History of the Sand Pond School, Pasco County, Florida


The Sand Pond School

This page was last revised on Aug. 8, 2014.

Students in this area earlier attended the Lake Buddy School.

The photo above, provided by the Dew family, shows the earlier Sand Pond School in the early 1920s. The building was a clapboard building which was in use as early as 1911. It was located where The Gardens Nursery is now located (2009) on the west side of Fort King Road just south of the intersection with Bozeman Road. According to a local resident, the building was used 6 to 10 years. Eula Goldsby was one of the teachers. Philmon, Wendell, J. J. Delmer and Garnet LeHeup were some of the students.

On Jan. 15, 1915, The Dade City Banner reported, “Fillmon LaHeup [LeHeup] was a visitor at Sand Pond school one day last week.” On Feb. 12, 1915, the newspaper reported, “Miss Perrie Almond was a vistor at Sand Pond school one day last week.&Rdquo; On March 5, 1915, the newspaper reported, “Mrs. Howard McKillip visited Sand Pond school last Monday.”

On March 12, 1915, the Dade City Banner reported, “The Sand Pond school closed a seven months term last Friday.”

On Sept. 10, 1915, the Dade City Banner reported, “Sand Pond school opened September 6th, Miss Caldwell as teacher.”

A 1915-16 directory of schools shows Miss Faye Caldwell the teacher at Sand Pond, with 21 pupils enrolled.

On Oct. 10, 1917, the Tampa Morning Tribune reported, “The school at Sand Pond opened Monday morning with a good attendance, Miss Sylvia Ingalls being the teacher.”

On Oct. 3, 1918, the Zephyrhills Colonist reported: “Sand Pond school will commence Monday Oct. 7th with Miss Gladys Osborne as teacher.”

On Oct. 17, 1919, the Dade City Banner reported that the Sand Pond school was closed because of the illness of the teacher, Miss Nellie Weatherford. On Nov. 28, 1919, the newspaper reported that she went home to Plant City to spend Thanksgiving with her family.

On Sept. 10, 1920, the Dade City Banner reported:

The Sand Pond school opened Monday with fourteen pupils, and two more will join the ranks next Monday, when Earl and Clyde Weatherington return from Georgia. Miss Nell Weatherford was so well liked last year that she was prevailed on to teach here again this year, and judging by the number of pupils who came over to Foxhall, the first morning, to escort her over to the school house, her popularity has not diminished.

Minutes of July 5, 1921, show that the Greer school asked to unite with Sand Pond, and the school board approved the proposal. The board assigned Miss Edith Slack to be the teacher at Sand Pond.

At the school board meeting of Aug. 7, 1922, a transportation contract with John Fox was approved.

In April 1923 a special election was held to vote on the consolidatioon of the Ellerslie, Elba Heights, Pasadena, and Sand Pond school districts with the Dade City district. All voted to come in except the Sand Pond district.

On Sept. 3, 1926, the Dade City Banner reported in a column of Sand Pond news items, “Another school term has opened and most of the children are glad to get back in school. Wendell LeHeup is driving the school bus from the Sand Pond district to Dade City. There will be 25 children in school from this district.”

On July 3, 1930, transporter Fred Himmelwright was approved.

On July 28, 1933, the Dade City Banner reported, “Work has been started on the new school house at Sand Pond, north of the site of the former school building. The new building will be well-constructed and is expected to be large enough for the needs of the community for some time to come. It is located on the east side of the Fort King highway at foot of LeHeup hill. The community is planning a picnic to celebrate the completion of the school house, and wondering how many of the old ‘Sand Pond gang’ can be brought together for the event.” According to a local researcher, the new school was about one-quarter mile north of the former location.

On Oct. 13, 1933, the Dade City Banner reported:

Following a report that an effort had been made to burn the new school building at Sand Pond, Mr. Dowling began a thorough check on the activities of strangers in this section. With the sale of several lead pencils as a possible clue, he proceeded to get on the trail of a man and his two sons who were tramping their way through the county. An arrest was made Tuesday morning in the Slaughter community where the trio had stopped to camp, and a search brought to light crayons, crayolas and similar evidence. One of the boys gave their family name as Willis and said that they were from Thomasville, Georgia. They admitted having spent a night at the Sand Pond school house, but denied having attempted to set it on fire. Inconsistencies in their story, however, together with evidence of desecration of the building was sufficient to justify the sheriff in holding them for trial.

