This week in West Orange County history: May 9, 2024

LOCAL HISTORY: These are the people and events that were making headlines in West Orange County's past.

  • West Orange Times & Observer
  • News
  • Share


80 years ago

Mr. and Mrs. J.F. Hall, of Ocoee, received word their son, Sgt. J. Cazzie Hall, arrived at a Pacific war zone base.

Pvt. Wilson Griffith, son of Mr. and Mrs. Joe Griffith, stationed at Camp Hale, Colorado, was home on a few days’ furlough, his first trip home since entering the service in the fall.

Cpl. James C. Sadler was stationed somewhere in England, according to a report from his mother, Mrs. Calvin Sadler, of Oakland.

Mary Claire Eby, daughter of Clarence Eby, made the honor roll for the winter term at Florida Southern College.

Consumer purchases of rationed stoves had to be made with a certificate obtained at local War Price and Rationing offices.

All meats except beef steaks and beef roasts were made ration free at midnight May 3, and red point values were not to be restored to them again “unless absolutely necessary.”

70 years ago

In Tuesday’s primary election, only 722 out of the registered 1,767 Winter Garden voters cast their ballots for the Democratic candidates for governor.

Max E. Wettstein, president of Florida Telephone Corporation, announced a major expansion program was underway in the Winter Garden district of the company.

Lou Warden afforded Rotarians a talk on The Rotarian, the official club magazine, at the regular weekly meeting at the American Legion building.

55 years ago

Eddie Best and Roger Cobia were the students whose “pick up and clean up” posters were judged best at Dillard Street School, according to Principal Preston Kizer Jr.

The West Orange Jaycees received a certificate of appreciation from the Winter Garden Chamber of Commerce for their help in refurbishing the old ACL depot for chamber use. Chamber President Joe Valdes presented the award to Tom Goddard, Jaycees president.

50 years ago

The Sleepy Harbor Townhouses on Lake Prima Vista in Ocoee were nearing completion. The luxury condominiums were a first for West Orange.

40 years ago

Brent Casteel, of Ocoee, a former baseball standout at West Orange High School and Santa Fe Junior College, signed a professional contract with the Chicago Cubs and left Tuesday to spend six weeks in Arizona in Class A baseball.

20 years ago

The city of Ocoee took one more step closer to picking a new city manager at a public workshop, when the list was narrowed down to four finalists, all of whom were from Florida. Robert D. Frank, of Orlando, was among them.


MAY 9, 1974

The Focal Point was located in the Tri-City Shopping Center in Winter Garden, at the intersection of Dillard Street and Highway 50. With Mother’s Day just around the corner, the camera store advertised in The Winter Garden Times special items of interest that were sure to help preserve those heartfelt memories of the day.

The Kodak Pocket Instamatic 60 package included a pocket-sized film camera, a roll of film, a box of Magicubes flash bulbs and a handy carrying case to store it all. The Kodak Carousel projector allowed photographers to show off their pictures to family and friends in a large format on a blank wall or screen. The Kodak Ektasound movie projectors gave families the chance to capture their mama’s movements and voice for even more preservation.


Ocoee’s pink-hued Colony Plaza hotel was constructed in 1968 originally as a Ramada Inn — for less than $2 million. It was located on the southwest corner of Maguire Road and West Colonial Drive in Ocoee and featured 150 rooms, with food facilities that accommodated 450 people. At the time, according to General Manager Jim McWhorter in a 1968 newspaper article, there were plans to expand the Ramada to feature 500 rooms.

“The new inn will be seven stories high with a penthouse that will have a view of the theme park at Walt Disney World,” he said.

The Ramada was the site of a press conference for reporters worldwide to attend a preview of Disney World. Buses brought media representatives to the theme park construction site.

The hotel was demolished May 9, 2009 — already 15 years ago.



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