Dominating the landscape of Fellsmere, a small, rural, Florida town, the historic Fellsmere Public School building truly stands at the heart of the community, geographically and figuratively, with nothing around it to compete in size – except maybe the nearby water tower. The overpowering dark sky is intentional, making the building small to the passage of time and history. Excerpts from the historical marker in front of the building:
The Fellsmere Public School, the first masonry school building in what is now Indian River County, was constructed during 1915 and 1916 at 22 South Orange Street. The 22,680 square foot, two-story school with a raised basement was designated by Frederick Homer Trimble, a former Methodist missionary architect who had worked in Fuzhou, China. Trimble, who began his architectural career in the United State in 1915 with the Fellsmere School, designed several building in Fellsmere and Vero Beach, and over 150 buildings in South Florida.…. By September 1915 Sanders’ crews had constructed the Fellsmere Short Line Railroad from the Fellsmere Farms Railroad north of South Carolina Avenue down to the center of Cypress Street to the school site. A special railcar built in Palatka was used to haul materials to the school on 4×4 heart-of-pine rails spiked to 2×8 crossties….. The Fellsmere Public School was completed….at a cost of $40,000. The school’s doors opened to 136 students on October 2, 1916. Principal Anderson A. Price, Assistant Principal Ina C. Elder, and five women teachers, Miss Jesse M. Hunter (the first teacher in Fellsmere, 1912), Miss Neva M. Hunter, Mrs. A.A. (Lula) Price, Miss Ethel Jones, and Miss Agnes Helseth provided instruction for grades 1-12. The Fellsmere School is the oldest public school building in Indian River County, and remained active as a school until 1982.…. In 2010, the City of Fellsmere restored the school for use as a City Hall/Government Center/Boys and Girls Club at a cost of $3,060,000. On October 19, 2010, the Fellsmere Public School building was once again re-opened to the public.