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Education > Gainesville Graded
& High School
Graded & High School
Kirby Smith, constructed in 1900, is one of the oldest existing school buildings in Alachua County. It was initially called the Gainesville Graded & High School, and it was open to all white children. The school also was known as Eastside School at one time. In a May 2, 1954, article in the "Gainesville Sun," the school was described when it was new, "…a brick building of 12 rooms and auditorium… the site was a very beautiful expanse of some eight acres covered with magnificent pine and oak, only a few blocks from the center of town. In this structure was accommodated the entire school, grades one through twelve….one of the most modern in the state …one of very few [brick schools in the state]…an addition in 1912 of a second building, 15 rooms to house the high grammar grades and the high school…the principal taught most of the day, few records or equipment considered necessary so lack of space wasn't so serious as it would be today…added [in 1912] were modern toilets and steam heat to replace wood-burning stoves….still there wasn't enough space and classes overflowed into library, Epworth hall, private dwellings…" Finally, in 1922, a high school was built in a separate building in the 700 block of West University Avenue.
General Edmund Kirby Smith was the last survivor of the full generals of the Confederacy. He was born on May 16, 1824, in St. Augustine, Florida, and graduated from West Point in 1845. He fought in the Mexican War, the Indian campaigns on the Texan frontier, and the Civil War. He taught mathematics at West Point and was president of the Pacific and Atlantic Telegraph Company, president of the Western Military Academy at Nashville, Chancellor of the University of Nashville, and professor of mathematics at the University of the South. He died on March 28, 1893, and is buried at Sewanee, Tennessee. The building serves as office space today for the Alachua County School Board.
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