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Education > East Florida Seminary
Florida Seminary Cadet
In 1851 the Florida Legislature passed a bill to establish two tax-supported state schools—one in East Florida, the other in West Florida, divided by the Suwannee River—and the sites would be determined by which two counties offered the most in land and resources. A year later, in 1852, East Florida Seminary was founded as a fee-based school in Ocala but, short of funds, the school asked for state support. That support was granted in 1853 and EFS resources (land, buildings and cash) were turned over to the state.
Over the years, Mr. James Henry Roper, an educator from North Carolina, built a school called the Gainesville Academy on Northeast 1st Street. Mr. Roper was also a State Senator from Alachua County, and in 1866 he offered his land and school to the State of Florida in exchange for the relocation of EFS to Gainesville. His offer was accepted. The impact of East Florida Seminary on Gainesville was extensive. As the best school in this part of the state, it was a magnet to new settlers, resulting in greater opportunities and prosperity for everyone. East Florida Seminary was absorbed into the University of Florida in 1905-1906.
In plain tunic and visored cap, this unnamed East Florida Seminary Cadet preserves the image of a bygone era. He is standing in front of the Academic Building (known today as Epworth Hall). According to Carl Webber in "Eden of the South" (1883), "…All male students, not physically disqualified, are required to wear the prescribed uniform and to take part in all military exercises. The Seminary has a full equipment of Cadet rifles and light artillery. A complete and costly chemical and physical apparatus renders the study of the natural sciences interesting, as well as instructive."
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