This week in West Orange County history: Feb. 22, 2024

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

  • West Orange Times & Observer
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55 years ago

A deal was completed that was to add much to the appearance of downtown Winter Garden. The Edgewater Hotel was sold and was to be remodeled. Architects completed drawings of the outside of the building, that was to include a modern marquee on Plant and Boyd streets and a paved and landscaped parking area on the east side.

The new Windermere Elementary School was dedicated with James H. Higginbotham, superintendent of Orange County Schools, as the main speaker. The other speakers were Bob Clark, principal, and Bill Coggin, PTO president.

50 years ago

Top salesperson for the YMCA World Service Candy Sale was Nancy Barber. Nancy was in the Tri-Gra-Y Club at Dillard Street Elementary School, which was led by Kris Bekemeyer.

At a recent Annual Chamber Breakfast, past president Jerry A. Kennedy was given a plaque honoring him for service as charter president. Larry Joe Walker was recognized as organizing president of the West Orange Chamber of Commerce. It was under Walker’s leadership as president of the Winter Garden Chamber in 1972 that the West Orange Chamber was formed. Bill Breeze, president-elect, served as master of ceremonies.

40 years ago

The Lakeview Red Devils ended their first season of junior high soccer competition, led by the outstanding play of Craig Markham, Ray Matthews and Todd Richtburg. Although their record was 0-6 in the very tough Orange County soccer conference, the record was misleading since the Red Devils lost almost all of their games by only one or two goals.

Spring Lake Elementary School welcomed two new aides, Lynne Glover and Sara Perko. Glover was the new learning disabilities aide, and Perko served as the new Chapter 1 aide.

The West Orange YMCA kicked off its annual sustaining membership drive with this year’s goal at $18,000. The teams are: Team 1, Jerry Weeks (captain), Joe Stinnett, Karen Burnett, Bill Arrington, Hal Dinius, Marilyn Jowett, Jimmy Roper and Ed Fox; Team 2, Carolyn Greer (captain), Jerry Fay, Roger Seidner, Dave Snyder, Chuck Hawthorne, Tonya Price and Harry Harper; Team 3, Blair Johnson (captain), Harriette Grimes, Roy Hester, Norm Dault, Jon Johnson, Ray Spears and Bill Asma; Team 4, Larry Cappleman (captain), Bob Wheat, Steve Girvin, Scott Fewell, Fred Cruciger, Mike Mikula, Ken Morris and Rick Coble.

20 years ago

Elected officials, Orange County Public School administrators and Florida Solar Energy representatives celebrated the installation of a solar energy system that was to power Ocoee Middle School.


FEB. 20, 1969

The Business and Trade “want ads” section of The Winter Garden Times in 1969 provided a who’s who of businesses and their owners in West Orange County and Pine Hills. It was a cross section of the types of services that were available to residents 55 years ago.

If you were building a house, you could find supplies at Winter Garden Lumber Company, Elmer Kerr Electrical Service, Panning Lumber & Supply, Ready Mix Concrete, Dickson’s General Electric and Florida Metal Craft. Those needing laundry service had three business choices: Smith’s Laundry, Frank’s Coin Laundry and Winter Garden Laundromat.

The automobile industry was represented with Jones Standard Station, Silver Star Body Works, Johnson’s Automotive Supplies, Al Ewing Ford and John Lamb Chevrolet. Mobile Homes Sales & Service was ready to sell you a new mobile home or camper or fix your old one. Pounds Motor Co. offered sales and service on boats and trailers as well.

Tax season was around the corner, and R&M Income Tax Service was prepared to help. Rounding out the advertisers was Pounds Pharmacy, Ted Snell’s Wonderful World of Signs, Al Wiggins Enterprises, Hill’s Sewing Machine & Vacuum Repair & Sales, Winter’s TV & Radio Service and Pine Hills Pawn Shop.


Celebrating Black History: In this photograph shared by Rhonda Massey Steib, eight Charles R. Drew High School cheerleaders are shown practicing their drills. The school served black students from 1957 until 1969, when the era of segregated schools was officially ended in Orange County. Ready to cheer on their team are Doretha Gaffery, left, Viola Jones, Christine White, Patricia Brooks, Cassie Jones, Bernice King, Delois Bouler and Erlene Riley.

The Winter Garden Heritage Foundation honors the region’s black history with permanent displays in the Winter Garden Heritage Museum. Stop by and visit, especially during Black History Month. The museum is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays.


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