Volusia County Schools 1923-1926


At the peak of his career during the Florida Land Boom of the 1920s Architect Wm. J. Carpenter AIA made DeLand, Florida his headquarters. If you have been following this blog you know his firm of Carpenter & Bent has been accredited with commercial buildings, residences and a number of school buildings in the surrounding central Florida area. To meet the requirements of the state Compulsory Attendance Law which went into effect during this period the County was forced to make major changes in the available school facilities. The newly expanded Volusia County School Board under George Marks employed Mr. Carpenter’s services as well as that of other architects in this frenzied time. The first commission (1923) for Mr. Carpenter was an addition to the Enterprise school, followed by a new school for Seville.  Over the next three years he created original designs or significant renovations and additions for over ten other school buildings for the School Board, extending into all areas of the County from Pierson in the west to Daytona Beach in the east and north to south from Daytona to Oak Hill.

All early contacts with the School Baord were made by Architect Carpenter, but Mr.Francis Bent is noted as the  architect of some of the late schools of 1926. The relationship of Mr. Carpenter, Architect and Mr Bent, Engineer has been discussed in the articles on the Masonic Temple and other projects. As a result of the “Florida Land Bust” in 1926 Mr. Carpenter apparently withdrew from the firm and Mr. Bent assumed the role of “architect” with the School Board to assure the satisfactory conclusion of several school contracts which had been designed by Mr. Carpenter.

We have found that at least six of the buildings are still in use:  Oak Hill, Port Orange, Wisconsin Avenue, Pierson, Bonner, and Seabreeze. Four others have been demolished and information about them is sketchy. This list includes Oak Hill,Holly Hill, Live Oak and Volusia Avenue. The Enterprise school was destroyed by fire c1964. He was also involved in updating and designing several “colored” schools, of which little or no information is available.

Much of the information for these articles came from the comprehensive anthology of the Volusia County school system, “The Odyssey of an American School System”, Copyright (c)2000, Volusia County Schools, “A Century of West Volusia County” (c)1993, Dreggors and Hess, and the Volusia County School Board Archives in DeLand., and interviews with current tenants. Thank you, Jack


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