This week in West Orange County history: Jan. 4, 2024

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

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85 years ago

The Lakeview Devilettes met a strong orange and green basketball team from Groveland in the local auditorium and bowed to a 57-22 defeat.

60 years ago

The West Orange Youth Center rocked ’n’ rolled with Santa merriment at the Christmas dance of the season.

Mrs. S.C. Holden of North Boyd Street, Winter Garden, left by jet for Baltimore, Maryland, where she attended the graduation of her son, Hollis, from Nuclear Power School in Maryland.

55 years ago

Six charming girls dressed as penguins staged a cha-cha dance at the Christmas in Winter Garden program: Rebel Lee Palmer, Janet Green, Sandy White, Elizabeth Walker, Melodye Hendrix and Lori Smith. Al Valdes offered his services as makeup man for the nativity scene.

45 years ago

Ocoee Elementary School students cleaned out their old desks and moved their books to the new school building, where they were to begin classes after the Christmas holidays.

There was a big celebration as Killarney residents gathered to see the new four-way caution light at Highway 50 and Deer Island Road begin operation. The dangerous intersection had been a concern since the original single light was knocked down two years ago. Many gathered to watch Fran Irrgang flip the switch.

40 years ago

Citrus groves were hit by three nights of damaging cold. Temperatures dipped into the very low 20s Christmas Eve and early Christmas morning, and the cold continued for two more days.

Jack Nicklaus played the first official round on his new design, the exciting 7,054-yard Grand Cypress Resort golf course on both sides of State Road 535 near Buena Vista.

20 years ago

The West Orange Times Reading Reindeer program surpassed its book-collection goal when West Orange High School students donated 1,800 new books for local children in need. More than 2,400 books were gathered ahead of the holidays.

Beverly Parker, known as Nana to her grandchildren and their friends, organized a wrapping party for a group of students who put together Christmas goodies for underprivileged children in the area. Participating in the Nana’s Kid project were Casey Schulte, Erin Schulte, Wilson Swope, Tommy Kirkpatrick, Auston Martin, Samantha Vaught, Taylor Lowery, Anne Arthur, Gretchen Swope, Jack Arthur, Sean Kirkpatrick, Sarah Orris and Sidney Vaught.

The town of Oakland employees moved into their new Town Hall facilities located just north of the historic town hall building. Oakland’s new meeting hall also was ready for Town Commission meetings.


DEC. 27, 1971

New year’s wishes were all over the pages of the Dec. 27, 1971, edition of The Winter Garden Times. Local businesses, such as El Prado, offered a New Year’s Eve party for $10 per couple. The Governor’s Highway Safety Commission urged folks to drive carefully on the last day of the year.


Betty and George Akin, who lived on North Lakeview Avenue in Winter Garden, appear nattily dressed in this 1938 image. Staff at the Winter Garden Heritage Foundation are busily gleaning its vast collection of Family Files, which are filled with treasures like this photo. When staff members encounter a photograph, they enter it into the Past Perfect Database, which ensures it will appear in searches for projects and exhibits.

If you’d like to share your family legacy, call the Winter Garden Heritage Foundation at (407) 656-3244 and become a part of history.


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