This week in West Orange County history: Nov. 17, 2022

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

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80 years ago

Mattie H. Farmer of Ocoee was sworn in as judge of the Orange County Juvenile Court.

Maj. George McMillan paid a visit to the Army Air Forces Basic Flying School near Walnut Ridge to see his kid brother, Aviation Cadet Malcolm McMillan, who was training there — and he found himself lecturing the cadets about his exploits in China with the Flying Tigers.

Leaving Winter Garden for Camp Blanding were Robert L. Smith Jr., Michael Roper, George Bray, Jim Sadler, Charles McMillan and Emmette Brantley.


70 years ago

The junior class at Lakeview High School presented the annual class play in the auditorium. The three-act comedy was “Eighteen Carat Boob,” by Lillian Mortimer.


50 years ago

Vera Carter and Joan Chase held a coffee at the Carter home for Windermere residents to meet Kathy Matheison, a candidate for Windermere Town Council.


40 years ago

The 1982 West Orange Debutantes were honored with a brunch at the Lake Buena Vista Club. Hostesses were Annette Spigener, Merilyn Field, Elise Bradford and Nancy Barber.

It was a 10-year dry spell on the football fields for Mount Dora High School until Hal Cuddy of Winter Garden took over as head coach and took the MDHS Hurricanes to the 2A District 10 championship game.


30 years ago

The Rails to Trails was still in the works. Discussions were being held by the city of Winter Garden for the proposed program that would go through the downtown area.

The Winter Garden Players held their first awards banquet, and “Carnival!” came out on top. Best Show, “Carnival!” directed by Aubrey Connelly; Best Male Lead, Adrian Ahern as Jacquot in “Carnival!”; Best Female Lead, tie between Tina Michael as Lucy in “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” and Diane Scott in “Broadway Medley”; Best Supporting Male, Arnold Passcucci as Marco in “Carnival!”; Best Supporting Female, Mary Biddle as Rosalee in “Carnival!”; Best Small Group, Adrian Ahern, R.C. Loveland, Bill Larkin and Tina Michael in “The Book Report” from “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown”; and Best Large Group, “Cirque de Paris,” “Carnival!” choreographed by Kathryn Snelson.

Annette Welsh received special recognition for her work on the costumes and Ruth Sowers for her technical direction.


20 years ago

Diamond R Fertilizer recognized Arthur Smith for 42 years of faithful service. He never missed a single day of his nearly 11,000 days of work.



Most of us rely on one phone now — and it goes nearly everywhere with us. In 1977, Florida Telephone was introducing a deal for customers with one landline and one phone who wanted to add a telephone extension. In an advertisement in The Winter Garden Times, the phone company said extension phones save steps and time, decorator phones add elegance to your home, and extensions cost only pennies a day.

“Think of how many steps and how much time you can save with an extension phone in the kitchen, at bedside, on the patio or other areas of your home,” the ad read. It listed other places where an extension could save steps, too: Garage, workshop, darkroom, utility room, family room and poolside.



Walter Moore, a longtime citrus industry employee, drove a brilliant red Farmall tractor along Plant Street in the Winter Garden Centennial Parade. It was held in December 2002 as one of several events held to mark the city’s upcoming 100th birthday. The Winter Garden Heritage Museum and its iconic caboose are seen in the background. Though Winter Garden was officially incorporated in 2008, paperwork was filed in 2003 attesting to the desire of local citizens to have their growing city recognized and made viable. The little farming village on the south shore of Lake Apopka — originally smaller than Oakland, Ocoee and even Crown Point — would in a few decades be the largest citrus shipping point on the planet.

The Winter Garden Heritage Foundation archives and maintains a wealth of information on the region’s history. Call (407) 656-3244 to make a research 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.

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