This Week in West Orange County History: March 10, 2022 | West Orange Times & Observer


85 years ago

Arrangements were made with John R. Van Arnam’s Radio Barn Dance to bring Uncle Ezra Jones and his Radio Gang to Winter Garden under the sponsorship of the Junior Drum and Bugle Corps.

55 years ago

Winter Garden Mayor Wilson Griffith proclaimed March 12-18 Girl Scout Week during an Awards Court and Reflection Day program presented by members of the Cadette 379 Girl Scout Troop: Kelly Vick, Kathy Ellis, Karen Daniels, Ann Duppenthaler, Jennifer Burch, April Hull, Donna Eyring, Sarah Arnold, Pat Ashley and Jill Pitchford.

50 years ago

Lakeview High School has seen a protest by black students following the suspension from school of a basketball player involved in a fight the previous weekend. Principal Dunn asked the group to return to class. From then on, throughout the week, there were tensions, student confrontations with officials, parent conferences, grievances, suspensions, and general unrest.

The Winter Garden Inn had planned to have its first 30 new rooms ready by March 15, when multiple reservations had been made.

40 years ago

The nine winners of the annual sixth-grade essay contest, sponsored by the Woman’s Club of Ocoee, were honored at a luncheon attended by 52 members and guests at the Lakewood Avenue clubhouse. Veronica Palen, Cindy Gibson, Melisa Chancellor, Michael Fairman, and Tonya Hudson of Spring Lake Elementary wrote the best essays on “What to Do About Drunk Drivers”; and Lisa Swinson, Jennifer Skipper, Tammy Mayberry and Michelle Rodgers from Ocoee Elementary.

30 years ago

Marjorie Masson from Windermere was due to show her watercolors of wildflowers and native plants at Local Color IV, the art exhibition sponsored by the West Orange Arts and Historical Association. Dawn Marciano, president of the Central Florida Art Association, planned to exhibit her Colorado paintings.

20 years ago

Frances Watts of Ocoee, longtime resident and activist, celebrated her 80th birthday at a surprise party given in her honor by her children at the Ocoee Community Center. She was a former school crossing guard, president of the West Orange Senior Citizens Club, and member of the Ocoee Computer Club. Mayor Scott Vandergrift proclaimed March 7 Frances Watts Day in the city.

Bay Hill residents Ty Tryon, 17, and Charles Howell III, 22, were among the youngest professional players in the 2002 Bay Hill Invitational. Tryon was a student at Dr. Phillips High School.


March 16, 1972

In the spring of 1972, neighborhood children anticipated the arrival of a three-ring circus in Winter Garden. The Winter Garden Times ran an advertisement announcing that the circus would be set up at Walker Field, and a photo of a performing elephant and a group of clowns ran at the top of the front page of the March 16 issue.

The event was sponsored by the Lions Club and tickets were on sale at Winter Garden Hardware, Modern Stationery, Webb Pharmacy and Goodyear.


The Winter Garden Heritage Foundation honors the West Orange Memorial Hospital Ladies Auxiliary for Women’s History Month. The hospital, built after the creation of an area-wide special tax district, rose in 1952 in the triangle of land formed by Dillard Street, Division Street and Surprise Drive, the former site of a military camp.

Mrs. Smythe and Mrs. Wurst are shown in the gift shop run by the hospital. The auxiliary performed many tasks focused on the comfort of patients, visitors and staff.

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