Pickens.


40 years ago

Henry Solomon retired from the business he founded and led starting in 1959. Solomon Body Works Inc., on Highway 50, was turned over to his sons, David and Dennis.


20 years ago

Ward Britt, president of the Winter Garden Heritage Foundation, invited the public to the grand opening of the Winter Garden History Center, 32 W. Plant St. The open house featured a photo exhibit on Lake Apopka’s history, a display of Seminole Indian artifacts discovered at the bottom and shore of the lake, and a 60-year-old cypress fishing boat with tags identifying it as a Lake Apopka vessel.



JAN. 17, 1974

The Ramada Inn West was once a happening place — with its dining room meal selections, movie nights and lounge acts.

In a Jan. 17, 1974, issue of The Winter Garden Times, the popular hotel advertised the musical sensation The Bandwagon. It was said that if you request it, the band can play it. The lounge offered daily specials, oldie flicks in the lounge on Mondays (with 75-cent drinks and all the beer you can drink for $3) and Wednesday night Ladies Nite (where all unescorted women could buy 50-cent drinks).

The seven-story hotel was built in 1968 at Highway 50 and Maguire Road, in Ocoee. The pool was used to teach hundreds of local children how to swim; lessons were provided by the West Orange YMCA (now Roper YMCA), which had offices in the hotel. The building, by 2009 painted pink and called Colony Plaza Hotel, was imploded that May. 



Margaret Dyson is seen in the photograph with three young family members: her daughter, Drene Dyson, is seated on the taxi, and nephews Michael and Cecil Wheeler stand in front. Dyson’s Taxi, owned and operated by George Dyson and Annie Bell Dyson (who also operated an icehouse and other businesses and properties), ferried east Winter Garden residents to jobs and appointments located beyond the traditionally black neighborhood.

Their granddaughter, Linday Dyson Smith, relates that many businesses thrived along Center and Tenth streets — barber shops, groceries, restaurants, a dry cleaner and more.

The Winter Garden Heritage Foundation asks the families of east Winter Garden to share family histories, photographs, and recollections. Call (407) 656-3244 to make 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.

Latest News