Bonner School

Bonner Elementary-1                                                                                                                                    Photo by Jack Carpenter

                                                                                             BONNER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

                                                                              AKA CYPRESS STREET ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

 868 George W. Engram Blvd.

Between Seabreeze & International Speedway, just N. of Bethune Goodman College

This school, designed by Architect Wm. J. Carpenter AIA in 1926 was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1996.  In 1997       Daytona Beach Mayor Baron (Bud) Asher presented the Historic Preservation Award to the school.  This was an African-American “colored” school when built, integrated in the late 1960s.  Originally called the Cypress Street Elementary School, the name was changed to Bonner Elementary in 1954 to honor it’s longest serving principal Evelyn Bonner, who served from 1927 to 1959.

The Daytona Beach school as originally designed “…was a two-story block and stucco structure that included two brick wings”.  It included a spacious auditorium, and classrooms and offices opening off a hallway running the width of the building.  It was a very similar plan to the Pierson School, on a larger scale and a similar Mediterranean Revival facade.

 Bonner Auditorium0001

                                                                                    Bonner School Auditorium  Photo by Jack Carpenter


Main entrance.  Note artistic detail in transom windows over door. Photo from "The Odyssey..."

Main entrance. Note artistic detail in transom windows over door. Photo from “The Odyssey…”

Bonner School Main Entrance.  Photo by Jack Carpenter

Bonner School Main Entrance. Photo by Jack Carpenter

The pictures show Mr. Carpenter’s original design and the appearance about 2005.  Additional wings on the east & west were added in 1954.  The auditorium was renovated in the early 1990’s and the original folding iron seats replaced with plastic replicas, which are functional, but do not have the grace of the 1920’s.  The original yellow pine flooring throughout the school has been refinished in recent years.  The front ramp which shows in the current photos was installed in 1970 to accommodate handicapped students.

 In 2008 the Volusia County School Board declared this fully functional historic building surplus and it was in danger of being demolished.  The Chiles Academy stepped in and is now operating it as a Full Service Community School.  At last reports it was being maintained in pristine condition and all original features are being successfully preserved. For a current photo of the school click  

 Some months ago I acquired a postcard of the Putnam Hotel, another of Mr. Carpenter’s designs. It was dated August 12, 1926 and I found this message on it interesting:  “…   We are here with bids for a new school to be built here and are staying at this hotel.  It is lovely here. I would like to live here…”  After a review of the School Board minutes for this period I could not determine which school might have been involved., but it might have been this one.  I also noted that Bent was appearing before the board for school work in process, with no mention of Carpenter, who was probably still on a trip to Pittsburgh.

 Background for this article came from “The Odyssey of an American System” and the Conrad Museum, DeLand.





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