School History

  • When Florida became a state in 1845, population continued to flow rapidly into the area because of the fertile soil and good climate.  This growth continued for the next forty years. However, by the year 1890, it was evident that the growth in the old pioneer village was beginning to shift to the southwest where a new community named Alachua was beginning.

    The removal of the county courthouse from Newnansville to Gainesville and the coming of the Santa Fe & Western Railway to an area one and one half miles from Newnansville led to the demise of what had once been a thriving pioneer community.

    A railroad station was erected alongside the tracks and the postmaster gave the station the name, "Alachua". It is believed that the name came from an old Indian word meaning "Big jug without a bottom".  With many of the settlers moving from Newnansville into Alachua a decision was made to close both the Methodist Church and the school at the Newnansville community.

    A school house was built in Alachua in 1895 on South Main Street on the site where the present Alltel Telephone building is located.  That building met the needs of the community for only a short time.  In 1899 construction began on a new schoolhouse to be located on a four acre site on the hill where the Alachua Elementary School is now located. This three classroom building with an auditorium on the second floor was the first brick school building in Alachua county. It was dedicated on February 22, 1901 by state and county officials. Later a two story wing was added to accommodate more students when Newnansville school closed May 3, 1904. Alachua then became an eight-teacher school. In the years that followed schools from the communities of Haynsworth, Greenleaf, Hague, Gracy, Perseverance, Spring Hill, Santa Fe, Bland and LaCrosse were sequentially consolidated into the Alachua school.

    On June 10, 1916, a delegation asked the county school board to sell bonds amounting to $15,000.00 to repair the existing building and build a new high school. On July 28th of that year the board agreed to this plan and began a new two story brick building costing $12,600.00. The new building was completed a year later and served as a high school building for 38 years. The two story agriculture and home economics building was built in 1934.

    In 1955 the high schools of Alachua and High Springs were consolidated into Santa Fe High School and the site became the Alachua Elementary School. In the school year of 1969-1970, the three buildings were raised and a new facility built. This was the third school plant in a 70 year period to occupy the same location.