History of the Parrish School House – now the Parrish Community Center and Parrish “Y”

Parrish’s firsparrish school house 6447491973_cee66481f1t school house was built in the mid 1800’s. It was very important to the settlers that their children received a good education. The school consisted of one room and  located at the edge of a thick swamp near now US Hwy 301. The property had a flowing spring on the property which provided the students with water during school hours. In those days, the children would run to the stream and grab the dipper and pass it around to all who were thirsty. No one thought about germs! The children would bring their lunches from home in tin buckets. The children also walked to and from home to attend school each day unless the weather was bad; then the parents would bring them by horse and buggy. While walking to school, the children would see the abundant wildlife; wild turkeys, deer and fox. The wildlife drank from the same stream that the children used during the day for their water. The teachers would teach the children of all ages and grades in that one room schoolhouse. The community used the building as a church on Sundays. This original building was closed down in 1895. The community then used the original Methodist Church for classes for a period of time. The teacher continued to teach all grades; 1st – 12th. By the early 1900’s, a new two story wooden school building was built. It was larger with several rooms but did not house any bathroom or lunchroom. It was located at the same site as the Historic Schoolhouse/Community Center is today. In 1924-1925 a more modern stucco structure replaced the old wooden building and constructed on the same land as the two-story building. The new school building was built closer to the highway and remains in that present spot today. The land was donated by the Parrish Family and was designated to stay in the community to be used as a community center.The two-story wooden building was then moved to an adjacent location and used as headquarters for the “Parrish Woman’s Club” and the “Masonic Hall”. In 1924, a flagpole was dedicated at this school in a memorial service that was held for Hortense Parrish and Grover Earl Gillett. These two students were killed while attending this school. The flagpole was given to the school by the students at that time. The county superintendent at that time was B. D. Gullett and was invited to give the memorial presentation. The students also gave memorial tributes for their classmates as well as Mr. Durrance and Mrs. Lillian “Miss Billie” Youngblood, principal of the school. In 1977, the county school board decided to close the building and bus the children into Palmetto, The community was very distraught in knowing they were losing their school and the long ride the children would have to travel to attend school. The building did house the Rural Health Center for a time. It eventually closed for good until the county helped in restoration of the building. It was totally renovated bringing the building back to life and serving the community. Through hard work of the Parrish Foundation, Parrish Civic Association, the County and the School board, the building is enjoyed by the people of Parrish once again. The “YMCA” open in 2009 in the building that today is known as the Branch’s Kid Zone. In 2010, they moved into the newly renovated building that now was air conditioned and an elevator installed. The “YMCA” is using this building as well as it provides the community with a community center for all kinds of activities.  

phoneContact the Community Center:

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location Find the Community Center:

12214 U.S. 301 N.
Parrish, Florida 34219
t: 941-798-YMCA (9622)
f: 941-981-5329

Parrish Community Center

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