Winter garden has a rich history and many stories to tell, from the fertile lands around Lake Apopka providing food to the indians for hundreds of years, to when the European settlers arriving in the mid 1800’s. Winter Garden also had its own railroad called “The Orange Belt Railway” which played a key role in the development of this community. Local farmers built a train stop and named it “Winter Garden” because of the year round growing climate. Citrus became the largest export of the area. And in 1903 the city of Winter Garden was incorporated. In the 1940’s winter garden proclaimed itself the largest citrus exporting point in the world, with a total of eight citrus packing houses operating inside of Winter Garden. Many farm equipment renovations came from Winter Garden, including the first time a tractor used rubber tires.
Aside from Winter Garden's massive citrus industry, tourism grew prominent due to the abundant fishing in Lake Apopka. Lake Apopka was then known as the“large-mouth bass capital” attracting foreign dignitaries and even presidents. Between the 1960’s and the 1990’s it had become very quiet in Winter Garden because of several devastating freezes killing many citrus trees and a lot of fish dying in Lake Apopka due to pesticide runoff from citrus crops.
Winter Garden today is quite large and consists of two large areas. The well known downtown area thrives, mostly because of the outdoor culture from the West Orange Bike Trail, which runs straight through the center of this quaint small community. There is also the more modern day shopping, golf, and large housing developments of the quickly growing Horizon West area. And with some of the greatest local farmers markets and a family atmosphere, Winter Garden is one of the greatest places for your family.
With these two large areas and large parks like Disney’s Magic Kingdom, Universal, Sea World, etc. and Downtown Winter Garden always hosting events such as car shows, music festivals, the Bloom & Grow or the lighting of the massive Christmas tree, there is a reason Orlando is home to the happiest place on earth.