This feature is in the process of being updated.


May 26, 2003
Photo by Dan Perez, property of


Hillsborough High School is one of the South's oldest high schools and the oldest high school in Hillsborough County.  Over the years, Hillsborough High School has earned some nicknames. "Harvard on the Hill" originates partly from the fact that Hillsborough High School was built on one of the highest geographical elevations in Tampa at the time, had graduated many illustrious people, and emulated many of Harvard's traditions with regard to its alma mater and school color scheme--a crimson shade of red and black, and the big letter H.

  Later, Hillsborough High also picked up the nickname "Peyton Place," probably sometime in the late 1960s or early 1970s, because the opening scene of the tower in the popular Peyton Place television soap opera somehow reminded some individuals of Hillsborough High's clock tower, and also because as one teacher put it, "it seemed there was always some sort of soap opera going on at the school."

Hillsborough High School was officially "Hillsborough County High School" up until 1927 when the county opened another high school, H. B. Plant.  However, it was commonly referred to as "Hillsborough High" way before the official name change.

Did you know?  A HILLSBOREAN is a person but the yearbook is the HILSBOREAN (one "L").


Page = 1366, Table1=1350, Table2=1300, Table3=1250



Rex's new book on the history of Hillsborough High School was released Sept. 2014.  A must for all Terrier alumni!


L. Rex Gordon


Special thanks to HHS historian Lewis Rex Gordon, author of "History of Hillsborough High School," for his permission to use his findings, and his assistance and advice on the information presented in this feature.

In the Sunland Tribune, Volume XII November, 1986 the article "Hillsborough High School:  The First One Hundred Years," begins with:

"In the beginning, Hillsborough High School was a department of the Tampa Graded School System which was organized in 1885. It began in a livery stable on Franklin Street with nineteen students and one teacher, Mr. B.C. Graham, who also served as the principal. The first four students graduated in 1886." 


For many years, this account was practically etched in stone.   The manuscript was written by the faculty and alumni of Hillsborough High School in 1985 for the school centennial.  But in 2003, evidence was discovered that would rewrite some of this commonly accepted history of Hillsborough County's oldest high school.  Ironically, the new evidence was, in a way, found in stone--a cornerstone.

The revelation came in the form of a document written in 1911 by a Hillsborough High School student named Doris Geraldine Hill.  Written on lined paper, it was rolled into a scroll, tied with a red and black ribbon and placed into the cornerstone of the then newly-built school at 2708 Highland Avenue.  There it sat until 92 years later, when the building was being restored, the cornerstone was removed and opened. 

Inside the cornerstone time capsule was a copper box with a list of the contents, on Board of Public Instruction letterhead.

  1. History of High School by Doris Hill

  2. Copy of minutes of school board

  3. Copy of Hymns rendered at Occasion

  4. Course of study

  5. Autograph list of pupils attending High School

  6. Names of Faculty

  7. Copy of Tampa Tribune

  8. Copy of Tampa Times

  9. Invitation to Hillsboro Lodge 25

  10. Copy of School Law

  11. Invitation to Capt. George N. Lynch to deliver address at the laying of cornerstone of Hillsboro High School

  12. Copy of Proceedings of Grand Lodge of Florida F. & A.M., 1910

  13. Coins

  14. List of officers Grand Lodge

Photo by Dan Perez, property of


Read about the items that were placed in the cornerstone time capsule before it was put back in its place.


Doris Geraldine Hill graduated with high honors in 1912.  She was called the most studious girl in her class, enjoyed music, having fun, and giving to others.

Doris' history was written at a time when many, if not all of the founders of Hillsborough County education system were still living and available for interview.  She must have been a proud young lady to be selected as the author of the official school history that would be placed into the time capsule.  In 1911, there was no published history of the high school system in the county, so her resources would have been original reference sources.  It was literally being written during her lifetime.  It may have even been a class history assignment for which she and her classmates were graded on.


It begins as follows:


The History of the Hillsborough County High School

Compiled by Doris Hill

February 15, 1911

The laying of the cornerstone of our new high school means so much to us. It means that the building to which we have looked forward to for so long is now in the course of erection. In 1905, the school paper expressed the need of another building, and the pupils of the school have been longing for it for all these years. Now, when we are about to realize our hopes, let us look back over the history of the High School.

For the rest of this feature, Doris's cornerstone history will be presented accordingly over the various locations as they apply, and combined with the First One Hundred Years history and E. L. Robinson's History of Hillsborough County.  Text from Doris Hill's history will be in red italics.








You are urged to first visit the previous page about the beginnings of the Hillsborough County school system in the middle 1800s.  It is an important period which gives a better understanding of the conditions that led up to the establishment of Hillsborough County's first "official" high school.



Before Doris Hill's cornerstone history was found, the generally accepted account of the school's founding was as follows:

In the beginning, Hillsborough County High School was a department of the Tampa Graded School System which was organized in 1885. It began in room over a livery stable on Franklin Street with nineteen students and one teacher, Benjamin Chalmers Graham (B.C. Graham), who also served as the principal.  The first four Hillsborough County High School students graduated in 1886.

This is the opening paragraph to Hillsborough High School, the First One Hundred Years which was published in The Sunland Tribune, a Journal of the Tampa Historical Society, Vol. 12, Nov. 1986, and is seen to the right.  The manuscript was written by the faculty and alumni of Hillsborough High School in 1985 for what they thought was the centennial.

Doris Hill's history written in 1911 reveals that the high school had its beginning three years earlier, with a female principal, and no mention of a stable:

The Hillsborough County High School was a department of the Tampa School No. 1, which was located on Franklin Street, north of the Court House. 

A High School course was introduced for the first time in 1882.  At this time, Mrs. Mary Cuscaden was principal, and Mr. Wesley P. Henderson was County Superintendent. 

Mrs. Cuscaden was principal for two years. In 1884, she was succeeded by Dr. Raymond, and in 1885, the latter was followed by Mr. B.C. Graham.

So the first high school courses in a public school began in 1882 at Tampa School 1 and there were two principals before B. C. Graham. 



The school building was a structure built in 1876 by John Givens and his son, Darwin Branch Givens, on what was in 1911 the 500 block of Franklin Street,1 between Madison and Twiggs Streets.  This is the block just north of the county courthouse as Doris' history states.

1889 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from University of Florida Digital Collections

In E. L. Robinson's "History of Hillsborough County" published in 1928, he states that the schoolhouse was located "where the Shaw-Clayton bookstore is now."  Tampa's 1927 city directory shows this bookstore was located at 509 Franklin St.

The Sanborn Fire Insurance map at left is from 1889, the earliest year that any area north of Madison St. is depicted on the Sanborn maps.

1Although the 1889 map at left shows the block north of the courthouse, between Madison and Twiggs, was the 600 block, the 1892 map below shows the addresses along Franklin St. were renumbered by 1892, and shows both the old 623 and the new address 509 Franklin St.  When Doris wrote her history in 1911, that location was 509.


The school's location was at the middle of the block of Franklin St., on the east side of the street around where this map shows "B & S" (which could stand for Books & Stationery.)


Since yellow structures were wood frame buildings and the pink ones were brick, the old wooden school building (everything was built from wood in the 1870s) was apparently torn down and replaced by the brick structures seen here in 1889.

Present day aerial view of this block.

Recently, this address is occupied by the CI Group.

In 1929, E. L. Robinson provided the early history of Hillsborough County's education system in a Tribune article.  Having just published his book on the history of the county, the info would have been fresh on his mind.  This is an edited version with quite a bit of the mid-section removed.  See the WHOLE article here.


According to HHS historian Rex Gordon, the belief that the school started in a livery stable is a result of misunderstanding E. L. Robinson's 1928  History of Hillsborough County.  Robinson's history names a later location of the high school as being in Maj. Wright's building which was originally a brick livery stable on the northwest corner of Florida Ave. and Madison Street.  This location was actually the 5th location.  Robinson does not state that the school began in that building or a livery stable.

What Robinson wasn't aware of (or forgot about) when he wrote his history of Hillsborough County was Doris Hill's history of the school in 1911, sealed in the new school's cornerstone time capsule, 17 years before he published his book.



A photo that is often used to depict the livery stable location of the first Hillsborough County high school clearly shows a wooden structure with no access for horses and, in fact, is not a stable but the first home of the Hillsborough Masonic Lodge. (A fact also verified by the Hillsborough Masonic Lodge website, which shows the same image as their first home on the corner of Whiting and Franklin St.)

The building was built by the Masons for use as their meeting house.  It is referred to as a school building in this article because it was used during the day to teach classes. 

This was NOT a county public high school, nor did it ever become one.





The first Hillsborough Lodge building was built on the corner of Whiting and Franklin Streets, Downtown Tampa, in 1852.



Three Friends Cigar Company and Mims Transfer, East Scott Street, with employees in wagons in front of building.

The old Lodge became the "Three Friends Cigar Co." after it was moved here to Scott St.


The building was never the site of Hillsborough County High School.



Photo courtesy of Tampa-Hillsborough Co. Public Library Cooperative,  Burgert Bros Collection.



