The Winter Garden Heritage Foundation held an invitation-only housewarming party on Friday night and a community open house on Sunday that gave people a chance to tour the new History Research and Education Center at 21 E. Plant St. Guests could look at displayed memorabilia that has been collected through the years and peek in cabinets full of artifacts and history pertaining to Winter Garden and West Orange County.
Food and drink were plentiful throughout the evening. A program was held under an adjacent tent that brought guest speakers to the podium. Winter Garden Mayor John Rees shared the beginning of the city’s history and called the new center “a great addition to historic downtown.”
U.S. Rep. Dan Webster talked about the national Rails to Trails program, which led to the creation of the West Orange Trail, and said, “I don’t think anyone could have envisioned a million visitors to the area.”
He also presented an American flag that had flown over the U.S. Capitol to WGHF Director Kay Cappleman.
“Nothing great happens without a great community, and this is, no doubt, a great community,” Webster said.
Cappleman thanked the many donors who made the center possible.
“The train has reached the station,” she said.
As well, students from East Ridge High School put on a short performance that shared a few theories as to how the city of Winter Garden was named.