This week in West Orange County: May 11, 2023

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

  • West Orange Times & Observer
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90 years ago

Chief Grimes of the Winter Garden Police Department issued a warning to motorists speeding through the city. Arrests will be made for persons exceeding the limit of 20 mph through town.

Members of the Gotha PTA met at the schoolhouse on the last day of school, and all scholars were presented their deportment cards.

Bray Hardware Company featured 25 feet of garden hose for $1.25; and ball-bearing, high-wheel, 16-inch lawnmowers for $5.50.

The Winter Garden Theater was featuring four movies: “Sailor Be Good,” with Jack Okie; “Hidden Valley,” with Bob Steele; “Sign of the Cross,” with Fredric March and Claudette Colbert; and “Island of Lost Souls,” with Richard Arlen and Lelia Hyams.

85 years ago

The Rev. S.L. Hunter, new pastor of the Presbyterian Church at Oakland, addressed the members of the Lakeview-Tildenville PTA.

Roller skating at the Orlando Coliseum cost 30 cents for ladies and 35 cents for gentlemen.

Folks wishing to purchase cut roses were asked to call Mrs. “Foots” Vandergrift at 14 Black.

60 years ago

Thirty-five Winter Garden merchants began giving profit-sharing stamps to their customers.

Mervin Lee was named the new president of the Winter Garden Lions Club, with Foy Maloy as first vice president.

50 years ago

Bethlehem Baptist Church’s Martin Luther King Memorial Choir marked its 10th anniversary with a weekend of events. The group was created in 1963 as the Young Adult Choir, under the leadership of president Eva Holt. Dr. Robert Williams was its musician.

The construction of the new Tri-City Shopping Center in Winter Garden was kicked into high gear. Bill Luten, vice president of Orlando Metro Mortgage, announced several new leases in addition to the major tenants, Publix Super Markets, Eckerd Drug and TG&Y Family Center. White Auto and Griffin’s Mens Wear signed on, along with a gift shop by the owners of Shaw’s Flowers and Gifts. Under negotiation were a bookstore, shoe store, teenage shop, toddler shop, ladies apparel store and beauty salon.

40 years ago

Agreement was reached between Chase Groves Inc. and Arnold Palmer regarding the sale of more than 1,500 acres of lakefront property on the south edge of Windermere.

30 years ago

Cablevision Industries, the cable company that served most of West Orange County, moved to a spacious and attractive new facility in Ocoee.

Conoley Citrus Packers in Winter Garden distinguished itself by placing first in two categories of the Farm Credit Fresh Fruit Competition: Indian River Pineapple Orange and Florida Gulf Navel Orange.


APRIL 26, 1973


Anyone craving a “scrumpdillyishus” banana split? In 1973, the Winter Garden Dairy Queen at the corner of Highway 50 (West Colonial Drive) and Park Avenue offered a 39-cent deal on its famous delectable DQ delight.

“You’ll go bananas for this great sale on the famous Dairy Queen banana split,” read the advertisement in The Winter Garden Times. “Two fresh-cut banana slices and America’s favorite treat, topped with chocolate, strawberry, pineapple and whipped topping. … Treat the whole gang during this special offer.”

The former DQ building now is home to Enterprise Rent-a-Car.


This century-old postcard — sent from Lalla Sullivan Sims to her sister, Palla — depicts the Sims family’s Lake Apopka boathouse. Lalla married dentist Eugene Sims, the son of Ocoee’s famed steamboat operator, Bluford Sims. Before railroading radically improved shipping and vegetable operations throughout the region, steamships ferried produce from the groves and fields situated south of Lake Apopka across the water and then over land to railroad lines that ran north of that wide body of water. When rail arrived in the area by 1886, the steamboats were rendered obsolete.


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