The 1887 Schoolhouse is a historic landmark of special interest. The 1887 Schoolhouse is located on the corner of West 7th and Main Street, and is on the register of historic building. For groups (including schools) interested in tours of the 1887 Schoolhouse, please contact Kim Hawkins, Windermere Historic Preservation Board Chair.
Opened in 1887, the 1887 School House is the only surviving one-room school house in Orange County, and one of the few still standing in Florida.
The Frame Vernacular building, capped with a metal roof, was communally constructed using locally milled heartwood from Florida long leaf pine. A well dug near the front door remains.
Maude Adams, one of the first full-time teachers, educated generations of settlers and town builders within these walls. Ms. Adams received a salary of $22/month for the education of 22 pupils. The students ranges from grades K-12 and were the children of citrus grove owners and workers.
During the early 20th Century, the school house served as headquarters for the local Board of Trade, a women’s club, a Union Church, a polling station, and a meeting hall. The building ceased to be used as a school house in 1916 when a larger school house complex was established.
In 1918, Lloyd and Minnie Armstrong acquired the school house and surrounding property from real estate developer, Cal Palmer. The Armstrong family altered the building into a “cracker style” home by attaching two sleeping wings and a broad covered porch. The school house became the center of the home and served as the kitchen and dining room. Eight of the Armstrong’s nine children were raised in the building. Many old citrus trees and ornamentals planted by the family are still present. During the 1930s, the New Deal’s Works Progress Administration built an outhouse at the back of the property.
Minnie and Lloyd’s daughter, Eunice Armstrong-Parramore, acquired the property after the death of her parents. In 1995, Eunice and Manuel “Perry” Parramore deeded it as a historic legacy to the Town of Windermere. The additions were removed and the structure was restored to its original school house board and batten construction in 2002.
In 2011, citizens organized to prevent an attempt to move the building, which would have compromised its historic integrity. On January 31, 2012, a Town charter amendment was passed overwhelmingly by the voters of Windermere to preserve the 1880s school house in its original location.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2003, it remains a citrus grove, within sight of Lake Butler, canopied by historic trees.