This week in West Orange County history: April 25, 2024

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

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80 years ago

The Ocoee Cardinals walked right through the Lakeview Red Devils Tuesday afternoon with a score of 9-5.

The Winter Garden Welfare League held a series of benefit bridge parties to make money for the nursery school the organization sponsored.

Truck owners were reminded to call the ration board office for their new allotments of gasoline. The new coupons were not going to be mailed.

70 years ago

At the regular meeting of the City Commission, Ted Wiedenbeck was authorized to open the swimming pool just as soon as it could be put into operation.

Ella Mae Roberson and her fifth grade of the Dillard Street School visited the Winter Garden Post Office and learned many interesting things.

Bill Tilden appeared before the City Commission explaining he intended to subdivide the 10-acre tract north of the Dillard Street School, a part of the approximately 30 acres remaining in farmland, dividing Winter Garden proper and Winter Garden Shores.

Tom Cox Men’s Wear announced the sale of 70 pairs of work shoes for $4.95.

Oscar Bryan Ford Inc. featured a 1940 Chevrolet coupe, with good transmission, for $29.50.

Orange County commissioners indicated their willingness to have a public park and boat landing opened on the south end of Lake Apopka, at Oakland.

Two big-eyed and frightened little boys were Tommy Gleason and Robin Smith when the deputy sheriff brought Lawrence Smith a notice for jury duty. They just knew he had come to put someone in jail.

50 years ago

FOR SALE: Bargain in lakefront property. Half-acre lot near Starke Lake, less than half an hour to Orlando or Disney World, $14,500. East Lakeshore Drive, Ocoee.

W.B. Burch sold his home at Burchwood located on Johns Lake for about $200,000. Included in the sale was about seven acres, of which 550 feet was frontage on the lake. The entire Burchwood property involved about 50 acres. Burch purchased the home, which was once owned by Grace Mather-Smith’s daughter, in 1951. It was built by E.E. Marshall in 1940.

40 years ago

George Kennedy, of “Airport” and “Cool Hand Luke” fame, stopped by Humana Lucerne Hospital for a chat with Mark Parker. Parker was the young correctional officer from Winter Garden who was shot in the spine in January during a shooting spree at the Orange County Courthouse.

Candidate Vera Carter hosted a campaign celebration with more than 200 neighbors, friends and well-wishers for the kickoff of her re-election to the District 1 seat of the Orange County Commission.


APRIL 25, 1974

Winter Garden artist Rod Reeves has been drawing for decades. In the 1970s, he regularly submitted to The Winter Garden Times his sketches of local folks and local interactions. In 1974, one of his sketches featured Hollywood star Cliff Robertson, who was spotted around West Orange County at places such as Eckerd Drugs, Food World and Western Union.

The actor was staying in Windermere while his wife, Dina Merrill, was filming on location in Winter Park for Orlando screenplay author R. John Hugh’s major motion picture, “The Meal.” Merrill portrayed the daughter of an empire builder who turned out to be an even bigger empire builder after her father died. Her character invested heavily in Central Florida businesses.


This photograph was composed April 18, 1948, and shows an unidentified fisherman showing off the specimen fish he caught in Lake Apopka. For almost half a century, the lake was known as the “large-mouth bass capital of the world.” People came here from all over the world to catch these trophy fish; the Edgewater Hotel opened in 1927 to accommodate these anglers. Trailer City, along with other recreational amenities, still in use today were in place along the lakefront by the late 1930s.

To research the history of the lake and West Orange County, call (407) 656-3244 to set up an appointment.



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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