This week in West Orange County history: Jan. 12, 2023

These are the people and events that shaped the West Orange County we know today.

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75 years ago

There was a spike in building activities in Winter Garden, and many new homes and several businesses were constructed, including the handsome First National Bank building.

The local school board purchased two new sewing machines for the home economics department at Lakeview High School.


50 years ago

Construction on the first home was started in Windermere Downs, a planned community with 99 beautiful lots on the north shore of Lake Down. Special care was being taken to preserve the trees — an ecologist helped in the planning, and roads were redesigned to save trees. Kuhrt & Associates designed the street drainage system, which was unique in Orange County.

Badcock Home Furnishings Center opened on Highway 50. The owners were Al and Jacky Marker.

Winn-Dixie offered fantastic deals on meats: Ground beef was $1.99 for a three-pound package, baking hens were 49 cents per pound, smoked ham and chuck roast were 88 cents per pound, and all-meat franks were 59 cents for a 12-ounce package.

Under construction on the south side of Highway 50 was the Stage Stop Campground. This new venture, owned by George Spigener, covered 22 acres of land and was to accommodate 248 camper units.

The West Orange YMCA in Winter Garden began its third year under the leadership of Executive Director Ben Hargrove. Continued programs were Gra-Y, Tri-Gra-Y, Y-Indian Guides, Y-Indian Princesses, Tri-Hi-Y, day camp, karate classes, women’s exercise and dancing lessons.


45 years ago

Ray Aldridge was appointed acting principal of West Orange High following the shooting death of Principal Raymond Screws in his office Dec. 12.


30 years ago

Lil Simon of the Dr. Phillips Rotary Club was recognized by District 6980 as its Rotarian of the Year, just five years after distinguishing herself by being the club’s first female member.


20 years ago

The Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority opened a 3.5-mile extension of the Western Expressway. The new section extended from Florida’s Turnpike south to County Road 535. The $115 million project included completion of the State Road 429/Turnpike interchange, the largest roadway interchange ever built in Central Florida.

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson announced the establishment of a 6.5-square-mile citrus quarantine zone in Dr. Phillips, along with another in East Orange County, and many Dr. Phillips residents with citrus trees were asked to have them destroyed. Ag inspectors had detected two canker-infected sites.

The family-style Whippoor Willy’s restaurant opened in the Edgewater Hotel.



Jan. 4, 1973

The El Toro Lounge and Supper Club in the Ramada Inn West started the new year with new entertainment: Second Coming, starring Charlie Taylor and Joe Siata. They and their bandmates of five years began playing nightly at the Ocoee hotel.

Taylor and Siata had teamed for more than eight years when they took the Ramada gig, having worked with Mercury Records and written more than 70 tunes for publication. Rounding out their band were Pineapple Sarigumba, Tom Rodante, Dave Fultz and Bill Caron.

Besides Las Vegas and Reno, Second Coming was rated the No. 1 group in its category in the Washington-Baltimore area and were ranked in the Top 10 in New York.



Almost a century ago, Arthur W. Hurley posed with two family automobiles: a 1921 Cadillac and a 1921 Buick. The structure served as a garage with a bunk house on the second story and stood adjacent to the three-story Hurley home once located on Tildenville School Road.

The Winter Garden Heritage Foundation wishes all its friends and supporters a safe, happy and healthy New Year.



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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