10 x February 16 - March 1, 2017 x www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com Heller Hall, located in historic downtown Winter Garden, is a picture-perfect setting for parties, showers, corporate meetings, receptions, and intimate weddings. Call us at 407-656-3244 to book your next event! CONTINUED FROM PAGE 9 in 2010, after it restored the theater to its original Spanish style. The Dr. P. Phillips Foundation and the Winter Garden Community Redevelopment Agency donated funds for the effort. The foundation also upgraded the facility, bringing it up to modern building codes and hospitality standards. The theater reopened in February 2008 and provides a venue for plays, concerts and movies. The theater features the original building’s brick walls, tile courtyard and dark-blue ceiling with light shining through small holes, giving the illusion of a star-filled sky. The 200-car Star-Lite Drive In opened in 1947 on East Plant Street. It featured an art deco style, but it closed in 1996 and was leveled in 1998. Tourism Begins The city of Winter Garden promoted Lake Apopka as a tourist stop during the 1930s. In 1936, the city built a 12- acre tourist camp called Trailer City in the northernmost spot in the Winter Garden Shores subdivision, also funded by WPA. Trailer City was popular with vacationers. It included boat basins, an auditorium, and a swimming pool and bathhouse. Bass fishing on Lake Apopka also attracted people to the area. An early brochure called Winter Garden the “finest breeding place in the world for bass and pickerel.” Many folks, including Humphrey Bogart, Errol Flynn and Clark Gable, are said to have stayed at The Edgewater Hotel. An early hotel brochure said that it was common for fishermen to catch the daily limit within a few hours. During the late 1930s, the hotel added fishcleaning stations with a refrigerator and sink on each of the three floors and marketed itself as a full-service fishing lodge in Field & Stream magazine. The hotel also maintained a houseboat and took guests out on the lake. As agriculture began polluting Lake Apopka, the hotel’s fortunes changed, as did its success. The number of bass declined, and fisherman stopped coming. The U.S. Army Thank you to all of our patients for voting! Walk Ins Welcome Open 6 Days a Week Until 9pm on Weekdays Voted #1 Physician 3 Years in a Row *Now Accepting New Patients (407) 876-CARE (2273) | WindermereMedicalCenter.com Accepted Plans: Aetna | BCBS (all plans) | Cigna/Disney | Florida Hospital (FHHS) | Healthchoice | Medicare | United Healthcare and many more Niral Patel, M.D.
courtesy of the Winter Garden Heritage Foundation In the 1930s, bass fishing on Lake Apopka attracts people to Winter Garden. housed soldiers at the hotel during World War II, and workers completing site work for Walt Disney World stayed there in the 1960s. Gordon Dickerson became manager in 1948. He recently visited the hotel and recalled some of his fondest memories, including www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com x February 16 - March 1, 2017 x 11 the six weeks that the “It was a love of history and the Washington Senators town to honor its history,” Lanza stayed at the hotel during said. spring training. The Historic Edgewater The Edgewater Hotel Hotel’s first floor opened in 2000, closed in 1968 and fell and after a thorough renovation, the into disrepair. Walls collapsed. building began operating again as Windows were a bed-and-breakfast-style lodging in boarded up, but still pigeons 2003. The manually operated Otis nested in the build- elevator remains in working order. It ing and left decades was one of the first elevators in the worth of droppings. community. The person operating the The current owners purchased lift must consider weight loads in or- the property der to slide the elevator to a proper in 1995 and set about stop at the appropriate floor, a job fixing it up. Co-owner that takes some practice, so hotel employees, Mike Lanza and his not guests, run the elevator. team removed 72 tons of Guests can enjoy a 1920s experience debris and then replaced with today’s comforts, such as walls with lath board air conditioning and internet access. and plaster, rather than People from more than 80 countries sheetrock, to maintain have stayed at the hotel, and it has historical integrity. The received many honors. woodwork was restored Just as The Edgewater offers the as closely as possible to latest amenities in a historic building, the original. The hotel was decorated Winter Garden’s downtown envelops with antique-style furniture to give visitors in the feel and memories guests a feel of what life may have of an earlier time, when pioneers been like early in the last century. were settling Central Florida. ª 2/28/17 2/28/17 2/28/17 2/28/17