This week in West Orange County history: June 13, 2024

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

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80 years ago

Chief of Police Johns requested all dog owners watch for dates to be published in the newspaper of animal inoculation of dogs in July, when a veterinarian will be in Winter Garden to do the work.

The Winter Garden War Price and Rationing Board’s quota for Grade 1 tires was greatly oversubscribed, but certificates were to be issued and mailed as soon as the quota was available.

Catches in Lake Apopka were unusually good during the week with about 375 pounds of bass ranging from 1.5 pounds to nearly 10 pounds.

R.D. Keene of Winter Garden was re-elected president of the Growers and Shippers League of Florida.

Mrs. R.P. Wright and Mrs. Herbert Davis were joint hostesses Friday night at a rib-roast supper at the home of Mrs. Davis in honor of Mrs. Malon Wright.

Ed Petris and daughter Kay, as well as Mrs. Robert Tilden and son Robert, spent a few days at Daytona Beach this week.

There was a truck crash in Ocoee when an Army vehicle stopped suddenly and an Orlando Motor Fuel truck running close behind, in an effort to turn out from the Army truck, crashed into a tree, wrecked the truck and spilled about 800 gallons of gasoline.

Ration book holders had to stretch each block of 30 red stamps over a four-week period instead of the customary two.

70 years ago

A.D. Mims, county commissioner, contacted the Marion Construction superintendent and had visited the equipment headquarters to learn all equipment was being set up to begin the resurfacing of Old Highway 50 from Orlando to the Lake County line.

About 200 students of Tildenville Elementary School were given a watermelon feast as a closing party for the year. Melons were given by Francis Boston, a member of the Federal Fruit Inspection Board.

Georgianna and Jimmy Hendrix were in the mental state of ecstasy over the beginning of their long hope for a home in Showalter Park.

Winter Garden men who were about to graduate from the University of Florida were Robert Freeman, Robert Hull, Granville Fulmer and Billy Mims.

The City Commission decided to widen two more blocks of West Plant Street from Highland to Park avenues.

Taking part in Lantaglex 54, the large-scale Amphibious task force landing exercise near Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, was Curtis B. Pickens, boatswain’s mate third class, United States Navy. The son of Mr. and Mrs. Dallas Pickens of Winter Garden was aboard the attack transport USS Rockbridge.

The first-grade children of the Tildenville Elementary School were given the annual picnic and train ride with their teachers, Mrs. H.L. Driescherf and Mrs. Bert Roper.

50 years ago

An overflow crowd of business and community leaders was expected when Gov. Reubin O. Askew was scheduled to appear as guest speaker at a West Orange Chamber of Commerce luncheon at the Winter Garden Inn. His visit coincided with the completion of West Orange Memorial Hospital’s new $2.5 million wing. On hand to greet the governor were Winter Garden Mayor C.H. Johnson, Ocoee Mayor Scott Vandergrift, Windermere Mayor Dean Kinzey, Oakland Mayor William Holden, Orlando Mayor Carl T. Langford and Apopka Mayor John Land.

Members of First Baptist Church honored Pastor K. Fay DeSha on the 25th anniversary of his ministry and eighth anniversary at the local church.

Ron Lopsonzski joined Bekemeyer Realty as an associate and was to be involved in all phases of real estate.

Winter Garden Police Chief Donald Ficke was confirmed by the City Commission to his $14,000-a-year position

The Ocoee City Commission voted to make Starke Lake available to the Mid-Florida Power Boat Association after hearing proceeds could benefit the city.

Several hundred West Orange Countians stopped by the Winter Garden Inn to express their appreciation to Tom Sewell for his many years of dedicated service to the city of Winter Garden and to wish him good luck in his new career assignment as assistant county administrator. Foy Maloy presented an electronic calculator as a gift from some of his friends, and Dottie Walker gave his wife, Betty, an inscribed silver tray.

Safety patrol awards at Ocoee Elementary School went to Cindy Schmidt, Chris Severance, Kenny Kennington, Darryl Hopper, Brenda Yawn, Tracey Wise, Ashley Glendon, Mike Ritten, Robin Bramlett, Sherrie Black, Debbie Burger and Leslie Dabbs.

30 years ago

Retirees graded papers for 162 years: Teachers Gay Annis, Rod Reeves, Ed Turpin, Sam Wagster and Anna Fulford closed the books, laid down the ruler, walked away from the desks and turned off the classroom lights for the last time after teaching generations of students in Winter Garden.

20 years ago

The West Orange Junior Service League announced its debutantes: Lauren Leslie Beck, Rose Marie Gaset, Megan McGee Glass, Elizabeth Mary Hanley, Taylor Jo McKenzie, Katrina Meeks, Erin Casey Osborne, Emily Ann Paladino, Julie Ann Pfaff, Kelly Elizabeth Wiedenbeck and Brittany Melinda Willis.


MAY 16, 1974

Graduation season is upon us! When it was time to buy gifts for graduates, most local residents knew they could find something special at Modern Stationery, on Plant Street in Winter Garden. The shop featured Hallmark cards and gifts of all price points.

If your graduate was a music lover, West Orange Music Center, in the West Orange Shopping Center, was the place to go. There was a gigantic selection of 8-track tapes at incredible prices and selections ranging from country and rock to soul, gospel and bluegrass.


JUNE 13, 1974

Jimmy Pitchford, owner of Jimmy’s Thriftway grocery store in downtown Winter Garden, ran a weekly advertisement in The Winter Garden Times. He shared a few of the week’s specials as well as his Food for Thought, which was a collection of kitchen tips and hints.

In 1974, Pitchford suggested the following: To rid your hands of the smell of onion, sprinkle them with salt and rinse with clear water. To tenderize meat without over-stewing, marinate in an acid-base liquid, such as tomato juice, wine or salad dressing. If you happen to buy a cracked egg, use it in a cooked dish only for safety.

The sales of the week that summer included fryers for 35 cents a pound, one pound of Shurfine coffee for 69 cents and a quart jar of Shurfine mayonnaise for 69 cents.


On June 12, 1997, Winter Garden Mayor Jack Quesinberry and Orange County Mayor Linda Chapin celebrated the extension of the West Orange Trail. The setting is Clarcona, a rural village whose name evolved from Clark’s Corner; William N. Clark was significant in organizing this community. The West Orange Trail, a project dear to the hearts of many city and county officers, helped spark the revival of Winter Garden’s downtown historic district when it opened in the fall of 1994.

The Maps Collection at the Winter Garden Heritage Foundation has gathered for preservation every version of the popular West Orange Trail map, available at the visitors center.



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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