The fact that four high school students graduated in 1886, which when one considers would have been awarded after a four-year high school education, places the school's founding in 1882, the same year given in Doris Hill's history.  This, and her mention of two principals before B.C. Graham, indicate that the school started before 1885 and did not start in a livery stable.



Marietta Cuscaden was the mother of early Tampa citrus grove grower and city council president Arthur Weston Cuscaden, for whom Cuscaden Park and swimming pool in Ybor City are named.  The park and the pool are located on the site of Arthur Cuscaden's former groves which he donated to the city.

Marietta Mastick Cuscaden was born in Ohio, probably in Claridon township, Geauga County, on April 10, 1834.   According to the 1850 U.S. Federal census, she was 16, living at home in Claridon with her father Owen Mastick, 47, and her mother Harriet, 45. Living in the same home were her sisters Elizabeth, 19; Lavinnia (or Savinnia/Sovinnia), 11; brothers Julius, 14, and B. Mastick, 6. Her father was born in Vermont, a typical starting point for many of Northeast Ohio’s settlers. Her mother, Harriet, was born in Connecticut. All their children were born in Ohio.


Thomas Cuscaden was a graduate of the Eclectic Medical Institute in Cincinnati, Ohio. He first enrolled there when he was 22 years old, beginning his first term on Mar. 5, 1853.  Studying under Preceptor G. W. Bickley2, he completed two courses and graduated in the spring of 1853.  He wrote his thesis on "Blood and the Causes of Circulation."

Eclectic Medical Institute Matriculation Roster-1845-1939

Age is age at 1st enrollment; Cinti=Cincinnati; W=Winter and S=Spring (in both first-third enrollment terms and date of graduation);  y=years, and m=months (in “time of reading” column); Freshman, Sophomore, Junior in “Comments” indicates “admitted as” status; preceptors, unless otherwise noted are physicians and/or professors.

2The source of this information, Eclectic Medical Institute Matriculation Roster-1845-1939--composed by John Haller, Lloyd Library and Museum, misspelled his name as "G. W. Bigler." The correct spelling is seen in the image below, from History of the Eclectic Medical Institute, 1845-1902, Cincinnati, Ohio. by Harvey Wickes Felter, MD, pub. 1902.


Homeopathy is a medical system based on the belief that the body can cure itself. Those who practice it use tiny amounts of natural substances, like plants and minerals. They believe these stimulate the healing process. It was developed in the late 1700s in Germany. It’s common in many European countries, but it’s not quite as popular in the United States. How Does It Work? A basic belief behind homeopathy is “like cures like.” In other words, something that brings on symptoms in a healthy person can -- in a very small dose -- treat an illness with similar symptoms. This is meant to trigger the body’s natural defenses.  From Web MD - What is homeopathy?

After graduation in 1853,  Thomas Cuscaden located just across the Ohio state line in Richmond, Indiana where he first practiced homeopathy in 1853 with noted homoeopathist Dr. Oliver Perry Baer.  Baer had started his practice there in 1849. 

Dr. Baer later wrote,

My first year's practice amounted to over $1,000, with a steady increase until in four years I found it necessary to add a second physician, and accordingly, Dr. Minier came, but being timid to fight his way among so many allopaths, he in a few months left for Rock Island, Illinois and Dr. Cuscaden took his place.  He after some two years' commendable practice, he moved to Lebanon, Ohio...

Dr. Cuscaden opened a practice in Warren County, Lebanon, Ohio in 1854, being the first homeopathic physician in that area. 


On Sept. 2, 1858, Marietta Mastick married Dr. Thomas W. Cuscaden in Geauga County, Ohio.  Thomas was a highly-esteemed physician in Warren County, Lebanon, Ohio and was well-known for being the first resident homoeopathist in the county.  Thomas and Marietta's son, Arthur, was born in 1859 in Claridon, Ohio. 







By 1860, Thomas had settled back in Lebanon with Marietta and his son Arthur, which is about 26 mi. northeast of Cincinnati. 












On the 1860 census of Lebanon, Ohio, Thomas W. Cuscaden was a physician, and born in Virginia.  Marietta was a teacher, age 25, born in Ohio, and their son, Arthur was 1 year old.  Also in their home was 19-year-old S. S. (or L. L. ) Mastick who was probably Sovinnia,/Lavinnia, a sister of Marietta. Notice Column 11 erroneously shows they married within the year.  In 1862, Thomas and Marietta would have a daughter named Mary. 


1860 Census, Lebanon, Warren Co, Ohio

In "The History of homeopathy and its institutions in America," the author states of Dr. Cuscaden in Lebanon, Ohio, "Although it was said that he could not remain, he did so until his death in 1861".  Dr. Cuscaden's death was attributed to "consumption."

According to THE HISTORY OF WARREN COUNTY, published by W. H. Beers & Co. in 1882, Thomas Cuscaden died in Lebanon in 1861.  He was just 31 years old.


By 1868, Marietta had taken the position of Superintendent of Marion Union School, (the predecessor to Marion City School) about 100 miles back towards Claridon, to the northeast.

The Marion Star website, Adams named Pleasant Local superintendent, by Reporter Andrew Carter, March 21, 2017.

In between Marietta's  Lebanon and Marion positions was the Civil War.

On a visit back to Marion in 1890, the Marion Star printed this brief article which references Marietta was "at one time principal of the Marion High School...

On the 1870 census Marietta was back in Claridon Township with her parents Owen & Harriet Mastick, along with her children Arthur W. Cuscaden, age 10, and daughter Mary L., age 8.  Apparently, Mary L. was born just after her father died.  Marietta continued her career in education there, being listed as a school teacher..


Hiram, Ohio
"Mrs. Cuscaden is a lady of large experience as a teacher, and of excellent reputation among the teachers of Ohio."

Marietta Cuscaden photo from Hiram College Archives.

Special thanks to Rex Gordon for obtaining and sharing the photo, and to Jennifer S. Morrow, M. A. Hiram College Archivist, who provided Rex with the rare photo of Marietta seen here, along with the following information about Marietta:

In 1871 Marietta Cuscaden took a position on the faculty of Hiram College.  She probably received her college education there when the institution was the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute.  It was founded in 1850 and became Hiram College in 1867.  (Her son Arthur also attended Hiram College.)

In 1871 Marietta was named successor to Miss Jackson as Principal of the Ladies Dept. and she started in that position the following year.  She served as Lady Principal of Hiram College from 1872-76. 

According to Francis Marion Green’s Hiram College and Western Reserve Eclectic Institute: Fifty Years of History 1850-1900, the Lady Principal was responsible for the “interests and conduct of the (36) young women in the school."  

Cuscaden’s name first appears in the list of faculty in the Annual Catalogue of Hiram College for the year ending June 1872. That same source notes that Cuscaden also headed the Department of English Studies, whose courses included Grammar, Descriptive Geography, and Arithmetic. The catalogue noted that Cuscaden “is aided by competent assistants.”


In describing Mrs. Cuscaden the catalogue notes that she “brings to her position a large and successful experience as an educator.”

In the 1872 catalogue, the department that Mrs. Cuscaden headed was renamed the Department of Higher English. The description of her qualifications now includes the statement “...she having been identified for several years with public schools of Ohio.” In addition to teaching the courses listed for her department, Cuscaden is listed as teaching Algebra and Botany.


Combined from the school website and Wikipedia (also the source of the two photos.)

Hiram College is a private liberal arts college in Hiram, Ohio, founded in 1850 as the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute.  The college is nonsectarian and coeducational and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Hiram's most famous alumnus is James A. Garfield, who served as a college instructor and principal before he was elected the 20th President of the United States.

On June 12, 1849,  Amos Sutton Hayden and other members of the Disciples of Christ Church voted to establish an academic institution, which would later become Hiram College.  On November 7 that year, they chose the village of Hiram as the site for the school because the founders considered this area of the Western Reserve to be "healthful and free of distractions".  The following month, on December 20, the founders accepted the suggestion of Isaac Errett and named the school the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute and the school opened on November 27, 1850.

Western Reserve Eclectic Institute, Hiram, Ohio, 1858.
Photo from Wikipedia provided by Hiram College.

Many of the students came from the surrounding farms and villages of the Western Reserve, but the school soon gained a national reputation and students began arriving from other states.

During the years that it was the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute (1850–1867), the school had seven principals, the equivalent of today's college presidents.

The two that did the most in establishing and defining the nature of the institution were Disciple minister Amos Sutton Hayden, who led the school through its first six years, and James A. Garfield, who had been a student at the Institute from 1851–1853 and then returned in 1856 as a teacher. As principal, Garfield expanded the Institute's curriculum. He left the Institute in 1861 and in 1880 was elected the 20th President of the United States.

On February 20, 1867, the Institute incorporated as a college and changed its name to Hiram College.

Below: James A. Garfield (left), his wife Lucretia Rudolph Garfield (right) and other faculty, 1858.    Photo from Wikipedia provided by Hiram College.

In 1870, one of Garfield's best friends and former students, Burke A. Hinsdale, was appointed Hiram's president. Although there were two before him, Hinsdale is considered the college's first permanent president because the others served only briefly. The next president to have a major impact on the college was Ely V. Zollars, who increased enrollment significantly, established a substantial endowment and created a program for the construction of campus buildings. Later presidents who served for at least 10 years were Miner Lee Bates, Kenneth I. Brown, Paul H. Fall, Elmer Jagow, and G. Benjamin Oliver.

