Archive for December, 2009

Zephyrhills 100th Anniversary: Celebrities!

By Gregg, 14 December, 2009, No Comment

In an age of instant stardom through phenomenon’s such as American Idol and pop star infatuations  with the likes of Miley Cyrus, the Jonas Brothers, Taylor Swift and others, adults might be tempted to believe that the current generation is vastly unique from those of previous eras.  Granted in an age of technological innovation when texting, iPods, Wii’s, cell phones and PDA’s are necessary tween/teen paraphernalia, the tools may have been tweaked a bit but it appears that every generation has had its share of celebrities.

In researching the archives of history for Zephyrhills schools (primarily ZHS), Clereen and I discovered today’s era is not particularly exceptional in its admiration of celebrities. The influence of various popular personalities is seen throughout this community’s school history.  The school’s annual, the Zephilsco, reflects the influence of various acclaimed celebs. We discovered in consulting with several folks, that a particularly distinctive feature of the annual was the selection by letter/US Mail of a annual king and queen by a well-known celebrity. Throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s, key celebrities (usually television or movie stars) worked with the annual yearbook editor and vendor to select the coveted ZHS Yearbook King and Queen. They chose the winners from among photographs of senior nominees. In checking with neighboring communities, we found that this was an unusual practice and may have been exclusive to Zephyrhills.  We are uncertain as to who may have come up with this innovative idea. Does anyone know?

Consider that the following students (many of whom you will recognize) were selected the yearbook king and queen by the likes of John Wayne, Red Skelton or Johnny Carson:

1961 (Editor: Sandra Pricher): Garry Moore from the Garry Moore Television Show chose Queen-Mary Alice Gill & King-Richard Miles,
1962  (Editor: Barbara Russ):  Henry Morgan from I’ve Got A Secret Fame chose Delores Braxton & Clyde Bracknell,
1964 (Editor: Howard Kersey):  Comedian Red Skelton chose Cletia Weaver & John Wintersteen,
1965 (Editor: Kaye Henry):  Jean Morris from the WFLA TV station’s then popular Hi-Time chose Sandy Kirkland & Reggie Brown,
1966 (Editor: Laurel Reitz): Richard Chamberlain, TV’s Doctor Kildare selected Myra Bialik & Bill Lyons,
1967 (Editor: Marcia Deming): Johnny Carson of the Tonight Show chose Joan Thompson & Jim Jefferson,
1968 (Editor: Laura Eloise Hall):  Steve Spurrier (1967 Heisman Trophy Winner) from UF chose Michele Burke & Riki McGinnis,
1969 (Editors: Donna Merrill & Patty Hayden): Comedian Jackie Gleason chose Donna Merrill & Johnny Braxton,
1970 (Editor: Julie Phipps):  Actor, John Wayne chose Pat Artabasy & Cliff Brown,
1971 (Editor: Lynda Stewart): Miss Florida, Linda Donovan chose Suzanne Arnot & Larry McDonald,
1972 (Editor: Dee Dee Toole): Mickey Mouse of the newly opened Magic Kingdom chose Martha Padgett & Benji Cook,
1973 (Editor: Lynne Strickland & Phyllis Jarrett): Rock Group, Chicago chose Essalene Buckins & Jay Linville.

It must have been incredibly thrilling for the annual (yearbook) editor to receive a letter from an actor of the stature of John Wayne. Notice that the famous person reflects the time period as well.

Humility puts all of us in our place however and as one of the authors of this piece, I must confess that when I was preparing the jpegs (that’s the photo) insert for the article, a young man of about 17 was assisting me at a Tampa Office supply store.  He was perusing the letters from Richard Chamberlain, Jackie Gleason, etc., and he said to me, “Were these famous people?”  I then explained to him the significance of the various personalities.  I suspect he was thinking, “What is she talking about?” And I realized it is all relative to the age.

All of us of each generation however, share an interest in movie stars, pop idols or famous persons! Who was yours?

Countdown to Centennial

Countdown to Centennial
By Madonna Jervis Wise and Clereen Morrill Brunty of the 100th Anniversary Committee, ZHS. Article originally appeared in the Zephyrhills News on January 22, 2009.

All rights reserved. Photos © Madonna Jervis Wise

Zephyrhills Historical Photos: Week 3

By Gregg, 11 December, 2009, 1 Comment

Each week you can get a glimpse into Zephyrhills history through photographs provided by Madonna Jervis Wise. Click any image for a larger view!

