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The city of Winter Garden is a self-proclaimed “charming little city with a juicy past” and it certainly lives up to its motto. Revitalized by the arrival of the Orange Belt Railway in 1886, the city was made popular by settlers for its fertile soil, mild temperatures and year-round growing season, making citrus a juicy “cash crop” for the region. By the early 1940s, Winter Garden was the largest citrus shipping point in the world with eight packing houses within the city limits and a juice plant specifically designed to provide overseas World War II soldiers vitamins through canned orange juice.
The latter half of the century presented the town with trials, including the pollution of Lake Apopka, a decline in the use of railroads for travel and the distraction caused by the opening of Walt Disney World in 1971. To top it off, central Florida experienced three devastating freezes from 1983-1989, forcing farmers further south and crushing the citrus economy.
Residents and developers have poured into the reestablishment of the community, and it’s no surprise that the “juice” was worth the proverbial squeeze, as Winter Garden is thriving once again.
Today, Winter Garden is home to over 30,000 residents and some of the most sought-after real estate in the central Florida region. With a quaint downtown, multiple family-friendly parks and playgrounds, the city of Winter Garden continues to be the epitome of “small town living” while expanding to meet the demand of middle and high-income housing projects. Though the citrus industry may not carry the city anymore, it’s obvious that something is still growing. In fact, Winter Garden was recently ranked as one of the fastet growing suburbs by Forbes.com and is blooming with new business, culture, shopping and dining opportunities.
Local events, including movie nights, car shows, a farmers’ market and live music, are sprinkled through the year, in addition to classes and programs offered through the Winter Garden Parks and Recreation Department.
If you are interested in learning more about Winter Garden, the time is ripe! Cruise around on the City of Winter Garden website and contact us when you are ready to visit this “charming city with a juicy past” – it is sure to have a zesty future!