On Sept. 4, 1936, the Dade City Banner reported that Mrs. Lottie Cripe was appointed to teach at the Sand Pond School.

School board minutes of April 5, 1937, show that trustees elected for District No. 8, Sand Pond, were J. N. Ticknor, L. W. LeHeup, and F. T. Himmelwright.

School board minutes of July 7, 1937, showed that the teacher appointed for Sand Pond, Dist. 8, was Lottie Cripe. She was reappointed on May 18, 1938.

On Sept. 5, 1941, the Dade City Banner reported, “The schools formerly maintained at Sand Pond and Prospect have been discontinued and this year the pupils will be transported to the Dade City schools, or to Zephyrhills.”

When Sand Pond School closed, the property reverted to the original grantor to the School Board, in accordance with the conditions of that original grant. Med (Schuyler Meadows) Gaskin and his wife Mae Stanley Gaskin purchased the land and school building about 1942 and used it as a home. They also bought the building (only) that was the Prospect School, razed it, and used the material to enlarge their home.

The old building is located on the Gaskin property at the bottom of the south side of LeHeup Hill and on the east side of Fort King Road. See this picture.

Pioneers Recall Sand Pond Old Time One-Room School

This article appeared in the Zephyrhills News on March 13, 1969.


During the 1969 Founders’ Days Festival thoughts of many pioneer area residents backtracked down memory lane to the one-room schoolhouse which was for many years a landmark on historic Fort King Road.

Sand Pond School was an institution of learning for children in grades one through eight. The frame building which housed it served as a community center and a place for neighborhood gatherings.

Opened in 1912 as a public school in the 1-room structure on land donated by John Fox for the purpose, Sand Pond had as its first teacher Miss Fannie Mobley of Dade City. Earlier there had been a school on Gilbert Lake where Miss Eula Goldsby, also of Dade City, taught and some of her pupils came to the new school.

Sand Pond School continued in operation as such until 1922 when the transporting of children to other Dade City or Zephyrhills schools began, but the cherished little schoolhouse continued to be the place of meeting for church services, social gatherings, Christmas programs and the like.

Each Sunday a visiting minister came and there was a Sunday School and preaching with dinner on the grounds while on every other Saturday night the community Literary Society met for recitation of poems by young and old, debates and related activities. More than might be understood and appreciated by today’s youth, the little white schoolhouse functioned as a bond that brought the people together.

Among ministers serving in the early years were the Rev. J. V. Felthouse of Church of the Brethren, the Rev. W. D. Brunk of the Methodist Church, the Rev. B. G. Smith of Dade City’s First Baptist Church and Dr. E. L. Wesson, beloved longtime pastor of First Baptist Church of Zephyrhills, who resided on grove property within a stone’s throw of the school.

After Miss Mobley’s tenure in 1912-1913 the Misses Mildred Hudson, Faye Caldwell, Agnes White, Gladys Osborne, Sylvia Ingalls (2 terms), Nell Weatherford (2 terms) and Edith Slack taught successively at Sand Pond.

Some area residents who attended Sand Pond School are Mrs. Grace (Cripe) Dew, a teacher at Dade City Grammar School; her husband, William “Bill” Dew, on the staff at University of South Florida; D. Carl “Doc” Cripe, retired principal from the Dade City school system who bought the one room schoolhouse for sentimental reasons and incorporated it in his home on Fort King Road; David Cripe, who recently retired after being a Capital Air Lines engineer and later United Air Lines when the two companies merged and moved back from Alexandria, Va., to reside on LeHeup Hill; William Alcroft LeHeup, who works in the Dade City Post Office; John Stephenson, longtime valued employee of the Zephyrhills sanitation department; Mrs. Alice (Fox) Ketchum who recently retired and came “back home” after living in Tallahassee many years and whose father gave the land on which Sand Pond School was built; Pearl (McKillips) Bromley, wife of Zephyrhills’ jeweler Fred Bromley; Clinton Knapp, who is engaged in citrus grove operations on Phelps Road; and Harry McKillips, linotype operator for The Zephyrhills News.

Sand Pond School in 1916-17. Names of students can be seen here.

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