Citizens' Band, 1914Crystal Springs Roller RinkClass of 1935Zephyr Picnic, 1914 at Zephyr ParkZephyrhills Grade SchoolSkateboarders

Images of America: Zephyrhills Book Cover

Photos courtesy Madonna Jervis Wise
Author of Images of America: Zephyrhills
Scheduled to publish Spring 2010!

All rights reserved. Photo © Madonna Jervis Wise

Zephyrhills 100th Anniversary: The Precious 1926 Building

By Gregg, 9 December, 2009, No Comment

The ZHS building (or campus) has been a pillar of pride and a theme of triumph and tragedy throughout ZHS history. The very first ZHS building was a badge of pride when in 1910 it was opened. At both the 1975 and 1977 Alumni banquets, former ZHS student, Simon Geiger, recalled with joy how he hauled the logs for the construction of the wood building in the early 1900s from Greer’s Mill with a team of oxen. The first ZHS building in 1910 was divided into two rooms. The building was sometimes maintained by the parents and they helped to clean the building.

Zephyrhills suffered several fires that devastated their school buildings. The first ZHS two story building located between 7th and 8th street was burned to the ground in 1926. A bond issue was passed and a new $50,000 building was opened at 10th Avenue and 10th Street in Zephyrhills. At the time, the local newspaper reported on August 27, 1926: “It is a very pleasing structure—practically fireproof.” Like the Titanic, whose builders boasted of being unsinkable, these words would prove to be somewhat prophetic for the community which suffered another loss during the difficult years of the Depression in 1935. The “new” brick building was  also  severely damaged by fire. The third ZHS building was reconstructed with the help of President Roosevelt’s WPA project and opened once again in 1937 with great pride at 10th Avenue and 10th Street.

Tales of quirky ZHS building attachments and nuances fill the history pages. A fish pond in front of the school building was maintained by principals in the 1930’s and 1940’s and was a signature piece for the school. Often the principals lived on the school campus similar to a parsonage on church grounds. Ritual surrounds the many building additions: 1967-the first gymnasium, after so many years of playing basketball outdoors; the annex building in 1947, the new campus on the Hercules property on 12th street in 1975; the football stadium in 1979 and the ZHS Activity Center in 1980.

I think one feels the sense of “home” in regard to the pride of the school building when they recall the visit to the 1926 building at 10th Avenue (what is now Raymond B. Stewart Middle School) upon its final open-house in 2005 just before it was demolished. Former students visiting the building recalled school and developmental milestones—their first kiss, a dreaded test, a school fight, a pep rally and so much more. 1955 Alum, Craig Miller, shared a folksy story in which he was asked by the school principal, Mr. McPherson, to rid the school of a skunk in exchange for some vacation from school; the story illustrates how the school was seen as an extension of home and stakeholders had somewhat of a collective sense of ownership for the school building.

Countdown to Centennial

Countdown to Centennial
By Madonna Jervis Wise and Clereen Morrill Brunty of the 100th Anniversary Committee, ZHS. Article originally appeared in the Zephyrhills News on January 15, 2009.

All rights reserved. Photos © Madonna Jervis Wise

Zephyrhills 100th Anniversary: New Years

By Gregg, 8 December, 2009, 4 Comments

Zephyrhills is celebrating the centennial of the schools in the city of Zephyrhills in 2010. At the end of the 1909-10 school term, the one room school houses in the area closed (Independence School, Childers School and Union School) and in September of 1910, a state-of-the-art school building was opened at the corner of Seventh Avenue and Sixth Street in Zephyrhills which housed all grades.

As a commemoration of this school which opened with 61 students, a committee composed of community members, alumni and current staff members are organizing an  event to celebrate the many years of wonderful education in the community.  Our goal is to publish a weekly ‘tidbit’ or remembrance about the school’s history which often reflects the community.  We invite you to share stories, photos and information with us as you read the weekly articles.  You may reach us at: Madonna Wise (mwise {at} hughes(.)net) or 813 782 0246 or Clereen Brunty at: (clereen {at} tampabay.rr(.)com) or (813) 782-8763.

In honor of this festive time of the year when we celebrate the beginning of a new year, we reviewed the archives of Zephyrhills School history that mentioned the celebration of a “New Year” and came up with some fun remembrances.  We found New Year’s events with educational focuses mentioned in five articles in the Zephyrhills News (Colonist) archives.  See if any of these jog your memory?

JANUARY 1, 1920: The Zephyrhills Colonist (the Zephyrhills News’s previous name) reported an exciting New Year’s Day basketball game in 1920.  “Our local basketball team has secured a game with the St. Petersburg boys for New Years Day, to be played here.  This is expected to be one of the best and fastest games of the season as both sides are lining up for a hard fight and everyone is invited to come out and see some snappy playing.”

