This week in West Orange County history: March 9, 2023

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

  • West Orange Times & Observer
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90 years ago

Mr. and Mrs. R.L. Gulley motored to Orlando Sunday and visited Mr. and Mrs. Norman Gulley, their son and daughter-in-law.

60 years ago

Plans were announced for the Railroad Ramble to visit Winter Garden.

Jere Sullivan was named local Heart Fund chairman.

55 years ago

In the face of adverse conditions, Winter Garden teachers were to be complimented. Only six teachers from the three Winter Garden schools were reported to be on strike after the first two days of the statewide walkout.

45 years ago

A freak accident slowed traffic at Winter Garden’s busiest corner when a dump truck went through the intersection of Dillard Street and Highway 50 with its bed partially up and took with it two signal lights.

30 years ago

Columnist H-Lee Allen (Harriette Grimes) wrote a piece about her grandsons, Jason and Justin Grimes, and the beginning of I Want You to be Happy Day. The day is celebrated March 3 to remind people to be thoughtful of others even when things are not going well for themselves.

Residents of Winter Garden and Ocoee could hop on the Tri-County Transit Lynx bus when a route was determined for the area. The bus traveled west on Highway 50 to Health Central in Ocoee, to Old Winter Garden Road to Story Road, to Ninth Street, back to Highway 50, to Park Avenue, to Plant Street, to Hennis Road, to the Klondike Center and the Center Street. This ended the route, and then the bus looped back to Plant Street and back through the cycle.

The community exhibits of Ocoee and Winter Garden each earned the top trophies of the Central Florida Fair. Ocoee took home the Manager’s Trophy and Winter Garden won the President’s Trophy.

Marine Lance Cpl. John Bennett returned from a deployment to Mogadishu, where he was stationed for two months to help fight hunger, death and disease in the impoverished Somalian town in East Africa.

Plans were being made for the Possum Queen Pageant, part of Winter Garden’s Florida Cracker Festival. Crystal Tucker, the previous year’s Possum Queen, was prepared to give up her crown to one lucky woman (or man). On the Possum Queen Committee were Janis Murphy, “mother” of marsupial Phoebe; Lynn Walker Wright; and Mary Van Deventer, who were waiting for the applications to come rolling in. The Possum Queen Parade would head down Plant Street with all Possum Queen candidates riding atop a possum vehicle.


March 1, 1979

Winn-Dixie filled many kitchen cabinets with exquisite fine china in 1979 when it introduced its Ekco International shopping rewards program. An advertisement in the March 1 issue of The Winter Garden Times promoted pieces in four patterns: Floral Generation, Winsford, Spring Bouquet and Golden Autumn.

With every $3 shoppers spent, they could purchase a certificate for 88 cents that could be used for a 20-piece set that included four dinner plates, four soup bowls, four cups, four saucers and four salad plates.

The set could be rounded out with the purchase of a platter, casserole dish, vegetable bowl, fruit bowls, salt and pepper shakers, sugar and creamer, and gravy boat.


Four students who worked on the Gold Award Project at Tildenville Child Care Center of Winter Garden are pictured with students and teachers though not specifically identified in the original photo. They are Dorothy Johnston, Tracy Myerson, Kathleen Perricone and Glenda Shaw — all members of Girl Scout Senior Troop 840. The center, managed for many years by Amanda Booker, is no longer in existence. Established in 1971 with the purchase of the former Avalon School that once stood adjacent to the Tildenville Missionary Baptist Church, the center served the neighborhood as much more than a school for almost four decades. Clothing, furniture, household items and more was collected here and then distributed to needy families.


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