The complete history of Hiram College is on their website.


Scenes of Hiram Campus today, from the Hiram College website.



After her last term as Principal of the Ladies Department at Hiram in 1876-77, Marietta took a position in Florence, Alabama as Principal or President at the Florence Synodical Female College some time by 1880. 

(At this point, it isn't known conclusively that she went there directly after leaving Hiram, or if she came to Tampa first with her son Arthur in 1878 and then went to Florence, then returned to Tampa to become the Principal at HCHS in 1882.   It is more likely that she went to Florence from Hiram College.)

Her absence on the 1880 U.S. Census in Tampa is anindicator that she was in Florence, Ala. at the time.

The image on the right is courtesy of D. R. Curott's "More Signs of the Past.



Commisioner's report on education 1880

These images below are courtesy of D. R. Curott's "More Signs of the Past."




During the 1880's, most teachers had second occupations due to two factors: Salaries were meager and averaged between $150 and $180 per year. Teachers were paid in a lump sum at the end of the school year. These factors made it difficult for the Board to secure highly trained and qualified teachers. Thus, staffing has been a long-standing problem for the school district. Despite this, some early public school teachers went on to significant accomplishments.

Marietta came to Tampa in 1881 and joined her son,  Arthur W. Cuscaden, who came to Tampa in 1878.  By 1880, Arthur was in the citrus, cigar and real estate business, with orange groves in the area that would become Ybor City.  In 1890, he married Frances Robles, a daughter of Tampa pioneers Joseph and Mary Ann Robles. 

Marietta wasted no time "hanging out her shingle."  She probably had the highest teaching credentials of any woman or man to arrive in Tampa thus far.  With an actual teaching degree, she was qualified to teach the subjects she offered.  She wasn't someone who was just "good at teaching" and therefore decided to teach.  She had professional teaching experience and experience at the position of principal.  Even more, she had several impressive references.

Marietta offered what NO OTHER school had offered before--THREE types of programs:  Classical, Scientific and English.  Higher Math, Common English, Instrumental AND Vocal music, Painting and Drawing.

The ad at right ran on Dec. 17 & 29, 1881, and Jan. 5 & 12, 1882


It didn't take long for the county school board to take notice.  A month after advertising her school, Marietta had a job teaching the higher classes at the Tampa Free School-- $160, probably for one term.   Assuming the School Board had Marietta teaching the same courses, or at least the Math, Languages, and Scientific courses, we can safely say this was the start of Hillsborough County's most organized and complet Public High School curriculum.



According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index, today's prices in 2019 are 2,423.00% higher than average prices throughout 1882. The dollar experienced an average inflation rate of 2.38% per year during this period, meaning the real value of a dollar decreased.

In other words, $160 in 1882 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $4,036.80 in 2019, a difference of $3,876.80 over 137 years.

That's really not much for 5 or 6 months.




In 1882 the Hillsborough County Board of Education was operating 57 schools throughout the county at a cost of $4,225.  The great majority of these schools were scattered throughout the rival areas of the county. The Board actually contributed very little to the formation of many of these small "community schools". The local communities not only provided the facilities, but also provided furniture, materials, room and board and supplemental salary for their teachers. Many rural schools did not remain open as long as the Tampa schools. Board minutes stated that the term of instruction was set at five months except in Tampa schools where students went to school for 6 months. This provided additional work time on the farms for the students in the rural schools.



At the end of the school term, the school board met to estimate what funds would be needed to operate the fall term starting Oct. 1, 1882.


They concluded that $250 would be needed for teacher salaries at Tampa School No. 1, $100 for School No. 2, and the other 55 schools would get $75 each for teachers.

The Sunland Tribune printed this message from E. K. Foster, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, July 13, 1882:

 To the County Superintendents of Schools in Florida,  
     As the time is approaching for the selection of teachers for the next scholastic year, I take this method of calling your attention to the necessity that great care and the closest scrutiny should be observed by you in selecting teachers.  The teacher should be sufficiently educated himself to be able to educate others.  Your examinations should therefore be thorough, and no motive should enter in you selection of teachers but such as tend to improve the schools and scholars.  The teacher, during school hours, exerts a great influence into the moral character of those applying to teach, and should issue certificates only to those who you know, or have satisfactory reason to believe, are of good character.  Under no circumstances issue certificates to those who may be addicted to intemperance; their example to scholars is and would be very dangerous.       I hope the circular will receive due consideration.  One of the great needs of the school system in this State is a better class of teachers, and this can be secured only by proper discharge of your duty.
      I have issued, during the year, a number of first-class certificates.  I shall send to each of you a list of those holding these certificates, and if you know of any good reason, on account of their character, why they should not hold the same, you will please write me and I will investigate the matter at once.
      I will, in short time, address you a more general circular in connection with our mutual work--the bettering of our public schools.

Very Respectfully,
E. K. Foster,
Supt. of Public Instruction



The trustees of Tampa School, also known as Tampa School No. 1, which held classes at the Givens school house on Franklin St, asked the public to submit names of two teachers, male and female, to be considered for the teaching positions available in that district.

The Trib agreed that soliciting the public is a step in the right direction so that "harmony can be secured."








So after the lazy hazy days of the Tampa summer, the fall term started a tad behind schedule, with a Mr. Savage of Montgomery, Alabama, to be employed as Principal of Tampa School No. 1 and Mrs. Nunez as Assistant Principal in charge of the primary department.  This Oct. 17 article refers to primary classes having started "last Monday," but Oct. 17, 1882 was a Tuesday. So it's unclear as to if it started Oct. 16 or Oct. 9.  Apparently, the higher classes were waiting on Mr. Savage to arrive so they planned to start on the 23rd.

It's  highly likely that Marietta Cuscaden was a candidate for the position of Principal and teacher, but a later article could mean that the salary offered was insufficient.  The TOTAL funding for both teacher salaries at this school, as announced on June 22, was to be $250.


A search of the Tampa 1880 Census finds no suitable possibilities for Mr. Savage, but the Montgomery, Ala. 1880 Federal Census has one Mr. Savage with an occupation in the realm of education--a teacher.  He is 29 year old John Savage, born in Ireland of Irish parents, and boarding in the home of Richard Savage and his family.  Since John is listed last as a boarder, it indicates he wasn't a child of the head of house.  He was probably a nephew, possibly a son of a brother of Richard.


On the same day it was announced that Mr. Savage and Mrs. Nunez would be Principal and teachers of the public school, this short article might be an indication that Marietta thought she could earn her worth with her own school, this time in the Masonic Lodge building.



This Oct. 26, 1882 article states that the graded school system was now organized.  Marietta was hired to the position of Principal of the Tampa School when "Mr. Savage, the gentleman who was expected to teach the school had made other business arrangements and was therefore compelled to decline."

Being a highly qualified teacher/Principal and well worth keeping in the county school system, the School Board may have offered to pay her as much as she could make in her private school to take this position, "in order to have competent instruction in the High School Department, it is necessary to charge tuition." A clear distinction was made in reference to a High School Department.
Common English Studies.....$  5 per 5 mo. term
Higher Mathematics...........$  8 per 5 mo. term -->
French & Latin.........................$10 per 5 mo. term
First time Higher Math offered in a public school building.
"The rates are the same as those of Mrs. Cuscaden's private school, less apportionment of public funds." Does this disqualify it from being a public school?   No, the tuition was being charged by the County School Board, not by Marietta.  Marietta was being paid by the county what she would have earned privately.  The county would charge tuition by that same amount they paid Marietta,  less the amount apportioned by the County not used to cover the rest of the operating costs, including the salary of Mrs. Nunez.



Arthur W. Cuscaden
City Council President
June 5, 1902 – June 5, 1904




Born in Ohio on June 8, 1859, Arthur Weston Cuscaden was a graduate of Hiram College. He settled in Tampa in 1878 and planted one of the first orange groves in the city. He remained active in the citrus industry until his retirement. Cuscaden also worked in the cigar business. He ran for mayor in 1906, but lost to William H. Frecker. He served several terms as a member of the county’s school board and he had a son named Arthur Cuscaden, Jr., who also worked in the cigar industry. After his death in 1941, a park and pool in Ybor City was named in his honor. For many years the park had served as a gathering place for cigar workers in the neighborhood to play baseball, watch boxing matches, and meet up with their friends. The pool, designed by architect Wesley Bintz, opened in 1937.

Bio and photo from "The City Council of Tampa and Celebration of Old City Hall's Centennial

More about the Robles family in Tampa  More about Arthur W. Cuscaden and the park named for him


As Doris Hill's 1911 school time capsule history stated, the Hillsborough Co. High School started as a department of Tampa School No. 1 on Franklin St.  There, a high school course was introduced for the first time in 1882 when Mary (Marietta) Cuscaden was principal and Wesley P. Henderson was County Superintendent.

Mrs. Cuscaden was principal for two years. In 1884, she was succeeded by Dr. Raymond, and in 1885, the latter was followed by Mr. B.C. Graham.  