JANUARY 1, 1931: “The graduating classes of ZHS for the years 1928, 1929 and 1930 with a few invited guests enjoyed a social at Sunset Beach on Lake Pasadena the evening of January 1st.  The merry-makers began to gather at 8 o’clock and continued to arrive until 9. Uncle Frank Tousey, the genial proprietor and manager of Sunset Beach was at the door to welcome each arrival with his smiles and best wishes for the New Year.

Music for the occasion was furnished by the radio and Uncle Frank’s famous one-man band. Pool-golf claimed the attending of a few while others played bridge and many were dancing.

Uncle Frank started the game by calling Paul Jones which led to many others. Refreshments of sandwiches—all kinds—cake and hot chocolate were served.

Those present of the different classes were: 1930 class—Sadie Turner, Althia Guy, Cecil McGavern, Charlie Slater, Owen Gall and Fred Gill; 1929 class—Celia Linkey, Angie LeHeup, John Pennington, John Loomis, Robert Sibley, and Arthur Austin; 1928 class—Edith Plank, Tillie Reutimann, Lucile McGavern, Robert Campbell, James Campbell, Nelson Nabor, Clarence Darby and Bob Gill.  Guests were: Mrs. Fred Gill, Mr. and Mrs. Clifton Craig, Miss Esther Plank, A.N. Black of New Port Richey and Sam McGavern.

(Note that the modern-day alumni group was born out of the class of 1950.   Jaynell LeHeup was responsible for the modern-day Alumni movement which continues to thrive.)

JANUARY 1, 1972: The New Year’s holiday was the occasion for a reunion of 16 members of the ZHS class of 1958, who were guests of the Sunland Restaurant, New Year’s Day.  A portable TV set was provided by Dale’s Firestone Center in order that bowl games could be viewed. The 15-year picnic reunion in the summer of 1973 has been tentatively planned. Pictures in the photo were: Margaret Nelson Cherry, Darlene Wilson Bamberger, Mildred Smith Carter, Clara Mae Adams Fowler, Barbara Peeples, Ruthie King Kennedy,  and Gloria Lewis Jones.  Also attending were Brantley Smith, Murray Thomas, Marion Nesbitt, Ralph Massey, Donnie Nelson and Larry Bassell.  Class Sponsor John Clements, Harold Hunt, Roger Sibley, Jr., Charles Bloom, Bamberger, and Kennedy arranged the reunion.

JANUARY 1, 1931: Mrs. Vogel entertained the seventh and eighth grades and their teacher, Mrs. Guy, to a New Year’s picnic for her daughter, Frances, at her home north of the city. Games, basketball, football and contests were greatly enjoyed by the following: Alberta Corbin, Isabelle Austin, Rita Spellman, Helen Grant, Ruth McCoy, Margarite Reutimann, Eva West, Dorothy Boyer, Ruth Higginson, Delma Harrell, Pearl Baldwin, Elma Ryals, Mary Spellman, Sarah Parsons, Anlee Cripe, Laura Rogers, Audrey Fulgham of Tampa and Frances Vogel as well as Ernest Linkey, Horace Williford, Emil Reutimann, Donald Plank, Glenn McDowell, James Mott, Athel Thomas, Robert Seaberg, Clifford Wilson, Reggie Clark, Robert Cook, Jack Parsons, Richard Gaskins and Louis Gall.  The hostess was assisted by Mrs. Claude Cook, Mrs. Ed Seaberg, Mrs. J.T. Fulgham and Miss Edith Parrish of Tampa.

Countdown to Centennial

Countdown to Centennial
By Madonna Jervis Wise and Clereen Morrill Brunty of the 100th Anniversary Committee, ZHS. Article originally appeared in the Zephyrhills News on January 8, 2009.

All rights reserved. Photos © Madonna Jervis Wise

Zephyrhills Historical Photos: Week 2

By Gregg, 4 December, 2009, No Comment

Each week you can get a glimpse into Zephyrhills history through photographs provided by Madonna Jervis Wise. Click any image for a larger view!

Horse Drawn CarriageZephyr LakeLive Oaks & MossSide View of Jeffries houseParadeOld Postcard

Images of America: Zephyrhills Book Cover

Photos courtesy Madonna Jervis Wise
Author of Images of America: Zephyrhills
Scheduled to publish Spring 2010!

All rights reserved. Photo © Madonna Jervis Wise