This week in West Orange County history: Jan. 26, 2023

These are the people and events making headlines in West Orange County's past.

  • West Orange Times & Observer
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70 years ago

While Coach Ted Wiedenbeck led his Lakeview High School basketball team to a victory over Eustis, his wife, Marian, gave birth to their third child, Steve, in West Orange Memorial Hospital. Steve’s birth was announced at halftime of the basketball game.

55 years ago

The first Thistle Class sailboat racing contest, organized by Jimmy McKey, was held on Lake Apopka on a perfect day except for one thing — no wind.

45 years ago

The Ocoee Woman’s Club held its 54th birthday luncheon. Models Miriam Reid, Robbie Stallard, Carol Hornsby, Rena Rhodes and Janet Crozier presented a fashion show from The Outlook in Ocoee.

Lee Roy Hester Jr. of Gainesville acquired the W.T. Zeigler Furniture Store on Dillard Street in Winter Garden.

A sign to West Orange High School directed people to the off-the-beaten-path high school. The sign was erected in front of the Winter Garden Lumber Co. by the WOHS DECA Club.

40 years ago

Attending the sixth annual Breakfast Career Education Specialists at Sea World were WOHS Principal Tony Krapf and occupational specialist Linda Lockert, Gene Gossett and director Frank House of Westside Vo-Tech, and Millie Cobb and Principal Bob Williams of Ocoee Junior High School.

Craig Maloy and Jerry Carrier experienced an ill-fated fishing expedition in the middle of Lake Apopka and ended up swimming a mile, fully clothed, in water in the low 60s.

30 years ago

Ocoee’s new postmaster, Ron Herrington, said he was happy to be back “home.”

20 years ago

How will Windermere look in 20 years? The town held workshops and a charette to gauge residents’ wants for the town in the next two decades. The approaches to the town from the north, south and east looked like rural country highways that invited drivers into Windermere, according to a planning firm hired by the town. By narrowing the roads and adding curbs and brick sections and roundabouts to slow traffic, they predicted many drivers would choose a different route, which was what residents seemed to want. The town’s shopping area also was a hot-button issue, and some residents envisioned a small deli, restaurant, ice cream shop and town park.

The city of Winter Garden began its yearlong celebration of its 100th anniversary with a history-inspired event at Tanner Hall.

The town of Oakland and Orange County Public Schools, in partnership with Chancellor Beacon Academies Inc., broke ground on a new elementary school to be named Oakland Avenue Charter School. Oakland Mayor Jon VanderLey spearheaded the charter school project.


Jan. 31, 1947

Elsie the Cow has been the popular mascot and “spokescow” for Borden Dairy Company since 1936. Folks attending the 1947 Florida State Fair in Tampa had the chance to meet Elsie; the opportunity was advertised in the Jan. 31, 1947, issue of The West Orange News.

The ad read: “Elsie, whose bovine beauty and moo-velous charm have made her the nation’s glamour cow, is coming to the Florida State Fair. She will arrive in Tampa aboard her deluxe ‘Creamliner’ in time for opening day. Renowned radio personality, star of the silver screen and hostesses to more than 10 million people in her many personal appearances, Elsie is the greatest cow-sonality of all time. Be sure to see her in her boudoir in the Flower Building. Elsie is counting on her many Florida fans and friends to visit her.”


Local residents prepared for the Fifth West Orange Communities Sing, a performance sponsored by the West Orange Ministerial Association and area churches. They performed Jan. 29, 1979, at the First United Methodist in Winter Garden.

Singers included Jimmy McKey, Harriette Grimes and Frances McKey, fifth, sixth and eighth persons in the front row; and Carol Knighton, Donna Halquist, Dink Butler, Roy Fulmer, Larry Grimes and Barbara Fulmer, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and eighth persons in the back row. To identify any of the singers, call the Winter Garden Heritage Foundation at (407) 656-3244 or post directly to the WGHF Facebook page.


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