In 1884 Marietta bought 80 acres of land in Township 29 south, Range 19 east--the northeast quarter of the southwest quarter, and the northwest quarter of the southeast quarter in section 3.  Today, this land is just southwest of the former Eastlake Mall where 50th street curves into 56th Street.


Township 29 south, Range 19 east outlined in yellow.

Close up of Section 3 showing Marietta's property today.
Place your cursor on the image to see satellite view


The 1885 state census of Florida lists widowed, 50-year-old Marietta Cuscaden as a teacher, living with her 24-year-old daughter Mary, who was a music teacher, and their 36-year-old male farm hand, living in an unincorporated area of Hillsborough County, surrounded by farmers. This location was probably the land she had obtained in 1884.

1885 Florida State Census, Hillsborough County



On  Nov. 4, 1887, Marietta's daughter died from Yellow Fever.  At the time, Tampa was experiencing a Yellow Fever epidemic, although the local paper, The Tampa Journal, refused to recognize it as such.  A list of the dead for the week published in the Nov. 10, 1887 Tampa Journal shows over SIXTY deaths.  Although the causes weren't listed, most, if not all, were likely due to Yellow Fever.  This was over TEN TIMES the normal number of deaths in a week.

Even after several weeks, when Dr. John P. Wall confirmed it was Yellow Fever, the Herald grudgingly admitted as to Yellow Fever, but continued to insist it wasn't an epidemic, that it was over and no longer a problem.  Tampa blamed its start on a visitor from Jacksonville, and so an animosity existed between the newspapers in both cities.  See "The Final Battle for Ft. Brooke" at TampaPix for more about this.

Mary L. Cuscaden was only 26 years old and passed away after only four days of suffering with the disease. This was A LOT of deaths for a week in Tampa.

At right is a transcription of the original article as it appeared in the Journal.  It was extremely faded almost to the point of being illegible.  Enhancement was not much more legible.



By 1900, Marietta served as the secretary for the Tampa branch of the American Theosophical Society.  The society was founded in 1875 in New York City and was dedicated to promoting the unity of humanity; to foster religious and racial understanding by encouraging the study of religion, philosophy and science; and to further the discovery of the spiritual aspect of life and of human beings. 

The Theosophist 1901

The 1910 Census in Tampa shows Marietta lived in her own home which she owned, at 1317 Michigan Ave.  She was widowed, age 76, living alone and indicated she was living on her own income, but no occupation indicated.

On her last census, 1920, she was living with her son Arthur and his family at 1312 Michigan Ave. 

Arthur W. Cuscaden was 60, his wife Frances was 54.  Their 3 sons Arthur W. Jr. 27, Ernest M. 23, and Thomas W. 20.  Only Ernest was married; his wife Margaretta (21) and child Arthur W. III (1 yr 8 mos) were also living there.


Marietta lived a long life, through all the subsequent locations of Hillsborough High School, and died at age 93 in Tampa, on Sept. 3, 1927.


More about Arthur Cuscaden and Cuscaden Park and Pool




In 1885, the School Board sold the school property on the 500 block of Franklin St. to Sparkman and Sparkman (which in 1911 was known as Sparkman block), and purchased an entire block on Jefferson Street, between Henderson Street and Estelle Street.   (Ybor's 6th Ave. was called Henderson St. north of downtown).  Under the guidance of Superintendent Wesley P. Henderson, a new 8-room schoolhouse was built on this property on Jefferson St. at a cost of $4,735 for the purpose of teaching elementary and high school classes.


Superintendent Wesley P. Henderson was given much of the credit for organizing the scattered programs and limited resources throughout the large county into a unified system, Hillsborough County Public Schools. Some of the most significant early advances occurred during his tenure as superintendent. For example, it was under his leadership that the first "modem" building was constructed with the intent of providing an "organized high school curriculum"  to all children in the county.



1892 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from University of Florida Digital Collection
Streets have been added to aid in identification


At the beginning of the term in 1886, the High School and Tampa School No. 1 moved into this new home where it remained for six years.   B. C. Graham taught the eighth grade and the high school together in the same room.  A little later the high school department was moved to a room on the west end of the building, but was not yet separated from the grade school. 




This 1898 photo shows Hillsborough County High School's (1886-1892) second home--at 6th Avenue & Jefferson St.  The photo was taken about 6 years after the high school had moved out and the building became the location of only the public county primary or ("grade") school.

Thanks to Rex Gordon, HHS historian, for locating and sharing the photo of Hillsborough County High School's
second home..  Photo from Biennial Report, Superintendant of Public Instruction, State of Florida, published in 1899.


From E. L. Robinson's History of Hillsborough County

In 1886, on the recommendation of Wesley P. Henderson, who resigned his position as county superintendent to take up other work, and from the many candidates for the position, the governor appointed as Henderson's successor Mr. Ludwig W. Buchholz who was then teacher of the school in Bloomingdale.  Mr. Buchholz bad been trained in one of the teacher training schools of Germany, had taught there for a few years and then, because of impaired health had come to sunny Florida to seek renewed health. His enthusiasm for education and his skill as a teacher had been well exemplified in the rural school at Bloomingdale and as a result he was called to this greater work. He continued as county superintendent until 1901 when be became professor of philosophy and pedagogy at the Florida State College in Tallahassee.


Ludwig Wilhelm Buchholz
Photo from E. L. Robinson's
"History of Hillsborough County."


In January 1887, Mr. Wesley P. Henderson resigned as County Superintendent and, in his place, Mr. L. W. Buchholz was appointed by Governor Perry.  

Read about Wesley P. Henderson here on this page about the Henderson family.



In these times, a Grand Jury not only reviewed criminal activity, it also looked into the general condition of various aspects of the county and reported on it to the county judge.  Here, Henry C. Ferris, a prominent businessman in the community, reported the Jury's findings of the Fall Term of the Court, 1886.  This article has been edited to show only the portion pertaining to the school matters.

Overall, the Jury gave a favorable report of the school system and the County School Board, in particular for building "the large and commodious house at this place, and in the establishment of a High Graded School successful operation...and a total attendance of something like 200 pupils."

There was a minimum amount of residents necessary in an area before a school could be established there.  Because there was already $1,791 in the School Fund, with $1,300 more funding coming in the year, the Grand Jury felt that the County was well financed so  recommended that the minimum amount of residents needed in an area be reduced so that more schools could be established in those sparsely populated areas.

Read this Nov. 3, 1886 article.

Superintendent Buchholz toured the schools  in late April 1887 and gave "forcible and enthusiastic" praise for the management of the school system.

Read this Apr. 28, 1887 article.

The new school became one of the advantages of buying property in Highland Park in the developing Tampa Heights suburb.

 See a Mar. 10, 1887 ad which mentions the construction of a board walk to Highland Park.

 See the Aug. 25, 1887 real estate ad for Highland Park that the above comes from.






In 1892, the high school department moved into a new building erected by the City of Tampa and had two regular teachers. This building is situated just south of the old building on Jefferson and Henderson Streets (6th Ave.)  During its four years in this building the library had accumulated a nice collection and such chemical apparatus as needed for experiments in chemistry.  In 1894, upon the recommendation of Superintendent Buchholz, the High School was made a separate and distinct institution and was permanently separated from the grade school. It was at this time that B.C. Graham became the high school principal with duties confined to the High School. This change was a great improvement over the previous arrangement.  In 1896, the building, now called the Tampa Heights Primary School building, was enlarged and arranged for a primary school.

This 1903 Sanborn Fire Insurance map below shows (2) the previous 1886 location of the high school now marked in 1903 as "PUBLIC SCHOOL." The wood structure (3) below it (south) was the newer building occupied by Hillsborough County  high school from 1892 to 1896.  In 1896 the high school moved out and that building was enlarged (eventually becoming the Tampa Heights Primary School referenced by Doris Hill in 1911.)  By the time of this 1903 Sanborn map,  the high school had moved on to its 4th and 5th locations, and this location became the grammar school as seen here.

The above image of the building is a cropped area of a postcard depicting the school circa 1905 after it had already been enlarged and became the primary school.  The enlargement probably didn't affect the appearance of the front portion seen here.

Enhanced & cropped by TampaPix, the postcard image courtesy of
Hometown Currency Virtual Museum - Florida Alligator Border Postcards


It appears that the 1896 enlargement of the former 3rd high school location was the 1-story portion of the structure comprising the west (left) portion of the building. "W.C." stood for "water closet"-- outhouses.

(You probably noticed that there is no front door.  Some post cards of this time period were created from photographs enhanced by an artist, especially in areas that were too dark to show detail.  It's possible the artist just didn't have a door in mind when he/she enhanced this photo.)



*He became principal of HCHS in 1894. the year of this publication, not "about ten years ago" (~1884).

Professor Graham was born April 3, 1847, in Lowndesboro, Alabama. He received his early education principally under his father, the Rev. J. W. Graham, who was an ardent admirer of Horace Mann and David Page, and for many years one of the most noted teachers of Alabama. In 1868, he was graduated from Hampden Sidney college, Va. Soon after [1869?] he was appointed principal of the male academy in Madisonville, Tenn. One year later [1870?] he was elected professor of mathematics in Hiwassee college, Tenn., and later on [1871?] became the president of that college.

