Living in Winter Garden gives us lots of chances to enjoy the town, and today was another – walking into town in beautiful weather to watch the annual Christmas Parade (and then have delicious coffee and dessert at Way Chocolate!)
Like last year, I took lots of photos – and here they are …
There’s a business in downtown Winter Garden called Birket Engineering; they promote that they’ve done work for Disney, and other things … they are located in a building that long ago was a vehicle / tractor garage, and they do have a photo on display from those times. I took a photo now where it’s clearly the same building:
The display window front right has a model rail track, along with photos of their business; children (and adults!) can “play” with the trains by triggering them to start running – so long as the setup is working (for an engineering company, they’re not so great at keeping it running!):
Also neat, in the windows above and near the entrance are two “old world style” etched panels for Birket Engineering, and Frank Mifkovic:
A document on their website describes Frank: “1988. Frank begins work as the fifth employee at a newly formed company with the task of creating an electrical assembly and installation facility from the ground up. In a shop with no employees, no equip- ment, and 5,000 sq.ft. of empty space, the ride control installation of Epcot’s Norway Pavilion would begin
in six months. Frank was immediately cast to wear all the production hats of hiring, procurement, assembly, quality control, installation supervision, and field test & adjust. Norway opened as scheduled, as have the follow- ing 100+ Birket projects with Frank’s production leadership.
Prior to Birket Engineering, Frank worked for eleven years with then Walt Disney Production’s MAPO in California.”
Once again Margaret and I enjoyed Halloween downtown, with so many people dressed up in costumes – and we did too! We chose a Downton Abbey theme, with Margaret getting lots of compliments 🙂
Pictures from sunset time (about 7pm); this time of year the “rainy season” in Florida is coming to an end, with less humid days and (slightly) cooler evenings. That means less clouds, so sunset was pretty quick with the sun simply disappearing and not giving much color to the sky. A few nice pictures anyway …
From this site via WFTV:
1. Settlers began arriving in the Winter Garden area in the 1850s. Attracted by the fertile muck land that bordered Lake Apopka, settlers engaged in citrus and vegetable farming, living in small settlements situated along the lake’s south shore.
2. By the end of the 19th century, Winter Garden’s business district had grown up alongside the two railroad lines that ran through the city.
3. Winter Garden was established in 1903 and incorporated as a city in 1908.
4. By 1920, there were more than 1,000 residents, and the city had quickly become the center of commerce and agriculture in West Orange County.
5. The Edgewater Hotel opened in 1927 as Lake Apopka’s emergence as “the large-mouth bass capital” attracted tourists.
6. Early residents either owned or worked in the groves, and as the citrus industry grew, the commercial district continued to expand.
7. By the turn of the century, a small commercial district had emerged along Plant Street and residential neighborhoods began to appear.
8. The historic fabric of Winter Garden remains largely intact. The historic buildings in Winter Garden date between 1915 and 1940.
Time for another car show, downtown Winter Garden … new this time I’m using my brand new iPhone 11 Pro Max; it gave me some great photos, though the new “ultra-wide” (0.5x”) lens is going to take a bit of getting used to – it’s great sometimes to take a really wide view from close to the action, but sometimes the result looks strange even though the phone is doing impressive work to eliminate distortion. Take a look at the station wagon, for where the wide view doesn’t quite work:
Close-up of the VW Beetle paintwork
An interesting article, curiously published in Mount Dora Buzz!
It’s unlike any other city in Florida. Downtown Winter Garden has the authentic vibe of small-town America, yet has integrated trendy dining and shopping options with family-friendly local attractions like the West Orange Trail and its impressive farmers market.
Winter Garden’s seemingly meteoric rise from blight to bustle has been anything but. Its masterful transformation was two decades in the making and required a gutsy vision and dogged commitment that other cities would find difficult to broach, let alone maintain. While other city governments floundered to find direction, Winter Garden officials stepped up with progressive planning, and its elected officials consistently supported the vision resulting in the vibrant Winter Garden of today.
- In 1992, Winter Garden established a Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) to gain the tools needed to foster and support the redevelopment of the Downtown Historic District. The goal of the CRA is to promote sustainable economic growth and improve the commercial viability and residential livability of neighborhoods within the area through projects like streetscaping, parks, parking, infrastructure improvements, street trees and landscaping.
- 1997-1998 – The West Orange Trail was built through downtown Winter Garden which connected it to other communities and made it a popular destination.
Downtown Winter Garden has been preserved, in large part, due to its high architectural design standards and attention to details. In some cities, high standards result in project delays and frustrated developers. Not so in Winter Garden. Rather than simply deny a good project or place the burden solely on the developer, the City has provided designers to collaborate with developers in order to meet Winter Garden’s lofty requirements while preventing unnecessary delays. The result is a win-win for the City and the developer.
- The West Orange Trail runs through the center of downtown WinterGarden and has made it a cycling destination that draws an estimated 100,000 visitors a month.
- The award-winning Farmers Market draws 6,000 people every Saturday and serves as a business incubator. It has become a top reason why people decide to move to the City.
- The Garden Theater opened in 2008. The 9818 square feet venue has 299 seats, is programmed 365 days a year and draws 60,000 visitors a year.
Head to Mount Dora Buzz for the full article.