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Updated: May 24, 2021

Founded in 1886 as a community project, the Little Red Schoolhouse was the first schoolhouse in southeast Florida. Its first seven scholars were taught by Miss Hattie Gale, the 16-year old daughter of the Reverend Elbridge Gale.

In its original location, approximately one mile north of the Royal Poinciana Bridge, on the Lake Trail in Palm Beach, the first school served the children of all the families around Lake Worth. Children arrived by boat, bicycle, or on foot, and were taught together in one room. Palm Beach’s one room school ceased operation in 1901 after which it became a tool shed on John S. Phipps property. Its subsequent history was one of decline and deterioration.

In 1960, the Gardener’s Society of Palm Beach refurbished it and the Town of Palm Beach moved the structure to Phipps Ocean Park where it stands today. The school was unused until the Preservation of Palm Beach proposed to lease the school house in 1990 for its pioneer education program. Throughout the school year fourth grade students from Palm Beach, Broward, and Martin Counties participate in the “living history” program at the schoolhouse. The program is free to schools.


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