Clermont Elementary’s history is really the history of two schools, Clermont-Minneola School and Lincoln Park School. Both schools were started by community groups interested in the education of their children.
Clermont’s first teacher, Mrs. Thomas Hooks began teaching a class of twelve children in a hunting lodge near Jack's Lake. The 1881 school term was four to five months and her first year's pay consisted of contributions from parents. The second year she received a salary of $20. a month. In the late 1800’s a one-room school was built on Broome Street at the present sight of the Clermont Women’s Club. It was enlarged to two rooms in 1913-1914.
James S. Townsend Sr organized the first Negro school in 1902. The schoolhouse was a one-room building, on a hill, half way between Clermont and Minneola. The first teacher was George DeVaughn, brother to Mrs. Sally Townsend. He earned a salary of $15. per month for a three month school term, January 15th through April 15th. The 1st school term started with nine children. The school moved to a home owned by the Townsend family on Chestnut Street in 1906 with thirteen children attending that term.
Clermont and Minneola School Districts were merged in 1915 and a red brick two story building with an extra one and a half story bell tower was constructed at Second and Oak Street. The building was considered a waste of taxpayers’ money by some because it was “a building large enough to last Clermont 50 Years”. The school opened in September 1916 with an elementary through high school enrolment of over 100 students.
A Spanish Mission design stucco building was constructed in 1925 to house the high school. The older brick building continued as elementary classrooms. The addition came at a cost of $50,000. including the building and furnishings. It contained a state of the art theater, which seated 400 and was used for community functions as well as school activities.
In 1927 the Clermont-Minneola Parents Association began the first lunch program with a fee of 9 cents per lunch. The Kiwanis Club and the Chamber of Commerce contributed to a reserve fund for the project.
By 1929 enrollment peaked 254 students. The Montverde public school was closed in 1948 and the children from that area were bused to Clermont.
With the opening of a new high school on the east side of East Ave in 1955 the entire 2nd Street complex became an elementary school. In 1962 Clermont Elementary became a separate entity from Clermont High School with G.J McLean as the principal.
Lincoln Park began as the Clermont Negro School. Citizens donated the labor to build a three-room school for grades 1 through 8 on Fifth Street just north of Hwy 50 on Lake Dot. It operated from four to six month terms. In 1932 the school term was extended to eight months and then 9 months in 1937. The Fifth Street School was moved to Lincoln Park in 1937.
The three-room building burned and was replaced with a larger building. By 1960 Lincoln Park had expanded and was able to house a high school. Mr. William N. McKinney, for whom the the park at Bloxam and East Desoto is named, was the first Principal of the high school. Lincoln Park provided a lunchroom program as well as head start. The Head Start program was 75% federally funded with Mrs. Dorothy McGriff as head of the program. In 1970, full integration was completed and Lincoln Park became Clermont Middle School.
With the original brick building and Spanish Mediterranean addition at 2nd and Oak needing extensive renovations, we were all saddened when the recommendation was made to replace the historic buildings. Clermont Elementary moved to its current site, the former Clermont Middle School, in January 1996.
Clermont Elementarys' proud history continues to shine at the Bloxam street location. We have added modern portables and renovated many areas of the campus to provide quality education to the growing community.