This week in West Orange County history: May 23, 2024

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

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80 years ago

“Act Your Age” was the play being staged by the senior class at Lakeview High School, with leading parts going to Rebecca Kennedy as Cora, Lillian Ussery as Helga, Lessie Cooper as the Messenger Girl and Donald Cloughley as Commander Stone.

Advertisement: “Why not let us service your car? We specialize in greasing, washing and polishing. Gulf Oil Station at Pounds Motor Company. L.A. Young, manager. Call 62.”

The annual Lakeview High junior-senior party will be held in the city auditorium on the lakefront. A beautiful contrast will be the group doing “The Virginia Reel” and “The Grand March.”

70 years ago

Climaxing activities of the year for the Lakeview High chapter of Future Farmers of America was the banquet given at the school cafeteria with approximately 225 guests in attendance.

The auxiliary of the Church of the Messiah, Episcopal, gave an old-fashioned box supper Friday at the VFW hall, with proceeds going to the building fund.

A Silver Tea for the benefit of the Winter Garden Masonic Lodge was held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Tell Minor.

The Lakeview High senior class presented a play, “Books and Crooks,” directed by Vernon Parrish, English teacher.

Tom Cox men’s clothing store announced the sale of 70 pairs of work shoes for $4.95.

45 years ago

Mike Armbruster was named Most Valuable Player in soccer in his senior year. His coach was Mr. Mroczkowski.

40 years ago

The Adopted Grandparents Program at Dillard Street Elementary School, coordinated by Anna Fulford, received a $1,000 award for Service to Senior Citizens at the Disney Awards Luncheon.

A recent “Books and Brown Bag Lunch” had a twist to it when Windermere Library Board chair Cheryl Paben held the meeting in the Windermere Town Hall kitchen as a cooking class called “Quick Recipes for Busy People.”

20 years ago

For the first time in a generation, a new commercial building was being developed along recently revitalized Plant Street in downtown Winter Garden. The proposed 11,000-square-foot building was planned at 252 W. Plant St., directly across from the Winter Garden Municipal Complex. The two-story building was proposed to include prime retail and commercial space on the street level and an equal level of Class A office space on the upper floor. Based on Orange County Property Appraiser records, the last commercial building constructed downtown was the Khouzam Building, at 54 E. Plant St., in 1983.


MAY 7, 1954

Train cases were once all the rage for female travelers. Just in time for Mother’s Day, Tom Cox Inc. Men’s and Boys’ Wear advertised in Winter Garden Times a Samsonite beauty for $17.50. It included a mirrored traveling dressing table, removable plastic tray and special pockets, and it was sold in a variety of “glamorous costume colors.”


Lela Ester Stephenson (Mrs. Henry) Bekemeyer (1901-1993) is portrayed in a beautiful setting from 1920. Facing a post-World War I future with confidence, she was the embodiment of the new young women determined to succeed in a rapidly changing society. However, a new war was to come; in January 1946 Lela was honored by the American National Red Cross “in recognition of meritorious personal service performed in behalf of the nation, her armed forces and suffering humanity in the Second World War.”



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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