Early Schools

(A section of the NICEVILLE, FLORIDA - Online History Center)

"Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.”
~Robert Frost

The 1903 Boggy, Florida school photo.

Boggy School

1908 Walton Co. Farm Map. (Note: Map shows three schools in Boggy area before first Niceville High School completed in 1925.)

Three Schools 1908

Local News: Mrs. Dora Powell left last Sunday for Boggy to open her school Monday. (The Breeze 07/07/1910)

1914 Warranty Deed to the Board of Public Instruction of Walton Co. B. P. and Amy C. Edge sold for $350 to the Board of Public Instructions of Walton County Florida the following described parcel of land: Beginning Eleven chains West of the SE corner of Lot 2 in Section 7 T1S R22W running North three chains thence West 1 1/2 chains thence South 4 1/2 chains thence East 1 1/2 chains thence North 1 1/2 chains to point of beginning containing one acre more or less. This is at the old Boggy Post Office area on Boggy Bayou. (Walton County Warranty Deed 05/05/1914)

Niceville: "Miss Steele who is teaching school here, spent Saturday and Sunday with home folks at Laurel Hill." (Okaloosa News 11/17/1916)

Niceville: "Messrs. W. C. Pryor and R. L. Turner paid our school a pleasant visit. The school children enjoyed an old timey arithmetic match last Friday. Mesdames Sessions, Williams, Anchors and Early were present When it comes to school matters, Niceville will soon make any one set up and take due notice, for a new spirit seems to have seized the community. Several families have moved to our growing little city, for the benefit of school, while some are boarding and several in other communities in reach are coming every day, and still only a few are out yet. Though we hope they will come in soon." (Okaloosa News Journal 11/30/1917)

Niceville: "School will vacate Friday for two weeks for the holidays. The exhibition will be given at the school house Saturday night instead of Friday as announced last week." (The Okaloosa News 12/21/1917)

Destin:  (Okaloosa News Journal 11/01/1918) (Note: Children at Destin attended school at Niceville.)

Destin children attend Niceville school

1918 Sample of Board of Public Instruction Financial Report for Niceville School No. 6

Niceville School No. 6 Financial 1918

The School Attendance Law was passed by legislature in 1919 and "attendance for 7 - 16 year olds to attend school will be enforced." (The Okaloosa News Journal 1921)

Proposal for a Proposition that Valparaiso be Released from School District No. 6 Serving Niceville Below Left: (Okaloosa News Journal 09/09/1921) (Note: Okaloosa Board of Public Instruction records do not show that Valparaiso was ever released from the Niceville school district and therefore has always been included in the Niceville school district.)

Club Meeting at Niceville: "School has begun and there are five teachers at Niceville. The meeting was especially enjoyable because the girls and boys who had been to the camp helped to teach the others the songs about the club work. "Old McDonald Has a Farm" was a favorite." (Okaloosa News Journal 07/28/1922)

School District No. 6

1924 Warranty Deed for Niceville High School Property Below: (Note: The seven acres conveyed to the Okaloosa Board of Public Instruction on May 17, 1924 for "one dollar and other valuble consideration" by George R. Nathey was from his father's homestead. Today Lula J. Edge Elementary School is on the property of the old Niceville High School.)

Warranty Deed NHS May 17, 1924

First Niceville High School Completed 04/17/1925: (Note: The 1933 aerial photo of Civilian Conservation Corps camp 1402 shows the school was positioned to the back of the school property with its entrance off Niceville Ave.)

Mr. George Nathey & Mrs. Agnes (Wise) NatheyMr. George Nathey & Mrs. Agnes (Wise) Nathey

"On February 13, 1923, a petition was presented to the Okaloosa County Board of Public Instruction in support of a $20,000 bond issue in District Six for the purpose of constructing a new school building.  On May 27, 1924, the present land site of Edge Elementary School was purchased from Mr. George Nathey for $1, and following this purchase, Mr. J. A. Wilkerson was awarded a $10,500 contract for constructing a new building. The building was completed April 17, 1925, and was accepted by the Okaloosa County Boards of Instruction and Trustees. The first term of this new Niceville High School began on September 21, 1925." (History of Edge)

Niceville High School Destroyed by Fire in December 1926:

"During the December holidays of 1926, Niceville High School was completely destroyed by fire in its second year of operation. At this time, another bond issue was petitioned. The money was combined with insurance for construction a new building. On March 12, 1927, Mr. J. A. Wilkerson was again awarded the construction contract for the sum of $9,350.

On June 12, 1928, the new building was accepted, and this new Niceville High School opened its doors in September 1928." (History of Edge)

Niceville High School 1929 Photo Below:

Niceville High School 1929

Class of 1930 Niceville High School Graduation Program

1930 NHS Graduation Program

1930 Niceville High School Graduation Class: Left to Right - Ola V. Howell, Walker Spence, Lorraine Anchors, Virginia Barwald, Sherman Howell and Verah Armstrong

1930 NHS Photo

1932 Sample of Board of Public Instruction Financial Report for Niceville School No. 6

Niceville High School Financial Report 1932

1933 Sample of Board of Public Instruction Financial Report for Niceville School No. 6

Niceville School No. 6, Financial 1933l

Final Niceville High School Exercises Are Held:  "Hurt and Wilson Deliver Addresses To Class of Seven: Final Commencement Exercises for the 1933-34 session of Niceville High School were observed with the presentation of Diplomas to the graduating Class by County Superintendent Mallory B. Barrow, on Tuesday night.

