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Polk County, Florida

Polk County FLGenWeb: Miscellaneous


Summerlin Institute

Source: "Bi-ennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction of the State of Florida for the Two Years Ending June 30, 1896," William N. Sheats, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tallahassee, Fla.; W. N. Shine, State Printer, 1897


The Summerlin Institute is named for its founder, Mr. Jacob Summerlin, formerly a resident of Polk county.

In the year 1866 Mr. Summerlin set aside forty acres of land, all of which is now within the incorporate limits of the city of Bartow, the proceeds of which should be applied to the erection and equipment of a building or buildings for school purposes.

Mr. Summerlin, Hon. G. A. Hanson and Mr. David Hughes were constituted trustees of this fund. In the year 1887 these trustees, having sold enough land to enable them to carry out the design of donor, let the contract for the present school building.

January 2d, 1889, the school was formerly opened with Dr. W. F. Yocum, as Principal, and four assistants. In a few weeks the faculty was further increased by the addition of three more assistant teachers.

The first session closed June 5th; the register showing a total enrollment of 305, and an average attendance of 250 pupils for the session.

Dr. Yocum having resigned after four years' service, Mr. Tom F McBeath was elected Principal. Mr. McBeath was succeeded by Prof. Wm. Hood, and he in turn by Dr. W. F. Yocum, the present principal.

In 1894 the city of Bartow purchased the building and all the unsold property of the Institute and assumed all outstanding obligations.

The course of study covers eight grades or years, with four years of high school studies additional. The organization is similar to that of the best graded schools of the older States.

A Kindergarten, at present conducted by an independent association, will perhaps be incorporated with the work of the Institute, if no legal objection prevent.

The High School is open to all pupils of the county and to all intending teachers of the county, without charge for tuition. Review or Normal classes are formed for the accommodation of young teachers.

The teachers at present employed are as follows: Dr. W. F. Yocum, Principal; Josiah Varn, Assistant in High School; M, Eliza Robinson, Seventh and Eighth grades; Alma E. Bryson, Sixth grade; Mrs. C. E. Bayley, Fifth grade; Lucy Carpenter, Fourth grade; Lilla Crosland. Third grade; Minnie Granger, Second grade; Lula Howell and Alice Hicks, First grade.

The present enrollment is about 350, of which number 60 are in the High School.

The trustees contemplate the erection of another building in the near future.

W. F. Yocum