March 22, 2009 - The Lake City Reporter

By H. Morris Williams

This is our town's sesquicentennial year and some column readers tell me they like to read my randomly selected historical flashbacks of our history over the past 150 years. So, here are some more for today.

*1939: Fourteen seniors graduated from Fort White High School: Effie Cason, Etta Stalnaker, Jack Bailey, Odelle McCormick, Raymond Layfield, Bessie Rumph, Marcelle Haskins, Seeber Duren, Joe Hunter, Katherine Thomas, Jack Terry, Ruth Lord, Ernest Phillips, and Maurcine Witt. Odelle McCormick was class valedictorian, Eldridge Collins was the principal, and School Superintendent R. O. Williams presented the diplomas.

*1923: The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools first accredited Columbia High School. That same year, the CHS class of 1923 became the first class to attend the CHS building which is now the School Board Complex, and CHS started playing their football games at Memorial Stadium.

*1950: Henry Cornell became the first CHS graduate to earn a basketball letter from UF. Scooter Houston was the second, earning his letter in 1970.

*1914: The Bethel Home Demonstration Club (HDC) became the first HDC organized in Columbia County. They met in the home of Mrs. Sallie Hunter. Three of the early HDC agents were Lassie Goodbread Black, Mrs. Glenn Sewell, and Mary Ethel Anderson. They all were of inestimable value to our community, especially in teaching food preservation techniques. For example, they taught canning, using cans sealed with a soldering iron heated over hot coals.

*1960: Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church was established with 72 members. Without their own church building, the first services were held in members homes and later in the Seventh Day Adventist Hall.

*1866: The First Baptist Church of Lake City was chartered with 22 members. In 1881, the State Board of Missions of the Florida Baptist Convention was organized here.

*1993: The beautifully renovated Columbia County School Board Administrative Complex opened.

*1999: Susan Eaddy (CHS 1971) was nominated for a Grammy Award for her work in Designing Album Cover Art for an album by Los Super Seven, a group of Mexican-American musicians.

*1983: The local Historic Preservation Board officially honored six of our most historic buildings: The Cathey House, The Cline-Barfield House, The Old Court House, The City Bandshell, The Glover-Adams House, and The Henderson- Marcello House.

*1999: The Florida Bar Association named Circuit Judge Leandra Johnson, then an attorney with the State Attorney's office, Law-related Education Attorney of The Year for her many years of coaching the CHS Mock Trial Team. She was specifically cited for passing on her passion for the law and justice and her love of the courtroom to the students.

*1988: Gene Cox (CHS 1952) was inducted into the Florida Sports Hall of Fame for becoming Florida's all time winningest high school football coach with 275 wins. He went on to win 313 games before he retired.


James Fraser retired a few months ago as a local carrier for The Florida Times-Union. James delivered papers seven days a week for 12 years and missed only two days work, that due to a severe hurricane that made roads undriveable. In short, James missed work only twice in 4, 380 consecutive days.


The Mason City Community Center is now 22 years old. Reportedly, one of the county's most frequently used centers and always beautifully kept up the MCCC has continuously had excellent leadership, like this year's officers: Harry Dicks (President), Ward Crawford (V.P.), Daisy Jones (Treasurer), and Margie Markham (Secretary).

This year's supper and membership meeting was held Saturday, March 14, at the center and was well attended, as always. Several local elected officials attended to enjoy the occasion and to express their appreciation for the exemplary way the MCCC has served our community. Some of them were Property Appraiser Doyle Crews, Tax Collector Ronnie Brannon, County Judge Tom Coleman, Circuit Judge Paul Bryan, Elections Supervisor Liz Horne, Clerk of Courts DeWitt Cason, and County Commissioners Stephen Bailey and Scarlet Frisina.


A hole was found in the wall at the nudist camp last week. The police are looking into it. square

H. Morris Williams is a local historian and long-time Columbia County resident.