I completed the tour of the Student Museum in Sanford and was thrilled to see that the city was able to find the funds to renovate such a wonderful tool for learning! This building's architecture is beautifully mastered in it's Romanesque Revival style brick exterior and three story main school house which houses the orginal bell and tower.
The main schoolhouse was built by Architect W.G. Talley of Jacksonville in 1902. It housed the four lower floor classrooms, storage closets and office space. The second floor was under construction when we went, but had been the Principal's office, four classrooms and an autorium for the students. The belltower is the third floor of the stucture and is still in its orginal state. Orginally, the school's restrooms were outhouses but they put in bathrooms in 1916. The additions of the east and west wings were constructed in 1916 as well and gave the school eight more classrooms and a restroom in the east wing for girls and west wing for boys for the growing student population. In the beginning, girls and boys were not allowed to play together during recess hours, so the principals window faced out into the playyard (now the George W. Touhy Park) as to oversee that the rules were followed.
In the rear of the school building is the Master Gardener Teaching Gardens established in 1997 which is sponsored by The University of Florida, IFAS Extension. The gardens were being re-planted today with volunteers of The Student Museum. The gardens are full with examples of various types of plants and descriptions of their growth and environment. A small gazebo was constructed within the garden and a small bridge and bench for visitors to sit and relax. Some of the areas that were shown were Pioneer vegetables and field crops, flower gardens with sunflowers, marigolds and powderpuffs, an Asian garden, a water wise garden and a herb garden with thyme, basil and parsley plants. This garden was constructed to educate the community and to encourage the practice of urban horticulture. With its grape arbor and statues, the garden is a small sanctury for relaxation as well as learning about certain plants that grow well in Florida.
Behind the eastern wing of the school down a covered walkway, is the orginal site of the Sanford Grammar School cafeteria built in 1921 by the members of the Welfare Department of the Women's Club of Sanford to introduce hot lunches at school. The wooden structure was funded by bake sales and contributions from local residents and served hot lunches to students from October 10, 1921 until the school officially closed on June 1, 1984. The building was demolished on September 23, 2008 but a plaque was put in it's place to serve as memory to the "hot rolls" served there.