Wisconsin Avenue Elementary School

Wisconsin Avenue School Jack Carpenter Photo 2002

Wisconsin Avenue School
Jack Carpenter Photo 2002

336 Wisconsin Avenue
DeLand, Florida

This school at 336 West Wisconsin Avenue, DeLand was designed by architect Wm. J. Carpenter AIA in 1925. It was constructed of native brick and lumber. When opened in 1925 it had 21 rooms and the cost was $92,000. E. Kent Jones had supervised construction.

The building has been extensively remodeled over the years, but still shows its Mediterranean Revival styling on the outside with only changes to the interior spaces, where the original varnished heart pine floors survive in some offices.

Dempsie Brewster Shool "A Century of West Volusia County"

Dempsie Brewster Shool
“A Century of West Volusia County”

It has had a fond recognition among the citizens of the city. During the 58 years it was used as an active school building it was known to thousands of students as the Wisconsin Avenue Elementary School and the Dempsie Brewster Elementary School. Since renovation in 1983 and integration as part of the County Administrative complex it has been known as the Brewster Center (Volusia County Administration Center).

Dempsie Brewster School Jack Carpenter Photo  2002

Dempsie Brewster School
Jack Carpenter Photo 2002

Miss Dempsie Brewster was the principal of the primary grades in 1925. When she retired in 1958 she was principal of the entire school and in recognition of her services the school was renamed in her honor.



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  1. Thank you for creating this fascinating tribute to your grandfather, who (I have just learned) designed my first elementary school. How sad that — until your detective work — his descendants did not know of his greatness. Well, you are certainly setting the record straight.

    I have two comments:

    (1) My old school’s name is often misspelled, but it is DEMPSIE [not Dempsey] BREWSTER (see “AKA” section above). Dempsie, as you well know, was a woman, and a formidable one, from what I’ve heard! (The “-ie” ending usually indicates a woman.)…

    (2) … I believe that you are lacking proof of what your grandfather actually did in Mexico…

    I look forward to learning more about your grandfather, who left an indelible mark on my hometown.

    Laura Morland

    • Laura,

      Thank you for the comment and your several suggestions.

      I have made changes to bring what I now know of grandfather Carpenter’s travels in Mexico up to date. And have also corrected the spelling of Dempsie Brewster’s name wherever I found it, but may have missed some places. In self defense, in one of DeLand’s leading historical books it is spelled both ways on the same page!

      I appreciate your interest and ask you to please keep in touch and make additional editorial suggestions as you see fit. I hope you are able to return to DeLand soon. It is a great city.


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