For the last twenty-two years [since 1872?] he has been prominently engaged in teaching in Florida. About ten years ago [1884? No, see footnote]  the people of Tampa, realizing his ability as a teacher, called him to the principalship of the Tampa high school.*  This position he has held ever since to the great satisfaction of teachers, students, patrons, and school officers. Besides the solid work in the class-room, Prof. Graham has done much for the advancement of the new education by lecturing in public meetings and state and county teachers' associations. At the last meeting of the State Teachers' association he was elected president. He is one of the leaders in the South, and has been prominently connected with movements for the elevation of its schools.


B. C. Graham was the 3rd of eleven children of Rev. J. Whitfield Graham and Sarah Catherine Smith.  Benjamin's wife, Sally Gates, was a  granddaughter of Josiah Gates, the first white settler in the Manatee Settlement (Bradenton), Florida. B.C. was a brother of noted Tampa judge William Shelby Graham.


Concluded from Doris Hill's history as the primary credible source of this time in Tampa, combined with the above publication with approximate dates calculated from the text.

1847 Born in Lowndesboro, Ala. Benjamin Chalmers Graham
Detail from photo below Circa 1900


1868 Graduated from Hampden Sidney
1869 "Soon after" principal of the male academy in Madisonville, Tenn.
1870  "A year later" professor of Math at Hiwassee, TN
1871 "...and later on" president of that college.
1872 "prominently engaged in teaching in Florida"
1886 Teaching the High School & 8th grade in the same room, in the new building at location #2, the same building as the grade school.  In the latter years of this teaching period the high school dept. was physically moved to its own room on the west end of the building, but still in the same building as the grade school.
1892 Teaching the high school department in new building at location #3 with two regular teachers.
1894 Becomes High School Principal while still teaching at location #3, when Supt. Buchholz makes the high school a "separate and distinct institution"--a change in organization, but no physical location change.



The Gates family reunion, circa 1900 photo below was provided by Louis Edwin Gates, Jr., son of Louis Edwin Gates and Mary Virginia Hefner, to Sally E. Tait Quinn, granddaughter of Louis Edwin Gates and Mary V. Hefner Gates, who then provided it for use here.

A world of thanks to all the Gates family members who made this image possible here.
Place your cursor on the photo to identify family members

Picture taken in front of Rev. Edward Franklin Gates' home in Manatee, circa 1900, now East Bradenton, Florida. 
Terms of relationship in quotes ("Grandma," "Uncle," etc.) are what Louis Edwin Gates called them; he provided the photo and names, and was grandson of #1 and 2.

Children of Rev. E. F. Gates & Euphemia Hubbard Gates are in red.

  1. Rev. Edward Franklin Gates "Grandpa" (son of Josiah Gates, first settler in the Manatee/Bradenton settlement).
. Euphemia (Feemie) Hubbard Gates "Grandma". 
. Samuel Chaires Gates "Uncle Sammy", son of 1 and 2.
Lula Curry Gates "Aunt Lula", first wife of 3. 
Roy Gates, son of 3 and 4  

Sally Gates Graham, "Aunt Sally", daughter of 1 and 2, wife of 7.  
Benjamin C. Graham, "Uncle Ben".  
Katy Graham (later Dickens), daughter of 6 and 7. 
  9. Bertha Graham (later Anderson), daughter of 6 and 7.
10. Robin Graham (later Sutton), daughter of 6 and 7.  
Gladys Graham, never married, daughter of 6 and 7. 
Annie Laurie Graham, (later Allgood), daughter of 6 and 7.
Rev. Edward Josiah Gates, "Uncle Eddie", son of 1 and 2.
14. Esther Rebecca Wartmann, first wife of 13.  
Dr. Hubbard Gates, my papa, son of 1 and 2. 
Lilla Corbett Gates, my mama, first wife of 15. 
Olin Edward Gates, my oldest brother, son of 15 and 16.
Ralph V. Gates, my second oldest brother, son of 15 and 16.
19. Laurie Gates, "Uncle Laurie" (later marr. Pearl) son of 1 and 2.
20. Josiah Olin Gates (later married Bertha Alice Stetler), Son of 1 and 2.
21. Chester Gates (infant obscured, on lap of 14), baby of 13 and 14.  

I (Louis Edwin Gates) was born in 1902 and my youngest brother, Kyle was born ~1905.

The information above is the result of slight modifications (on Oct. 16, 2009) by Louis E. Gates, Jr. from what his father originally provided.  The photo was provided by Louis Edwin Gates, Jr., son of Louis Edwin Gates and Mary Virginia Hefner, to Sally E. Tait Quinn, granddaughter of Louis Edwin Gates and Mary V. Hefner Gates, who then provided it for use here.

A world of thanks to all the Gates family members who made this image possible here.

B. C. Graham family from  Genealogical Record of the Descendants of Col. Alexander McAllister, of Cumberland County, N. C ... by David Smith McAllister



Owing to the disastrous freeze of 1895, the plan of Supt. Buchholz to erect a brick building for the High School had to be postponed. Accordingly, the school was taught for one year in the old Baptist Church on the corner of Twiggs and Tampa Streets.



By relocating the high school in the old Baptist church, students found themselves back in nearly the center of Tampa’s business community.



Photo from"Exploring Florida"
Courtesy of the Special Collections Department, University of South Florida.
Digitization provided by the USF Libraries Digitization Center.



The 1903 map below shows the same location but in 1903.  The brick building Tampa Steam laundry on the corner has replaced the old Baptist church.  The green arrow indicates the direction from which the next photo of the laundry was taken.


Towne's Tampa Steam Laundry as seen from the intersection of Tampa St (on the right) and Twiggs (in front of the building, to the left.)
Take a good look at the decorative miniature arches trim on the front facade just above the 2nd floor porch roof.
Photo from  "Tampa Illustrated" at Internet Archive, compiled and published by C. E. Bissell and Roy Dougherty in 1903.
Photo by Fred Barker.


Today, this building still occupies this corner, but with countless remodeling and renovation.

Underneath all this paint, plaster, stucco and facing is that same old brick building from circa 1899!






From 1897 to 1900, the High School was over the Post-Office, located in the Wright Block on the corner of Madison Street and Florida Avenue.




Both the School Board and the students wanted a building they could call their own, but instead what they got was a lease. The students  were happy to learn that it was a short term lease, because the property which they had obtained consisted of four rooms on the upper floor of a the Wright building, a brick building on the northwest corner of Madison St. and Florida Avenue, the remainder of which was occupied by The Tampa Daily Times printing office and a post office on the first floor.

The school remained in this location from 1897 to the end of the school year 1900. During the first year the high school occupied three rooms, but in the second year, four were needed. This showed an increase in enrollment and led to the addition of two new teachers and additional course requirements.

It was in this atmosphere that the school newspaper, then called The Donnybrook Fair, was established and published, possibly because of their sharing the Times' printing office.


The 1899 map above shows the school location at the northwest corner of Florida Avenue and Madison St.  The post office occupied the first floor, with some vacant space behind it.  The high school was on the 2nd floor, along with the Daily Times printing office.  Across Florida Avenue is shown "R.C. Church" (Roman Catholic) and in blue, the "Church of St. Louis" currently under construction.  This was soon renamed the Sacred Heart church.

During the time the school was in this location, the U.S. became involved in the Spanish American War in 1898.  It was on April 12, 1898 that founder of the American Red Cross Clara Barton stayed a night at the Arno Hotel on Tampa St. after having left Cuba due to the explosion on the USS Maine battleship and the ensuing declaration of war by the U.S. on Spain.  She had her luggage fumigated at the Tampa Steam laundry, which on this map has replaced the old Baptist church where the high school was previously located.

Clara Barton and her American Red Cross entourage on the porch of J. Mack Towne's home in Hyde Park.  Towne was the owner of Tampa Steam Laundry.  Read more about Clara's visit to Tampa.




 The map below shows the block of the school's 5th location just before (1895) the high school was located there. The Wright Building site of the high school was the only former livery stable location and was made of brick as stated by E. L. Robinson.  The diagonal lines indicate this was a stable.  As seen on this 1895 map, it was once the home of Tampa Livery Sale & Transfer Co., a 2-story brick building on the northwest corner of Florida Ave. and Madison.

The Livery Stable, 1895






A new school building was needed but there was no legal way of raising money for building purposes, except to save it from the general school fund.









The year 1900 started off with Supt. Buchholz returning from the annual convention of Florida teachers with the honor of being elected President of the organization and plans to bring the members to Tampa next year.  He proposed to make every effort to build new schools in the county to "crown the last year of this century..."  But he was in favor of building grade schools for children first, not a high school.  He estimated 150 to 200 high school students that year, but "an army of 1,500 children in lower grades" who are getting along with scattered, overcrowded structures, "and this army is constantly increasing."  City council had already started conferring with county authorities to begin moving on a large and suitable building.


A tribune reader wrote as "Patron" with a view that Tampa needs FOUR school buildings, one in each district of Hyde Park, Tampa Heights, Ybor City, and near the present Washington School.  One could house the high school until a site could be chosen and a schoolhouse built. 

Fifteen seniors were named as the graduating class from the high school while located in the Wright Building above the Post Office.  This would be the final graduation of students attending this building.


