HISTORY OF EDUCATION IN PASCO COUNTY
The Trilby School
This article was last revised on Dec. 23, 2012.
A post office was established at Macon in 1885. The post office was renamed Trilby in 1901.
An 1885-86 list of Hernando County schools shows a Macon School.
The 1886-87 Florida State Gazetteer shows A. I. Wyatt as the teacher at the Macon free school.
School board records show a request for a school at Macon in 1887. The minutes of Feb. 6, 1888, have: “Mr. D. T. McLeod appeared, asking the board to pay him $26.00 (?), amount that he claims to have assumed & will have to pay towards the building of the Macon School house.”
According to McCormick, the first school was built in Trilby in 1905. Sometime later the building burned.
On May 12, 1905, Miss Mabel Austin is mentioned in a newspaper as a teacher at Trilby.
A 1906 report has, “The Trilby Junior High school has a nice building of three rooms, and a campus of five acres.”
An article by Charlotte Tyer in East Pasco's Heritage has:
In 1910 the school was a two-story wooden building on the west side of present Highway 301, across from Cummer Road. It burned on a cold night with frozen ground; the sixty-odd students weren't too unhappy. The grownups built another two-story schoolhouse of brick, which later burned too. Earl Tyer's garden on that spot will turns up pieces of desks and old square ink bottles; he irrigates from the old schoolhouse well. Trilby School in those days was the center for political rallies and for social life. Cliff Couey remembers one special softball game when the fat women played the skinny men, with proceeds going to the school. Everybody went to Friday afternoon programs or plays once a month, there being no electric light for night activities.
On Sept. 18, 1914, the Dade City Banner referred to Miss Lula Burkett as the principal of the schools here.
At the school board meeting of July 3-5, 1916, Prof. E. B. O'Berry was appointed Principal of the Trilby school. Miss Lena Mickler, Miss Sidney Curry, and Miss Laverna Hughes were appointed assistants.
The minutes of the school board meeting on Sept. 4-5, 1916, have: “Board considered plans and specifications for the building at Trilby. Upon motion duly seconded Board voted to adopt plans and revised specifications submitted by Mr. C. H. Glass, said adoption of board subject to validation of bonds issued by the district.”
On March 14, 1917, the Tampa Morning Tribune reported:
The squabble over the location of the new school building in the Trilby-Lacoochee district seems to have been finally settled. This dispute has caused the holding of at least fifteen special meetings by the County School Board, and has delayed for several months the beginning of work on the building. One school house has already been burned, and threats were made that the new one would be blown up if not located where certain parties wanted it. The School Board had agreed with the contractors to insure the new building while in course of construction, but the insurance companies refused to write insurance covering it. The Trilby people sent a long petition to Governor Catts accusing the County Board of giving them a “dirty deal,” and the governor sent Rural School Inspector Turner to investigate the matter. He brought the contending factions together on a site just west of the lot on which the old building was burned, and it is presumed that work will now proceed.
On May 18, 1917, the Dade City Banner reported, “Work is progressing nicely on the new school building. The brick layers have almost completed the first story.”
The Dade City Banner of Mar. 17, 1922, refers to the “combined Trilby-Lacoochee school.”
In August 1922, Miss Nellie Allen was appointed to a vacancy.
On Aug. 22, 1924, the Dade City Banner reported that the Trilby school would be headed by Prof. A. V. Withers.
A 1926 Dade City Banner refers to the Trilby school as a high school.
On Oct. 6, 1933, the Dade City Banner reported:
For the third time within the past few weeks the Pasco county school system has suffered severe loss from fire, this time when the splendid brick building at Trilby was burned to the ground early last Saturday morning. Indications point to arson in the destruction of each of the three schools. The first blow fell several weeks ago when the school at Zephyrhills was severely damaged by fire. Fortunately, however, the building was not a total loss, although extensive repairs will be necessary before the school can be used again. Two weeks later the San Antonio public school burned to the ground. This was a frame building and was almost completely destroyed before the fire was discovered. Then after another two weeks the fire at Trilby took the third school. The Trilby school building carried $10,000 of insurance, with an additional $2,000 on furniture. A reward of $500 has been offered by the school board for the arrest and conviction of the person or persons guilty of burning these school buildings and an additional reward of the same amount has been offered by the board of county commissioners.
On Sept. 4, 1936, the Dade City Banner reported that Miss Ila O'Berry was appointed Principal of the Trilby School, and Mrs. Bethel Revels, Miss Pearl Epting, and Mrs. Ruth Byrd were appointed as teachers.
On Oct. 15, 1943, the Dade City Banner reported:
Fire of undiscovered origin completely destroyed the school house at Trilby about two o’clock Wednesday morning. An employee of the A. C. L. Railroad was the first to notice the fire and gave the alarm but it was too late to save the building or its furnishings. The brick building, erected in 1932 of white brick and stucco, was gutted and all the equipment was a total loss. Besides the loss of the desks estimated at $1000 , there is the loss of the text books placed at $450, a valuable collection of library books, encyclopedias, lunch room equipment, and other things. Superintendent W. Craig stated that the loss of the building would probably be covered by insurance carried in the amount of $10,500.
On Aug. 10, 1945, the New Port Richey Press reported, “A contract has been let by Board of Public Instruction, Pasco county, to E. C. DeLong for the construction of a school building in Trilby, to replace the building destroyed by fire in October 1943. The contract, which is for $16,116, calls for the building to be completed by the first of the year. Preliminary work has already begun in preparation for the construction which is to be of concrete.”
On Aug. 23, 1946, the New Port Richey Press reported that William Whitney Lavender was appointed principal of the Trilby Elementary School.
According to McCormick, in 1965 the Trilby Elementary was closed. The building was vacant two years and the Pasco County Head Start moved to the building and continued until 1978.
Principal William R. Laurie (b. Nov. 4, 1930, Winter Haven) attended school in Winter Haven through 8th grade and moved to Dade City in the summer of 1942. He attended 8th grade at Dade City Grammar School and graduated from Pasco H. S. in 1948. He attended the University of the South in Tennessee and the University of Florida. He taught at Dade City Grammar School after Trilby. He later founded American Reading Service, American Heritage School and American Academy in Plantation, Florida.