This week in West Orange County history: Dec. 14, 2023

These are the people and events that made newspaper headlines in West Orange County's past.

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85 years ago

The fire department was called to the home of Mr. and Mrs. P.H. Britt, where a small fire had started from a spark from the chimney. It was quickly extinguished.

Bob Hibbard, camp manager of Trailer City, said the Santa Claus Cauldron was boiling up a fine menu for the Automobile Tourists Association members who were planning a conference in Winter Garden.

60 years ago

For the second time in Christmas history, the American Legion post of Winter Garden, with Oscar Strine as commander and Santa Claus, held a Christmas party for needy children.

The Christian Business Men’s Committee of West Orange held election of officers: Joe Valdes, chairman; Wilson Griffith, vice chairman; and Dwight Woosley, secretary-treasurer.

55 years ago

The Winter Garden Improvement Committee voted to eliminate the costly Christmas parade and to use the money for candy and entertainment for the children of the city. Among the activities planned was for Santa to arrive by helicopter at the West Orange Shopping Center.

50 years ago

Scores of workers were pushing for the completion of the Tri-City Shopping Center in Winter Garden. Eckerd Drug was the first store to open, followed by Food World, TG&Y Family Center, Griffin’s Men’s Wear, Shaw’s Flowers and Gifts, Mr. D’s Bootery, Main Place women’s apparel shop, Penelope’s Boutique, Happy Holidays Travel, Wig Boutique, Tom’s Pizza, and Burger Chef.

George Bailey announced Hascal E. “Dusty” Beard Jr. was named advertising manager of The Winter Garden Times.

45 years ago

At a special pre-game ceremony, the West Orange High School football stadium and school beautification program were dedicated to the memory of Raymond Screws, who served as principal in 1976 and 1977. Screws was gunned down in his office Dec. 12, 1977, by another administrator.

“A” Flight winners in the Men’s Golf Tournament at West Orange Country Club were Jack Miller, Billy Arrington, Irwin Stoener, Ward Britt Sr., Bill Kerr and Rollie Mayer. Winners of the Ladies Handicap Tournament were Virginia Miller, Lil Strube, Linda Dillon and Pat Wood.

30 years ago

The city of Winter Garden held its third annual Wild Winter Wipeout at the Winter Garden Regional Shopping Center, with 20 tons of snow, train rides, carriage rides with Santa, performances by members of Centre for Dance & the Performing Arts and the city’s recreation department, a puppy parade, craft show, carnival games, and an elf Christmas store for children 12 and younger.


DEC. 13, 1973

If you were looking for a Kodak film camera or movie camera in 1973, Winter Garden Camera Exchange had everything you might want.

Kodak Instamatic cameras were small enough to fit in your pocket; the X-15 model came with an attachable flash cube.

Movie cameras were a big-ticket item that year, with a variety of options. The Ektasound camera featured sound recorded right on the camera. The Kodak XL33 and XL55 cameras had a zoom lens and used Ektachrome 160 movie film.

A carousel Custom H Projector had whisper-quiet side viewing and many deluxe features for folks wanting to share their vacation photos with family and friends.

The store also sold a variety of Kodak film packages and offered fast, high-quality color processing. The shop was located at 18 W. Plant St., where Federated Tax Services now operates in downtown Winter Garden.


On Dec. 7, 1941, Imperial Japan attacked the American base located at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. In preparation for war, training camps were established all over the United States. In Winter Garden, an Army camp was constructed at the northeast corner of Dillard and Division streets — the future site of West Orange Memorial Hospital — which opened in 1952. The photograph shows an unidentified military trainee posing by the sign identifying the camp as the “Anti Aircraft Command — Company Battalion Battery C 526.”



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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