This week in West Orange County history: March 10, 2022

These are the people and events from the past that shaped West Orange County.

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85 years ago

Arrangements were made with John R. Van Arnam’s Radio Barn Dance to bring Uncle Ezra Jones and his Radio Gang to Winter Garden under the sponsorship of the Junior Drum and Bugle Corps.


55 years ago

Winter Garden Mayor Wilson Griffith proclaimed March 12-18 Girl Scout Week at a Court of Awards and Thinking Day program presented by members of Cadette Girl Scout Troop 379: Kelly Vick, Kathy Ellis, Karen Daniels, Ann Duppenthaler, Jennifer Burch, April Hull, Donna Eyring, Sarah Arnold, Pat Ashley and Jill Pitchford.


50 years ago

Lakeview High School experienced a protest by black students stemming from the suspension from school of a basketball player who was involved in a fight incident the previous weekend. Principal Dunn instructed the group to return to class. From that point on, throughout the week, there were tensions, student confrontations with officials, parent conferences, demands, suspensions and widespread unrest.

The Winter Garden Inn made plans to have its first 30 new rooms ready by March 15, when several reservations had been made.


40 years ago

The nine winners of the annual Sixth-Grade Essay Contest, sponsored by the Woman’s Club of Ocoee, were honored at a luncheon attended by 52 members and guests at the clubhouse on Lakewood Avenue. The students writing the best essays on “What To Do About Drunk Drivers,” were Veronica Palen, Cindy Gibson, Melisa Chancellor, Michael Fairman and Tonya Hudson, of Spring Lake Elementary; and Lisa Swinson, Jennifer Skipper, Tammy Mayberry and Michelle Rodgers from Ocoee Elementary.


30 years ago

Marjorie Masson of Windermere was scheduled to show her watercolors of native wildflowers and plants at Local Color Iv, the art show sponsored by the West Orange Arts and Historical Association. Dawn Marciano, president of the Central Florida Art Association, planned to exhibit her paintings of Colorado.


20 years ago

Frances Watts of Ocoee, a longtime resident and activist, celebrated her 80th birthday at a surprise party given in her honor by her children at the Ocoee Community Center. She was a former school crossing guard, president of the West Orange Senior Citizens Club and member of the Ocoee Computer Club. Mayor Scott Vandergrift proclaimed March 7 Frances Watts Day in the city.

Bay Hill residents Ty Tryon, 17, and Charles Howell III, 22, were among the youngest pro players in the 2002 Bay Hill Invitational. Tryon was a student at Dr. Phillips High School.



March 16, 1972

In spring of 1972, local children were anticipating the arrival of a three-ring circus in Winter Garden. The Winter Garden Times ran an advertisement announcing the circus would be set up at Walker Field, and a photo of a performing elephant and a posse of clowns ran at the top of the front page of the March 16 issue.

The event was sponsored by the Lions Club, and tickets were for sale at Winter Garden Hardware, Modern Stationery, Webb Pharmacy and Goodyear.



The Winter Garden Heritage Foundation honors the West Orange Memorial Hospital Ladies’ Auxiliary for Women’s History Month. The hospital, constructed after an areawide special tax district was established, rose in 1952 in the triangle of land formed by Dillard Street, Division Street and Surprise Drive, the former site of an Army camp.

Mrs. Smythe and Mrs. Wurst are shown in the gift shop operated by the hospital. The auxiliary performed many tasks geared toward the comfort of patients, visitors and staff.



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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