October 18, 2009 - The Lake City Reporter

By H. Morris Williams

A conversation last week with attorney Terry McDavid reminded me that long ago Sears & Roebuck once built houses. According to Terry, there are at least two of those houses in Lake City and both are on South Hernando Street.

Sears and Roebuck houses were ready-to-assemble houses Sears sold by mail order. Seventy thousand of them were sold from 1908-1940.

They were shipped by train—25 tons with 30, 000 parts each, not including any plumbing, electrical or heating supplies. Buyers assembled the houses themselves with any help they could get from friends.

At first most of the styles were the same but eventually Sears offered over 400 different models. The cost ranged from $650 to $2,200 each.

The houses were popular because they were affordable and of sturdy construction. Several hundred still exist today, including 136 in  Aurora, Illinois.

However, not many of the Sears & Roebuck houses were built in Florida, so it is remarkable that we have at least two in Lake City. If you know of any other Sears & Roebuck houses anywhere else in Columbia County, please give me a call at 386-755-8183. I'd like to talk to you.


With the new school year now in full swing, here are some interesting flashbacks to previous years.

*1920 (circa): Columbia County got its first school buses. Most were privately owned and the owners  contracted their busses to the county and drove their own busses.

*1970: The all black seniors of Richardson High School and the all white seniors of CHS voluntarily combined for their graduation ceremonies one full year before countywide racial integration.

*1934: The RHS senior class became the first seniors in the county to wear caps and gowns at their graduation ceremony. In 1939, the Columbia High School seniors became the first CHS class to wear caps and gowns.

*1989: This senior class was the 100th class to graduate from CHS.

*1983: UF coach Hobart Hooser, former head football coach at CHS, was inducted into the UF Sports Hall of Fame.

*1980: Paul Giebeig, Jr., first principal at Five Points Elementary School, died. He had gone to work that day (June 24), but wasn't feeling well, so he went to the hospital, but got worse and died there. His sudden death shocked everyone at his school and in the community.

*1947: The CHS basketball team, led by Coach Jim Melton, won CHS's only state basketball championship. 20 years later, in 1967, CHS won its only football championship, under Coach Paul Quinn.

*1994: CHS played its first football game at its new stadium, against arch-rival Live Oak. A frog-strangler of a rain ended the game after the first quarter and the game was finished the next night with CHS winning.

*1934: The CHS Future Farmers of America chapter  received its official charter.

*1923: ‘Mary' wrote these words in a friend's scrapbook: "You and I is friends. You smile, I smile. You hurt, I hurt. You cry, I cry. You jump off a tall building, I'm really gonna miss seeing you around school."

*1970: The Kindergarten Center "graduated" its first class, under principal Earl Watts. The students wore little caps and gowns at their graduation ceremony, prompting local educator Alfonso Levy to start referring to the school as Kindergarten University.


The High Springs Community Theater (HSCT) ends it hilarious production of "Squabbles" next Sunday. Don't miss it! It's one of the funniest plays HSCT has done in its 17 seasons.

As is usual in HSCT plays, Lake City and Fort White people are all over the place in the play's production, direction, and acting: Frank Hubert, Pat Carrico, Larry Gunter, David Hurner, Dewey Barton, and Jessica Sheely.

When Pat and Frank are front and center exchanging their fast-paced, witty barbs, you know you are watching the best.

Call the Framery (386-754-2780) for tickets. Weekends only.


Brothers David Cox and Dr. Alan Cox, sons of Patsy and the late Gene Cox (CHS 1952), were both inducted into the Leon (Tallahassee) High School Football Hall of Fame at its 33rd induction ceremony last August 6.


Local bumper sticker: "If 10% is enough for God, 10% is enough for the IRS." square

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