By Robert A. Fisk, Official Historian
SCHOOL, ASHTON COURT TOURIST CAMP GROUND, LIGHTS AND BAPTIST CHURCH
When one thinks about St. Cloud being the old soldier city it is surprising when one discusses the need for schools for children as we can read in the August 27, 1925 issue of the St. Cloud Tribune:
"ADDITIONAL BUILDINGS NEEDED WITHIN NEXT YEAR TO MEET GROWTH.
"Three years ago this month the Tribune advocated the building of the present new high school to meet the needs of the St. School and the Grades, because at that time the crowded of the buildings in use was deplorable. Various organizations took up the work and finally the members of the St. Cloud Post of American Legion circulated the petition and secured sufficient signatures to call an election for voting $45,000 in bonds for the building that planned to meet the needs of that time believed to be sufficient for five years.
In due time the building was contracted for and completed in time to be used for graduating the 1924 class, and the 1925 class was the largest in the history of the school. This increase has continued in all grades to a point where this year it will tax the capacity of all this buildings in the city to care for the 1925-26 attendance. With such rapid increase a new building will be necessary for the opening of the schools next year.
In view of the fact that working on the details of a bond issue and awarding contracts takes a number of months time, and then the contractor requires several months to complete the buildings, it would be wise for the various civic organizations to get behind the local trustees at this time and assist in working out the plans to meet these needs next year.
Looking forward to this increase and demand for a new building or buildings, the old board of trustees some months ago purchased a lot on the west side of town to be used for future buildings. This will meet with the approval of a number of citizens who have asked for several years for building in the west side, but until now the growth has not been sufficient to warrant dividing the school in two buildings so far apart. The new High School being located but one block away from the old school building has the past two years enabled the principal to look after both schools but the rapid growth has made it necessary an practical to place a building on the west side.
Plans should be made in the new buildings to anticipate further growth, as the St. Cloud school is one of the highest rated in the state and each year continues to all to its course of studies of things that are required to graduate students prepared to enter any college or university in the country without further examination.
The values of the properties in the special tax school district has increased so much in the past two years, since the other bond issue for the present high school building that with the hundreds of thousands of dollars in new buildings added to the tax roles in the district, the additional bond issue that will be required for the new buildings will not add to the burden of the tax payer.
We suggest that when the new building bond issue is started that the consolidation of the Narcoossee, Finney Point and Bassville sub-school district be made with the St. Cloud district for the reason that the students in those districts are hauled to this city in trucks to get the advantage of the full high school courses as well as the much better grade schools…(unreadable). At present the expenses of those busses are paid as far as possible with the funds that were originally collected for the teachers salaries in the sub-district. A larger district surrounding the St. Cloud schools will distribute the tax on all those securing the benefit of the additional institutional and permit of sufficient bonds being sold to secure the needed buildings and equipment without increasing the tax to any material extent.
We look forward to this movement being started at once. We would like to have suggestions from those interested in our school system."
Well! Talk about growing pains! It would seem that the old school, on Eleventh Street between Indiana and Illinois Avenues was still being used. With St. Cloud's growth it increased the need for the younger people needed for employment to help handle the business needs of the growing city. Of course the editor was talking about building what is now the Jeffries Elementary school. The school busses were Model As and of course Finney Point was down by Kissimmee Park area and Bassville was located south-west of St. Cloud between Kissimmee Park and Canoe Creek road, according to Marjorie Bass Bright in her book, Basse/Bass and Brecht/Bright Family History, A Hodgepodge of People-Places-Events, published in 2009.
In 1925 St. Cloud was, like the rest of Florida, in the pangs of growth leading up to the explosion of the Florida Boom, as we can see in the ad in the Tribune of August 6, 1925 for Ashton Courts, just 2 miles east of St. Cloud on the "Highway" (East Tenth Street). The ad talks about, "This subdivision is laid off with streets at right angle off the Highway and are one way drives with parking in the center 36 and 1/2 wide . The lots are 62 and 1/2 feet wide by 125 feet giving ample room for fine dwellings."
This subdivision is where the Ashton Oaks and Ashton Place are today, but the Ashton Courts never got off the drawing board.
In that same issue (August 6, 1925) was more on streets: "WHITE WAY TO LAKE”
"...Mrs. Mann was also circulating to have the property owners agree to the installation of a white way system of lighting for the entire distance from Tenth Street to the Lakefront which will be the first, if it carries, to have such a system of lights to the lake and will also be the first street to be paved full width to the lake. It is planned to have the city provide a block of lighting on the Lakefront from Pennsylvania and the (Florida) Boulevard down the Boulevard and to New York Avenue, this making a loop of paved street to and from the lake. New York Avenue was the first to have a hard road all the way to the lake and it was necessary to confine this to the nine foot street at the time the work was done in order to get this through. Now with the rapid development work under way all through the city the property owners are taking a different view of improvements and want them to provide for future needs and to be permanent in their nature.”
Once again we can see the influence of the automobile on the American public as we read the August 13, 1925 St. Cloud Tribune: "CITY TOURIST CAMP READY FOR NEW SEASON 1925-26”
"Mr. Brynes, new manager of the St. Cloud Tourist Camp, announces that the grounds are in first-class shape to handle all the auto tourists that desire to camp along their tour of the state. The camp grounds are located between Twelfth and Thirteenth Streets on Oregon Avenue and is modern in every respect. City water and lights and sanitary equipment make the camp grounds a desirable place to stop. It seems that the city was encouraging the "tin can tourists" to stop a while and enjoy the advantages of our city, and I am certain that everyone realizes that was the location of the present St. Cloud Trailer Park.”
The Baptist Church, which has just celebrated it's centennial, made the news in that issue (August 13, 1935) of the Tribune: "WORKMEN ON BAPTIST CHURCH REACH FLOOR OF BALCONY IN CONSTRUCTION THIS WEEK”
"Workmen on the new addition to the Baptist church, Eleventh and Massachusetts Avenue, have this week reached the point in construction work that required the placing of timbers for the floor of the balcony which will make the second floor over the new class rooms that have been provided for. Heavy timbers for the balcony floor have been placed in position this week. The stone work has reached the height of the first floor, and will continue to full height of the original building which will require the removal of the stained glass windows from the old gable end facing east to the new walls of the addition which is on the curb-line of Massachusetts Avenue.
The additional Sunday school class rooms will be a bit lower than the floor of the original church, which was one big auditorium and will be divided off so that each class may pursue their studies without interference with the other classes. The balcony for the main auditorium will be immediately above this series of class rooms and will add many new pews to the seating capacity of the main auditorium thus giving the Baptist congregation additional room that has been so badly needed for the past two or three years.
The Baptist congregation, since Rev. R. Atchison has been pastor, has grown to such proportions that for their Sunday service they had to use, in addition to their church, the G. A. R. auditorium for their Sunday school and preaching service. This new addition will enable the congregation for a short time to be housed in their own edifice much to the satisfaction of the members of the church.
Rev. R. Atchison has been privileged to have established what is probably the largest Sunday school class in Osceola county, this being one of the features of the Sunday morning services for the church, which as stated, has been using the G. A. R. Hall."
It should be noted that at that time in the history of St. Cloud the term "stone" was used in type of construction it was in actuality ‘axed-face’ concrete block.
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