SVGS Library Building Part of Florida Quilt Trail

As a proud member of the Florida Quilt Trail project, the SVGS Library building recently got a new look with the installation of its “Pioneer Schoolhouse” quilt square.

This charming visual reminder of the building’s former function as the Suwannee High School band building was donated by the McGranahan family, owners and operators of Live Oak Pest Control.

To celebrate the installation of our quilt square , Society President, Jinnie Hancock, asked Suwannee County historian, Eric Musgrove, to give us a brief history of schools in Live Oak. As always, Eric, who is our Go-To-Guy for all questions relating to Suwannee County history, had the answers. Many thanks to Eric for the following information.

Live Oak Schools

White/Integrated Schools

First public white school built in 1889 on land donated by Nancy Parshley on what is now First Baptist Church property. It was a two-story wooden building, with additions constructed between 1903 and 1906 and also possibly in or around 1893. It was used as such until 1916, when a new school (Parshley School) was built nearby.

The old school building was sold to Florida Memorial in September of 1916 and moved to their site two blocks west. The main part of the building was used as a dormitory, while the newer portion was moved to the northwest corner of the school grounds and converted into a gymnasium. It was used by Florida Memorial, possibly until the school merged with another out-of-town school in 1941. If the building still existed in 1947 (some indications are that it was gone by 1943), it was sold at auction with the remaining Florida Memorial buildings and torn down to make way for the Suwannee County Hospital.

Parshley School (officially named Suwannee High School) built 1916 at a cost of $70,000 and used as a high school until 1927, when the Metcalfe School was completed. It was then used as a grammar school, etc. until 1964 or afterwards. It was torn down circa 2000.

Metcalfe School (officially named Suwannee High School) was completed in 1927 and was in use until Hurricane Dora damaged the foundation in
1964. It sat derelict until it was torn down circa 2000.

Nettie Baisden Primary School was completed in 1942 and torn down in 2016.

African-American Schools

Douglass High School was a two-story wooden building constructed at 410 South Houston Street (west side of the street) some time prior to 1912 and used until a new school was built in 1927.

Douglass High School – A one-story building was completed in 1927 on South Houston Street, on the east side of the street and south of Ebenezer AME Church at approximately 421 South Houston Street. It was in use until Douglass School on Ontario Street was expanded to accommodate high school in the late 1950s/early 1960s.

Douglass School – Construction began in 1950, additions were made through mid-1960s. Fully integrated in 1969 and in use as a public school until the new Middle School was built in 1990. Thereafter the school as used for various functions, including alternative school.

Private Schools

Live Oak White Male and Female Seminary started out as Nathan Walker and Henry Wyse’s proposal for a courthouse. BCC backed out of the contract and the incomplete building was repurposed for use as a school in 1869 by the Suwannee School Company, which was made up of a dozen or so prominent Suwannee County/Live Oak citizens.

The building was sold to Elijah F. Henderson by Nathan Walker and continued to be used as a white school until it was sold to Florida Memorial (also knows as Florida Institute) in 1873. It was used by Florida Memorial until 1942, when the school moved from Live Oak. The building was torn down in 1947 to make way for the Suwannee County Hospital.