Read the entire article



Thomas M. Shackleford, Jr.
A founder of the Shackleford Farrior law firm in Tampa
Photo from the publication featured at left.

On May 20, 1900, this short article appeared in the Tribune announcing that Mrs. T.M. Shackleford would be entertaining the graduates at her home in honor of her son.


Thomas Mitchell Shackleford, Jr.

Select excerpts below from:
T.M. Shackleford, Jr: A lifetime of quiet achievement (1884-1973),
by Judge Morison Buck,  Jan. 1, 2000. 

From USF Scholar Commons Digital Collection of Morison Buck's biographies

The only child of Thomas M. and Nannie Rhea Shackleford, Thomas Mitchell Shackleford, Jr. was born in 1884 in the rustic setting of tiny Brooksville.

The senior Shackleford (usually referred to as T. M.)  was a native of Fayetteville in south-central Tennessee, just a few miles south of Lynchburg.

After T.M. Sr.'s marriage to Nannie Rhea,  he did what many from the Volunteer State did before and after him; he moved to Florida, settling initially in Lake Weir.  About 1883, T. M. and his retinue moved west to Brooksville and remained there for about a decade. T.M. Jr’s mother died when he was three years of age and the following year his father married Lena A. (Jane) Wooten of Russelville, Kentucky, with whom he would have three children. One of these was R. W. (Bob) Shackleford who also became a trial lawyer in Tampa, first with his father, and later with J. Rex Farrior and others.

1884 was a banner year for the Shacklefords... after relocating in Tampa, T. M. [Sr.] quickly became prominent in Tampa, both professionally and politically. He forged a partnership with Hugh C. Macfarlane, a native Scot who began the practice in Tampa the year of T. M. Jr’s birth, and who was already a force in the legal and business community of Tampa. T. M. [Sr.] served for two years as City Attorney in Tampa before realizing his long-time ambition to gain a seat on the Florida Supreme Court. In 1902 he was appointed by his good friend and fellow Democrat, Governor William Jennings, and served with distinction and acclaim for several terms between 1902 and 1915, some of which as designated Chief Justice.

T. M. Shackleford Jr.'s participation in the May 17, 1900 High School commencement ceremony.

There was a lot going on in the Shackleford family as the 19th century was winding down. Number one son, T. M. Jr. was prepping for high school, and graduated from Tampa's Hillsborough High School in the first year of the 20th century. [1900 was the last year of the 19th century].

 Interviewed in 1959 by a reporter from The Tampa Times, [T.M. Jr.] he reminisced:

“When [I] graduated from Hillsborough High, there were 11 girls and 5 boys in the graduating class. We had sand streets and wooden sidewalks then, and Tibbett’s Corner at Franklin and Lafayette (Kennedy) streets was the gathering place for couples after a dance. Cocktail lounges were unknown, and an ice cream soda was a real treat. Tampa had perhaps 15,000 people then.”

The primary thrust of the Times story was that the 4th of July in 1900 was not recognized with the hoopla and festiveness common today. T. M. Jr. ventured that the Fourth was viewed somewhat suspiciously as a Yankee holiday, a remnant of the feelings engendered in the aftermath of the Civil War.

After high school, it was time to get intellectually prepared for a career in law, following the example set by his father, so T.M. Jr. attended the following secondary schools: John B. Stetson University, 1901-02; University of Florida, 1905 BA degree; University of Virginia, 1907 LLB degree. Phi Beta Kappa and Blue Key. The University of Florida, incidentally, bestowed an honorary LLD degree upon his father, Justice Shackleford, in 1910. After receiving his law degree from UVA, it was back to Tampa for the 23 year old new lawyer. Tampa was growing apace during the first quarter of the last century. So, indeed, was Shackleford’s reputation for intellect, diligence and professionalism.

In 1910 he became the junior partner in Caraballo & Shackleford, located in the old American National Bank Bldg (the bank failed during the Great Depression). Martin Caraballo and later his son were respected names in Tampa's legal community. In 1912, while living at the YMCA, Shackleford had an office in Exchange National Bank Building. The following year he took space with C. C. Whitaker in Citizens Building. The year 1915 saw his appointment as Referee in Bankruptcy, a judicial responsibility which gives him eligibility for this biographical series. He and his brother, R.W. (Bob) Shackleford, a splendid trial lawyer, and his father (who had just concluded his noteworthy tenure on the Supreme Court of Florida) teamed up for a time in the location last mentioned.

One of the longest of his early associations was with Marcus F. Brown (Shackleford & Brown) with some noted associates including: Morris E. White, J. Rex Farrior and George T. (Pat) Shannon, in what was the embryo of the fabled [Shackleford Farrior] firm which for many years featured T. M. Jr. as its head. His dearest friend was Fred Thompson, after whom his second son was named, but he was also close to L. L. Parks, with whom he practiced as Shackleford & Parks commencing in 1919 and lasting until Parks appointment to Circuit Court in 1923. About 31 years later, Bar President O.D. Howell, Jr. appointed a committee to draft a resolution recognizing Judge Parks 30 years as Circuit Judge. It consisted of Judges O.K. Reaves and T. M. Shackleford, Jr. and this humble scrivener. [Author of this biography, Judge Morison Buck.]

One of Tampa’s most historic landmarks built in 1925 is the Tampa Theatre (Building). The theater opened in 1926 and records show that Shackleford & Brown became tenants there in 1927. Shack1eford & Brown was succeeded by Shackleford, Ivy, Farrior & Shannon. Prior to its fairly recent merger with an Orlando law firm, there were periodic changes to reflect new named partners in S-F, to-wit: Corbin Glos, Norman Stallings, and Thomas P. Evans. The subject firm is now (at the time of this writing in 2000) Gray, Harris, Robinson, Shackleford, Farrior.

After moving from the Tampa Theatre Building, S-F went into the Marine Bank Building where T. M.’s last years were focused. According to Martindale-Hubbell, usually a reliable source reflecting the structure of law firms, Mr. T.W. (as he was affectionately known to members and staff alike at the firm) was until the 1969 edition listed as the first named partner in Shackleford Farrior. He is shown as “Of Counsel” in that and later editions until his death on January 10, 1973.

Read this entire biography, it contains many memories by those who knew T.W Jr. personally.


Death of 29 year old high school teacher Cora Henry from Typhoid Fever on July 11, 1900.

1900 Census of Cora Henry, Tampa, June 6.

Cora Henry was living with her brothers and sister at 108 Oak Ave., all were natives of Louisiana.
Walter was an electric lineman, Guy was a painter.



In mid-July, the school board decided to build new schools at Harney and Chitto [sic] Creek.  They also decided to assist financially in building new schools at Valrico, Evergreen and Fishhawk. They decided against building one at Sidney. Supervisors were appointed at 3 locations.  They resolved to construct a new high school building on the school lot in Tampa Heights and authorized plans to begin.  They also resolved to add a business course to the curriculum.  Finally, they appointed several grade school teachers. 


Read this article.


On the same day, the Tribune published its approval of the Board's decisions, and urged the general public to assist in whatever means they could.


Read this article.



In the latter half of July, 1900, Supt. Buchholz met with the architect Miller of the firm of R. B. McGeckin, and discussed plans.  The school would be built on the same property it occupied at its 2nd & 3rd location, having an acre at its disposal.  


Read this article.


On July 26, the notice to contractors for construction bids was placed in the Tribune.  The new building was to be completed by Oct. 6, 1900.


Read this article.



In late July, Supt. Buchholz had already bought equipment for the school--some type of apparatus which the manufacturer claimed would give the same results as other equipment costing thousands of dollars per year in maintenance alone.  Other updates were described for window furnishings and electricity for the auditorium and teacher's room.  Lighting wasn't necessary for the classes as they were to be held during daylight hours. 


Read this article.





Buchholz was also displaying a sample student desk at his office.  It was made of finely polished oak with cherry finish.  On Aug. 1 it was announced that the bid deadline for contractors would be extended.






On Aug. 2, 1900, the Tribune published the county's plans for the new high school building which was to be completed by Oct. 6, 1900.  Architect R. B. McGeckin designed it to be a 2-story frame building in the classical style, with special attention given to heat, light and ventilation.  It would be graceful, yet imposing, and have a marble block with the year of completion near the peak of the roof.  A covered porch was to run the complete length of the first floor.  It would have 10 rooms--8 classrooms and a teachers & library room, as well as an apparatus room.  The first floor would consist of 4 classrooms, the teachers room, and the library.  The 2nd floor would have 3 classrooms, an assembly room and the apparatus room.  It would be possible to design the assembly room so it could be divided using sliding doors, for use as 2 or 3 classrooms.


Read this article.


On Aug. 3, 1900, the Tribune announced names of new teachers at various schools, an update on the high school furniture being moved from the Wright building, and bidding info for the new building.

Read this article.



Aug. 8 - More new county teachers were named along with their schools, contractors began work on new high school, to be completed by Oct. 1.

 Read this article.

Aug. 9 - The building contract was awarded to Walker & Hester for $6,190. The design was by architect firm G. C. McGeckin, aided by Superintendent Buchholz regarding light, ventilation, acoustics, etc.  Construction had already begun on the brick pillars.

Read this article.



Aug. 16 - The McGeckin architectural design firm designed homes in NY for R. E. Slade of the Tampa Waterworks Co.  Read this article. 

