This week in West Orange County history: July 28, 2022

These are the people and events that shaped today's West Orange County.

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80 years ago

A group of women met at the Ocoee Woman’s Club to sew bathrobes for the Red Cross.


75 years ago

Plans were underway for West Orange County Post 4305, Veterans of Foreign Wars, for a new home to be located on a lot donated by R.M. Ficquette. The idea was for the VFW to be conveniently located between Ocoee and Winter Garden. George Bray was post commander.

Mr. and Mrs. W.B. Burch received several letters from their son, Joe, who was vacationing with buddies in Alaska. Being adept at writing, he related some interesting episodes of the long journey through Canada to Fairbanks.


70 years ago

With additional teaching personnel, Lakeview High School would offer industrial arts and speech and possibly Latin.


50 years ago

A familiar sight at Disney World commuters was the smiling face of Jerry Carris, conductor on the railroad that circled the Magic Kingdom. Carris, a teacher at Lakeview High, was enjoying his off-season career.

Nearly 60 Winter Garden merchants, businessmen and interested citizens gathered at the Winter Garden Inn to hear the recommendations of a team of professional architects for improving the appearance of the downtown business area.


40 years ago

A women’s tennis match between a team from West Orange Country Club and one made up of Ocoee players ended in a 4-4 tie. Director of the host team was Judy Britt, and Ocoee director was Donnie McWaters. Others playing were Fran Stanford, Andy Davis, Phyllis Hickman, Jackie Brown, Delia Schley, Mary Ann Collings and Robbie Reeves for West Orange; and Laurine Powers, Angie Hagar, Barb Hornbuckle, Sarah Benson, Linda Jackson and Veryl Warner for Ocoee.


20 years ago

The new Wal-Mart Supercenter in Ocoee scheduled its grand opening for next month. The 211,030-square-foot building was designed and constructed within the requirements of the city’s ordinance relating to enhanced development along the busy roadway. This store featured fountains, additional architectural details, a covered walkway, an outdoor patio and extensive landscaping. It was the most upscale supercenter the company had built so far.

Joe and Donna Worsham of Ocoee left on a three-year assignment in Cyprus. He was a former principal of West Orange and Cypress Creek high schools and was to be principal of the American Academy of Nicosia, a private Christian school.

Mark Maciel returned home to Winter Garden after serving nine months in the Air Force Reserves. He was called up after Sept. 11 and performed military missions in support of the war on terrorism.



July 30, 1992

Toys “R” Us was advertising in The West Orange Times several years before a location opened in West Orange County. The West Oaks Mall opened in Ocoee in October 1996, and “the world’s biggest toy store” was built adjacent to the mall on West Colonial Drive.

In July 1992, “the world’s biggest toy store” announced “awesome low prices on Genesis & Super Nintendo.”

For less than $100, gamers could have a Super Nintendo control set, which included one unit and controller, or a Sega Genesis Core System, with 16-bit power, color graphics and a built-in digital sound.



It was 115 years ago, on July 28, 1907, that Gladys Dillard of Winter Garden mailed this postcard to Gladys Tilden of Tildenville, who was vacationing at Seabreeze, Florida, at Daytona Beach. They were both about 13 years of age. The image depicts a tinted photograph of a steamer plying the Ocklawaha River, an arm of the St. John’s. Citrus and produce were shipped to railroads upstate from our region along this water route before the advent of Central Florida’s railroad system sped up the process. Steamers such as these were also used for transportation, mail delivery and pleasure cruising.

Miss Dillard writes: “Hello Gladys, I guess you are having a fine time there. I received your card while in Jacksonville. There is nothing new here. Mary Fowler has the typhoid fever. Hope it will not be serious. Winter Garden has got a nice sidewalk and will soon have a brick store.” The store she is referring to may be one that rose near the corner of Main and Plant streets after a fire leveled wooden shops located there.

Check out more postal history at “We’ve Got Mail: the Postal Service in West Orange County,” on display at the Winter Garden Heritage Museum through Aug. 31.



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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