This week in West Orange County history: Feb. 1, 2024

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

  • West Orange Times & Observer
  • News
  • Share


80 years ago

The marriage of Miss Virginia Wilson to James Calvin Sadler Jr. took place at the First Baptist Church with Dr. J. Powell Tucker officiating.

70 years ago

Fishing on Lake Apopka just about broke all records beginning last week. Guy Neff, operator of Lakeview Lodge, said more than 1,000 speckled perch came into his camp along every day this week.

Calvary Baptist Church was planning its first revival since the church’s inception last year.

Mrs. Clarence Heidt entertained at a wiener roast at her home honoring her little daughter, Kay Heidt, on her birthday.

The Leader Department Store featured men’s Endicott work shoes at $3.98, hats at $1.98 and $2.98, ladies’ blouses at $1 and $1.98, nylon hose at 49 cents, and ladies’ corduroy and gabardine jackets at $3.98 and $5.98.

50 years ago

A major remodeling program was underway at Penny Saver Department Store, and when completed, it became two separate stores to be called HIS and HERS.

Members of the congregation of Macedonia Freewill Baptist Church on East Bay Street, Winter Garden, followed their pastor, the Rev. A.W. Whitehead, into their new church building after the ribbon was cut by Mayor C.H. Johnson.

Two major developments occurred regarding bringing the much-needed new West Orange High School closer to reality. The Orange County School Board, by court order and with a deposit of $225,000, took possession of the property, and the state bonds were sold, making sufficient funds available for the project.

The board of directors of Orange Federal Savings & Loan Association named Waymon L. Jones president of the organization, replacing Franklin Cappleman.

The First Baptist Church of Windermere marked a historic moment by turning the first spadesful of dirt to signify the beginning of construction on the new sanctuary. The Rev Gordon T. Smith conducted the brief ceremony, and J.B Rodgers Jr., chairman of the building committee, led the group in prayer.

Construction was moving rapidly on the new Howard’s Winter Garden Hardware building on South Dillard Street at Florida Avenue. The owner was Howard Vanlandingham.

Russell Crouch was named to the staff of the West Orange Branch YMCA to serve as a full-time program director and be involved in all phases of recreation.

40 years ago

The youth fellowship of the Oakland Presbyterian Church returned from a retreat to Beech Mountain, North Carolina. Those who enjoyed the trip were Leigh Anne Hargrove, Ross Lenhardt, Stephen Judy, Sidney Arrington, Glen Thomas, Kevin Britt, Doug Bullman, Jennifer Howard, Terri Terrell, Scott Boyd, Wendy Myers, Brent McCoy, Jim Garrison, Scott Britt, Kevin Anderson and advisor Ben Hargrove.


JAN. 26, 1951

The 1951 Ford with new Fordomatic Drive had 43 “look-ahead” features built with an eye to the future. It had automatic ride control, which ironed out the bumps with the variable-rate rear spring suspension and shock absorbers; automatic mileage maker, which included “a magic brain” to give better mileage; double-seal king-size brakes; automatic posture control with the touch of a lever in front of the seat; and a “magic lift” deck lid that opens with the turn of a key and closes with no effort.

An advertisement in the Winter Garden Times boasted with Fordomatic Drive, the owner and car “takes off like a jet,” and is “always boss.”

The Ford was available for a test drive at Winter Garden Ford, 236 E. Plant St., where it intersected with Dillard Street, in Winter Garden.


Many varieties of local citrus ripened to maturity and were harvested during the nippy months of January and February. A bit of cold weather helped to sweeten the juice, although significant drops in temperature resulting in hard freezes could devastate a grove.

The Valencia tree shown in this circa-1940 photograph is mature and ready for harvesting. Some few months earlier it would have been covered with blossoms. Many can recall driving through the region when hundreds of thousands of citrus trees blanketed West Orange County, perfuming the air with intoxicating fragrance.

Due to West Orange County’s past position as one of the planet’s busiest centers for shipping citrus and vegetables, the Winter Garden heritage Foundation preserves a world-class collection of photographs and artifacts documenting the industry that sustained the area for more than a century.



Amy Quesinberry

Community Editor Amy Quesinberry was born at the old West Orange Memorial Hospital and raised in Winter Garden. Aside from earning her journalism degree from the University of Georgia, she hasn’t strayed too far from her hometown and her three-mile bubble. She grew up reading The Winter Garden Times and knew in the eighth grade she wanted to write for her community newspaper. She has been part of the writing and editing team since 1990.

Latest News