Read this article.

Sep. 25 - All city schools opened on the 24th except the high school, which was still under construction.  Work continued with enrolling the former students and examining the new ones.  The names of the teachers and principals for the four opened schools were announced. 

Read this article.


Oct. 7 - The high school was to be completed by end of month and classes would then start. 

Read this article

Oct. 11 - The school board inspected the building and liked what they saw.  They were to have a meeting in the afternoon but Dr. Symmes of Peru (now Riverview) was sick so it was postponed.

Read this article

Oct. 12 - The BPI announced names of the new high school principal and teachers.

Read this article




By careful management after the freeze of 1895, money was saved and through the special efforts of Supt. Buchholz, the frame building on the south end of the school property on the corner of Jefferson and Estelle Streets, our present home, was erected in 1900 at a contract price of $5,1003 dollars. This well-planned building has two stories and contains an assembly hall, six large rooms, science laboratories, several small rooms, a library, an auditorium and an office. It was large enough to accommodate as many as 250 high school students--ample room for the number of pupils enrolled at that time.  3The bid was $6,190

This building housed a real county high school, with a standard four-year course, which immediately became recognized as a leading high school of the state.

Mr.  J. W. McClung was principal from 1900 to 1907.   During the next two years, 1907 and 1908,  Dr. E. M. Hyde was principal. Then in 1909,  Mr. E. L. Robinson was appointed principal.

Oct. 17 - The new high school was completed on Oct. 16.  Classes to start the following Monday (Oct. 22) but new furniture had not yet arrived. Oct. 21 - School will start tomorrow, students will be assigned to their classes. A large number of students were expected.  Principal J. W. McClung will have charge, his first assistant was Miss Katharine Wicker and will teach English and History.  Mrs. D.B. McKay to teach Spanish and Science. (Continued at lower left.)

At right, continued: Mrs. F. N. Clayton in charge of D class.(?) A teacher will be added later for the commercial department.

An error by the furniture supplier caused only the wood portions of the desks to arrive.  Since the iron portions would be received later, the school would be using chairs for the students. It was planned for primary & grammar school students to attend their classes in designated rooms at the new high school building due to their insufficient accommodations at their respective schools, but that plan was delayed as well due to the lack of desks.

The school opened October 22, 1900 to 125 students. Chairs were used to seat the pupils since there were no desks. Supt. Buchholz made some opening remarks and introduced their principal, Prof. McClung. Students were quickly assigned to their classes, and cards were given to them on which they wrote their full name, residence, whether or not vaccinated, what grade they were promoted to, and what studies they were deficient in.  They were informed of what textbooks would be used, and given their lessons for the next day.

"System" was the watch-word; with everything arranged to be the most efficient. The rule of allowing only students who were qualified to enroll in the grade level was to be strictly enforced, as well as the care of the new building and its fixtures.

The postcard image below shows the school's former location No. 3 on the right some time from 1900 to 1910 when this postcard was designed. That building had been enlarged by then, having been vacated by the high school in 1896.

Post card image courtesy of Hometown Currency Virtual Museum - Florida Alligator Border Postcards, digitally altered and enhanced by TampaPix.




Although it appears that the enlarging was done at the rear of the location #3 building, looking at the Sanborn maps, the front facade may have been remodeled and improved as seen in the postcard, but probably not by much. (The lack of a door could be due to the artist who created the post card image from the original photo probably could not see much detail in the photo if the porch area was shaded and underexposed.)



The 1903 map at left shows the 2nd, 3rd and 6th locations of Hillsborough County High School. 

#2 - The 1886 to 1892 combined location of Tampa School #1 and Hillsborough County High School.

#3 - The 1892 to 1896 location of Hillsborough County High School.

#6 - The 1900 to 1911 location of Hillsborough County High School seen in the photo above and the photos below.







 Oct. 25, 1900 - Despite a few "usual embarrassments" associated with moving into a new building, the operation of the new school was progressing smoothly. The lack of desks didn't cause any great inconvenience due to use of temporary furniture. Principal McClung is described as a "first-class disciplinarian and instructor."

Nov. 4, 1900 - The rest of the parts for the desks arrived and plans were in the making to assemble them and have them ready for Monday (next day.)  It was expected that then there would be enough room to accommodate the Tampa Heights Grammar and Primary school children who were unable to start school due to overcrowding in those adjacent buildings.


In late November a business course taught by Prof. L. M. Hatton was offered at the high school.  Hatton was the principal at Tampa Business College.  Complete courses in bookkeeping, stenography and typing would be offered, in addition to other commercial courses.  In late Feb. of that year, Hatton had moved the college to the Davis block, which was the west side of the  700 block of Franklin St.  Today, this is where the TECO Plaza building is located.


In early January 1901 the final details of construction were completed, and already it was noted that although the students would be comfortably and adequately housed, the new building didn't fulfill the deficiency of space needed due to the large increase in student population over the past two years. 

Supt. Buchholz provided the final costs: The board's next meeting (tomorrow) would be its last under the present administration with Buchholz as superintendent.  On the 8th, a new board was to take office. "It leaves a record of faithful service and devotion to duty..."
Contract $6,190.00
Extras $     69.68
Improvements $2,186.88
Total completed & Equipped $8,446.56



Professor Hatton's Tampa Business College (TBC) had its roots in a school that was started in Tampa under that same name in 1891* by B. B. Euston.  Originally on the corner of Franklin St. and Harrison, by June 1892, the college had moved to the corner of Whiting and Marion streets.  A few years later it would merge with a different business school, Tampa Business University, which was established in Tampa in in 1895 by R. N. Hadley. 

*Later ads by Euston claim TBC started in 1890.

Read more about Tampa Business College, how it became Tampa Business University, and the circumstances of a the start of a new Tampa Business College by L. M. Hatton, here at TampaPix on a separate page.






In January 1901, Mr. Buchholz accepted a position in the Florida State College at Tallahassee. Mr. B.C. Graham, who up to that time had been principal, succeeded Mr. Buchholz as County Superintendent, which office he held until 1904, when he was succeeded by Mr. W.B. Dickenson, who also occupied that position for a term.

In 1908, Mr. Buchholz was again elected as County Superintendent, which place he holds at the present time.





Students on the steps of Hillsborough County High School, 1905.
This was not the entire student body, as there would have been over 140 students attending at the time.
Photo from Exploring Florida


Above, the Burgert Bros. photo that was used for a postcard presented in Rob Kaiser's book, "Tampa - The Early Years."  Although it is very similar to the one below, there are slight differences.  The postcard shows damage to the picket fence and a general state of disrepair.  The photo shows no damage.  Other differences are the door, foliage and direct sunlight casting sharp shadows on the postcard.


Postcard image courtesy of eBay seller Gold Coast where a year of 1910 has been attributed. 
It could have been made after the school was vacated in 1911. Notice the front door.

It's from this building that on Feb. 15, 1911, Doris Hill completed her history of Hillsborough County High School
for inclusion in the new building's cornerstone time capsule.  On the right can be seen the 3rd location of the high school.

[Insert articles / events from 1901 - 1904 re Graham Supt. administration.]


B. C. Graham's term as county schools superintendent would end  Jan. 2, 1905.  Campaigning for the "first primary" to be held on May  10, 1904 started in early February, 1904. 

For reasons not yet determined by TampaPIx, elections in Tampa in these times were referred to as a "Primary," whether it was one to determine which candidates would run in the final election, or the final election itself.  It may have just been terminology used only by newspapers.  So as illogical as it sounds, this "primary" was the "primary primary" and there would be a "second primary" to determint the winner on June 8th.

See the rest of these articles in their entirety, B. C. Graham's campaign (or lack thereof) and response, election results, and various articles about Graham until the time of his death and some tributes to him afterwards. 

Here at the conclusion of B. C. Graham.






Feb. 14, 1907 - The Tribune published an article which appeared in the most recent issue of the high school's newspaper, The Donnybrook Fair, detailing the need for a new building.  The Tribune reasoned that "the best critic of any condition is one who is brought into daily contact with it and has to suffer in consequence." It also stated that "environment has much to do with our enjoyment of any of the blessings or pleasures of life...Young people are peculiarly susceptible to the teaching of their surroundings." 

The writer for the school newspaper says, "Six years ago we planted ourselves on the edge of the 'scrub;' now we are in the midst of it."  Their view was the county jail, "fluttering lines of clothes, or in a word, the tenderloin of Tampa."  Referring to the school as "a cheap frame building situated in the dirtiest part of town."  They wanted a gymnasium, "for this is found in nearly all modern schools and its usefulness is not questioned."  Their auditorium was too small to hold the entire student body, so "no entertainments and no lectures can be given."  The Trib ends by asking, "Is it not a self-evident proposition?"




In the mid 1800s, the north side of the Ft. Brooke government reservation ran east and west along Whiting street. The streets, as yet, were merely trails winding through the scrub palmetto.  Over the years, as the town of Tampa grew northward from Whiting St., the undeveloped territory on the north side of town continued to be called "the scrub."

