West Orange County history for the week of July 11, 2024

This area was home to many interesting characters and stories. Here are a few from the past.

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80 years ago

Staff Sgt. Charles McMillan of Eglin Field spent his furlough with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. M.Y. McMillan.

Selective Service Local Board 3 of Winter Garden called these men to report for pre-induction physical examinations at Camp Blanding: Charles Williams, Lester Lamar Starling, Charles Helms, Hollis Layfett Guthrie, Bert Edward Roper, William Clifford Davis, Jasper Bithel Hill, William Ernest Dill, Floyd Lamar Gaines, James John Allen, Irven Viane, Eldridge Harris and Eurshel Grier.

55 years ago

The Cubs won first place in the Winter Garden Little League of West Orange. Players were Frank Morris, Leonard Dyal, Lester Tinsley, Vaughn Tillman, Tony Marten, Hugh Connell, Allen Sanderson, Kevin Tinsley, James Morris, Freddie Peters, Jerry Kennedy, Scott Topping, Steve Branom, Johnnie Dyal and Steve McGahee.

50 years ago

Groundbreaking ceremonies for the new high school to serve West Orange County took place with students John Cappleman of Lakeview High School and Dawn Broadaway of Ocoee High School turning the first spadesful of earth. They represented the first graduating class of the new school that was still unnamed at the time.

40 years ago

The Charles W. Irrgang family, which owned Deer Island in Killarney since 1934, entered into an agreement to sell the property to Wade Bradford of Winter Garden for future residential development.

Randy Freeman of Ocoee was named head debate coach for the University of Florida.

30 years ago

An Ocoee couple turned in a winning Florida Lotto ticket worth $31.9 million. Don and Sherry Cooper were informed they would collect an impressive sum of $1,595,000 annually for the next 20 years. They purchased their winning ticket at the Reddi Market on the corner of Silver Star Road and Bluford Avenue.

20 years ago

The West Orange Chamber of Commerce sponsored a Fill the Box Project to benefit needy children in elementary schools in West Orange County. The project was cosponsored by S.T.A.R.S. (Supplies To Assist ouR Students) of West Orange, which had more than 1,000 pencil boxes to be filled.

Children at the West Orange Christian Service Center in Ocoee learned about tigers and got to view two adult tigers as part of the center’s summer day camp activities.

West Orange Habitat for Humanity held a dual home dedication seven months after a double groundbreaking was held on Jean Street, near Winter Garden, for the Crystal Jackson Powell family and Rosa Lee Noble family. The homes were sponsored by the Rotary Club of Windermere and St. Luke’s United Methodist Church.


JULY 9, 1954

If you were planning to travel in the summer of 1954, you possibly visited Tom Cox Inc. Men and Boy’s Wear for some vacation clothing and a set of Samsonite Luggage. The Winter Garden store made available a variety of colors: Bermuda Green, Colorado Brown, Admiral Blue, Saddle Tan, Alligator Finish and Rawhide Finish.

For the ladies, a train case with a mirrored top and removable tray had the capacity to hold 52 travel needs for just $17.50. A wardrobe case with divider and “exquisite lining,” “pearl-smooth hangers” and “pockets galore” was priced at $25.

For the men, the journeyer line had two dividers for easy packing with hangers to hold three suits and rayon Gabardine lining for $27.50. The smaller quick-tripper case was $19.50 for those weekend getaways.


Directly across Tremaine Street from the Central Florida Railroad Museum is a mixed-use development, the third structure to stand on this corner. This is the power station that rose on the site in the late 1920s. Built to replace the outdated 1912 complex, the new structure was a state-of-the-art utility plant designed to supply power and water to the city of Winter Garden.

The reverse of the photo features a letter written 95 years ago from the Florida Public Service Company. It commends former Winter Garden power plant superintendent L.W. King on the achievement of his new position with the Worthington Pump and Machinery Corporation of Atlanta.

An incredible series of photographs documenting the arrival and installation of the 1920s power plant (torn down in the 1950s) was donated to the Winter Garden Heritage Foundation by a friend who found a scrapbook filled with them “in a junk store.”  We are intrigued by what’s still out there!



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.

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