MIAMI EDISON SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL:
1895 TO 1978
Adapted from the
1964 Miami Edison Beacon. Originally written by Ed Shumard, Class of
1943. Revised by additional history provided in 2006.
Over 120 years ago, Miami Edison Senior High School had its humble beginnings
in a small palmetto-thatched hut inhabited by spiders,
beetles, ten pupils and one teacher. After this tropical edifice burned
to the ground in 1895, the activities were moved twice, finally being
established in a rickety four-room structure in 1897. During the brief
tenure of Principal Ernest Roller, only the common subjects and agriculture
of the old building by a violent windstorm, the newly built school opened
in September 1915, with 15 pupils entering high school and 72 entering
elementary grades. The first principal was Professor A. E. Dewar, who, along
with one other teacher, composed the high school teaching staff. There
were four teachers for the elementary grades. Professor Dewar served
as principal for two school terms, 1915 and 1916. The school was then
known as Lemon City High School.
1916, a meeting was held in the Biscayne Hotel dining room.
The purpose was to present to prominent Dade County citizens the
need for a real agricultural high school, where practical demonstration
of horticulture and agriculture could be taught in conjunction with
regular high school courses. They hoped to secure financial aid
by the levy of a small tax on real and personal property for operating
the experimental farm or farms in conjunction with the school which
was beginning to be known as Dade County Agricultural High School. Their
hopes became reality, and the long-cherished dreams of Dr. J. G. DuPuis,
A. N. Fallersen and E. N. Webb, trustees, were realized as "Aggie
High" came into existence.
Professor A. C.
Alleshouse became Principal in 1917, and was succeeded in 1920 by W.
O. Lockhart. Accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges
and Secondary Schools made it necessary to secure a principal with a
college degree. J. N. McArthur became principal until his transfer in 1923,
when Jesse G. Fisher accepted the position. Even in these years of instability
the school continued to grow Two wings were added in 1922 and five
years later the first cafeteria was installed. Many school organizations
formed at this time to keep pace with the extension of the
building. This rapid growth continued as the impetus given to athletics
by the employment of the first regular coach brought clamor for a gymnasium.
The School Board proceeded to erect the addition, but due to lack of
an architect, the bleachers soon became the victim of the hurricane
of 1936. The repaired building remained until what members of the Over-the-Hill Gang knew as he old
Junior High School was constructed on the site. (It has since been demolished
and a police station/school parking lot now occupies the site.)
In 1928 our present
building was completed and 892 students and 32 faculty moved in, marking the beginning of the Junior
and Senior High system. New additions included the home economics building
and the only boat-building class in the United States. In the following
years, the school auditorium, the shops, and the field house were added.
In 1931 came a strong demand to change the school's name. Under the
influence of Principal Fisher and Henry Filer, then chairman of the
School Board, suggested names were submitted to the student body. The
recent death of America’s great inventor, Thomas A. Edison, proved
to be the deciding factor. Thus, in October of 1931, Dade County Agricultural
High became Miami Edison Senior High in his honor. Soon after, the new
name was immortalized as Mrs. Frances Dean set to music the words of
Mrs. Marjorie Weatherup's "Alma Mater". 1949 marked the tragic
death of Julian Daniel, whose great character, service and leadership
were honored by the establishment of the Julian Daniel Award and by
the presentation of the Key Club's annual scholarship. Mr. Robert A.
Wilson became Principal upon Mr. Fisher's retirement in 1950 and under
his leadership the extracurricular program was expanded.
Interested not only
in academics, Miami Edison has for years earned the reputation of being
recognized in all fields of athletics. The Red Raiders have shown their
superiority in football as they often dominated the strongest league
in Florida, the Big Ten Conference. The varsity is proud of the fact
that the Orange Bowl Stadium was dedicated by an Edison team playing
Coral Gables in 1938, and remained the home of the Red Raiders for many
years. The pride and spirit of the students in all endeavors were shown
when a strong Student Council and Inter-Club Council were organized
in the 1930s. It was through their efforts that the Honor Code, regarded
as the basis of the "Edison Spirit," was adopted in 1939. The
Coat of Arms was installed in the patio in 1958 and the "Little
Red Devil" became the symbol of our spirit.
In 1955, Mr. William
B. Duncan became Principal. Through the efforts of an outstanding
faculty, the support of community resources, and the motivation of the
students, Principal Duncan was able to set in motion those changes emphasized in the nation for
a rededication to quality education, for every student according to
his or her ability. During his administration the "Operation Amigo"
program found its illustrious beginning in the United States in the
halls of Miami Edison in 1962. The chance to take into our homes Peruvian students in cooperation with the Miami Herald was marked by complete
success. For the part Edison played in this program in hemispheric understanding, Mr. Duncan became the first North
American to be awarded the "Alfonso Ugarte" medal for inter-cultural
In 1978 a new Miami
Edison Senior High School was
built several blocks away and our old school became Miami Edison Middle
School, which it is still today. Our old school has since been completely
renovated and a state-of-the art school has been constructed in its
place. Everything but the front facade, gymnasium and auditorium were
demolished. The facade was given a face-lift, the gymnasium has been renovated and updated, and the auditorium was brought back to its original
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