In noted Tampa historian Tony Pizzo's oral interview by USF,  printed in Tampa Bay History Magazine in their Spring/Summer 1980 issue, Pizzo touched on the topic of the Scrub:

“The Scrub” started as a small Negro settlement which surrounded a lumber mill near Oaklawn Cemetery. Tampa was a village then, its northern fringe extended to Lafayette Street (Kennedy Boulevard). The Negro settlement got its name from the scrub palmettos which covered the area. Some of the first blacks to inhabit “the Scrub” came from the Bahamas. When many of the lumber mills in the interior began to close down in the 1890s, many of the black lumberjacks drifted into the quarters. This is how Tampa's first black community emerged. When Ybor City was established in 1886, two miles to the east of Tampa, the black community found itself in the middle of a wilderness sandwiched between the Cracker village of Tampa on the one side and the Latin village on the other. In time Tampa and Ybor City began to grow in all directions and “the Scrub” remained in the center, a lost and forgotten world. When a movement was starting for the clearing of “the Scrub” I remember Curtis Hixon, then mayor, telling me while flying to Havana, “we must do something to better the living conditions of our black people.

“The Scrub” was a world of its own. No one ventured into that quarter. Only those who lived there frequented the place. There were no paved streets. The houses were placed at random – thrown together in an incomprehensible maze. The frame houses dated to the 1880s; they were weather beaten, shabby, and literally uninhabitable. It was probably the worst slum area in the state. I remember a news story referring to “the Scrub” as a cesspool in the heart of town. It was a frightful place forgotten by time.

So when these people were displaced, where were they to go? Ybor City was the logical area. Many of the Latins were beginning to build new homes in other areas. Real estate agents grasped a golden opportunity and began selling Ybor City houses to the blacks who had nowhere to go. These agents gouged the black man, selling houses for more than double their worth. Many of the Ybor City houses were very old and in dire need of repair.

This 1926 photo of the scrub section of Tampa is from the Burgert Bros. collection at the Tampa-Hillsborough Co. Public Library.  It shows the scrub section on the left, leading into Ybor City on the right.  The area outlined in red is the location of HCHS locations 2, 3 and 6.  The black water tank was used in Tampa's first waterworks at Jefferson St. and 6th Avenue and was situated caddy-corner from the school property.




In late march of 1907, the Tampa Chamber of Commerce and the Hillsborough County school board became involved in an almost completely one-sided controversy concerning a geography textbook published by Tarr-McMurry which was being used in the schools of Tampa.  Lighting the fire and stirring the pot was the editor of the Tampa Times, Edwin Dart Lambright. He contended that the book was contentious and teemed with misrepresentation, and that it was "colored greatly with scurrilous remarks derogatory to the South."

At a special meeting of the Tampa Chamber of Commerce, only two disagreed with the contentions.  City Superintendent & High School Principal J. W. McClung considered the books "non-sectional and proper for use in Tampa," since they were being used in other Southern states and did not consider them prejudicial to the interests of the Southland.  A young attorney named Mr. Turner, who recently came to Tampa and was practicing in the law office of Peter O. Knight, defended the passages others thought to be objectionable, citing them as "true and fair."  Several who spoke at the meeting believed the book to be prejudiced against the South, but also believed that the Chamber of Commerce had no authority to be dealing with the issue, that it should be a matter of the school board.

[Unfortunately, online issues of the Evening Times before 1912 are unavailable, and may not even exist anywhere.  It appears that Lambright detailed examples of the debated content in his columns; the Tribune didn't.]

The ensuing controversy over the book enflamed the rage of pro-Confederacy Tampa. The most vehement protests came from Confederate Civil War veterans, one of whom was the police station keeper who wanted all the Tarr-McMurry books in the county collected and burned, and then advocated the burning in effigy the responsible members of the board who allowed or suggested the books be used. 

To conserve some time in loading this feature due to high image content, these entire articles concerning the meetings and actions can be seen by clicking the article titles.

 When it opens, click it again to see it full size.
















 Agriculture - Cotton



In early May, 1907, the staff of the Donnybrook Fairy once again voiced the students' desire for a new school building, and again, the Tribune was sympathetic to their cause, even to the point of encouraging them to "Continue the agitation."  The Trib expressed the opinion that the same authorities that rightfully banned the Tarr-McMurry geographies should show just as much zeal in securing a "proper building , with surroundings which they need not be ashamed."



THE REMAINDER OF DORIS HILL'S TIME CAPSULE HISTORY - The present faculty and course of study

The High School Faculty at the present time is composed of Mr. E. L. Robinson, principal, Mr. Fritz Buchholz, instructor in German and Mathematics, Mr. F. S. Wetzel, Science teacher, Mrs. Sarah McCreery, Latin instructor, Mrs. L. B. Bradford, English teacher, Miss M. Sparkman, teacher of Spanish and History, Miss Butler, instructor in History and Biology, Miss J. E. Rutland, teacher of English and Algebra and Miss Hulda Kreher, director of the Orchestra.


The course of study from time to time has changed. The course which was adopted in September 1910 and which is in use at the present time is as follows:

Freshman Class: Beginning Latin or Biology, Algebra to Quadratics, English Grammar and Composition, Ancient History.

Sophomore Class: Caesar or Biology, Plane Geometry, Rhetoric and American Literature, Modern History.

Junior Class: Cicero, Algebra from Quadratics, English Literature and Composition, Physics, Spanish, German.

Senior Class: Virgil, Solid Geometry and Plane Trigonometry, English Literature, Chemistry, Spanish, German, United States History and Civics.

A credit is given when a study is pursued for one school year with five recitations each week. It takes four years to complete the High School course. Sixteen credit marks, divided as follows, are required for graduation: English, four credits, History, three credits, Math, two credits, Physics, one credit, Foreign Language, two credits, Elective, four credits.

The High School Orchestra was organized about 1904. The Orchestra contains eighteen pieces, including one piano, eleven violins, two cornets, one triangle, three mandolins, and is effectively directed by Miss Hulda Kreher.



The High School paper, which is published monthly throughout the term by the students, is another interesting feature of our school. In 1899, when it was first published, it had but four pages and was printed like a newspaper.  Its name was then “Donnybrook Fair." For two years, 1907 and 1908, it was called “The Star of the Gulf”, and again in 1909, the title was changed, this time to “The Red and Black,” for these are our school colors. Our paper now contains sixteen pages of reading matter and its success is shown by its great popularity with the pupils.

We are delighted with the prospect of moving next October into a new building so large and splendidly equipped, and we intend to take advantage of all that our new school offers us.   It is largely through his [Supt. Buchholz] efforts that our new building is being erected.

Read the cornerstone history in its entirety and see scans of the original document in Doris' handwriting



Doris Geraldine Hill was born on July 15, 1894 in Indiana to Indiana natives DeWitt C. Hill and Laura in Center township, Marion Co., Indiana, where DeWitt worked a bookkeeper. Between 1900 and 1910 they moved to 2716 Morgan St. in Tampa and DeWitt worked as a collector at a piano store.  After graduation, Doris worked as a secretary at Hillsborough County High School for about a year.  She then worked as a stenographer from 1914 to 1918 at the Macfarlane Investment Company.  From 1919 to 1931 she was a stenographer at the Macfarlane & Macfarlane law firm (Hugh and son Howard) which changed names over the years, being at times Macfarlane & Pettingill and then, Macfarlane, Pettingill, Macfarlane and Fowler. 

The photo of Doris on the left appeared in the "Coloco" (HCHS's 1913 annual) when she worked at the school as a secretary.  The 1912 annual had no name; the 1913 annual was named for the yearbook board members Collins, Lowry and Conoley. From 1914 to present it's called the Hilsborean.  The photo of Doris on the right is from the 1948 Hilsborean.

In 1926, Doris became the chief steno clerk at the law firm and in 1933 she had become a private secretary there.  Meanwhile, Doris' father, DeWitt C. Hill, became the manager of Cable-Chase Piano Company by 1914 which would then become Cable Piano Co.  This was a position he held until at least 1940.  In 1940, Doris was working as an assistant secretary in the public school system at Hillsborough High School.  The Hill family moved to 403 Magnolia in 1919 where DeWitt, his wife Laura, and daughter Doris lived until his death between 1940 and 1945.  Doris lived with her parents all their lives and she never married.  She died in Sept. of 1979 and is buried in Myrtle Hill Cemetery.



At right, a copy of the 1912 Annual in the Hillsborough High School section of the Jefferson High School Alumni Museum.

Continued on next page



History of Hillsborough High School, by Lewis Rex Gordon, Class of 1984
Wynelle Davis Gilbert
History of Hillsborough County, by E. L. Robinson, 1928

at the University of S. Florida Digital Collections
Hillsborough High School, the First 100 Years from:
The Sunland Tribune, Volume 12 Nov. 1986 Journal of the TAMPA HISTORICAL SOCIETY
at the University of S. Florida Digital Collections
Hillsborough High School, Wikipedia
Hillsborough High School website
Florida Homes Magazine (M. Leo Elliott)


 Cornerstone history of Hillsborough High School scan of original document

Jefferson High School and George Washington Jr. High School History and the D.W. Waters Career Center
The Jefferson High School Alumni Museum

Memorial Middle School   Seminole Hts. Elementary School

Seminole Hts. United Methodist Church   Seminole Motel   Bo's Ice Cream