The Commencement Address was effectively delivered by Dean W. H. Wilson of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Florida. The distinguished guest speaker was heard by a packed audience who had assembled in the high school auditorium in honor of the occasion.

    On Sunday a Matin Service was conducted by J. Lewis Hurt, High School Principal, at the Valparaiso Community Church. His sermon "Living the good Life," was splendidly worded and well received.

  Appropriate music by Mr. and Mrs.Edward J. Freiwald and Mrs. Cebelle Meigs contributed largely to the effectiveness of the programs.

    Members of the 1934 graduating class are Carole Louise Freiwald, class president, and holder of the highest scholastic average, Fannie Belle Smith, vice-president, Stephen Joe Johnston, secretary and treasurer, William Clarence Menzell, who has second honors, Mary Odessa Brown, Clayton Cline White, and Mrs. Henridee Edwards Hammac. Mrs. Hammac is also a teacher in the Niceville School system." (The Valparaiso Star 05/31/1934)

Niceville is Pointing With Pride to First College Graduate: "Among those in the Niceville High School Auditorium at Tuesday night's impressive graduation exercises was one former graduate who listened with particular interest to the words of the guest speaker, Dr. W. H. Wilson, a close personal friend of his. This man was G. B. Anchors, Jr., who will on Monday June 4th take part in yet another graduating exercise, this time as the first student from Niceville High School to obtain a college degree.

 Mr. Anchors, who is well known locally, is a member of the graduating class of the University of Florida. He has achieved distinction throughout the state by his interest in Boy Scout activities, an interest first awakened in the Bay Country. At present he holds a high official position in scout circles, carrying on his work in addition to his scholastic endeavors." (The Valparaiso Star 05/31/1934)

Niceville High School Destroyed by Hurricane July 1936:

"For the second time in a relatively short history, Niceville High School was completely destroyed by the July 1936 hurricane. Being already heavily bonded for two destroyed buildings, the school continued to operate as best it could in an old dance hall building located on what is now known as "Howell Hill" in Niceville.

Being somewhat desperate at this time, the Okaloosa County Board of Public Instruction petitioned the United States Members of Congress to grant aid for school construction as a part of the Emergency Division of Works Progress Administration.." (History of Edge)

Work on Niceville's School to be Resumed In The Next Few Days: "Arrangements were worked out at this week’s meeting of the county school board whereby work will be resumed within the next dew days on the Niceville school building. Mr. C. D. Tomlinson, and other WPA officials were present when details were completed.

    Present arrangements are expected to carry work on the building to completion. Some of the units first called for will be eliminated because of the scarcity of funds. These include the auditorium, the heating plant, and the wiring. They can be added when money is available.

    The Niceville school is one of the county's most badly needed projects. The structure being build by the WPA is a splendid, modern school building which will provide for the needs of the community for a long while. Much credit is due Miss Lula Edge and other county school officials for their efforts in this matter." (Okaloosa News Journal Friday, 02/11/1938)

Lula J. Edge Is Candidate For Re-Election: "Miss Lula J. Edge announces her candidacy this week for re-election to the county school board. Miss Edge has given faithful and creditable service to her district and county although faced with many difficulties. Her outstanding contribution has been the work of replacing the destroyed Niceville high school building. Her district was without funds, bonded to the limit, and no insurance was forthcoming from the old building. By diligent efforts, and the cooperation of other officials, there is now being constructed at Niceville one of the county's finest school buildings." (Okaloosa News Journal 03/11/1938)

Improvements: "The next movement originated by the Niceville Council, which it is estimated will cost approximately $35,000 and for which PWA funds are also asked, is the proposed erection of a municipally owned water system. The water works service when completed would serve more than 100 families and in addition adequately supply all commercial houses and industries, as well as the U. S. Forest Ranger Station, the CCC Camp, the new Niceville School, and the Valpariso Golf Course." (The Valpariso News and West Florida Review 08/15/1938)

Photo of Niceville High School Construction.

Niceville High School Construction

,Niceville School Building Must Have Sanitary and Heating Equipment: "Joint meeting of Valpariso commissioners, Niceville City Council and Niceville School District Members, Friday August 10, 1938 to Devise Ways and Means: When the new Niceville School is opened for the next school term Niceville, Valpariso and the entire school district will have, for the first time in several years, a school building that will provide modern and comfortable quarters for pupils.

    In its class room arrangement and adequate rest room and wide hallway provision, the building leaves nothing to be desired. The only uncompleted portion of the building is the Auditorium which lack of necessary funds prevented its building.

    Likewise every necessary Sanitary, Plumbing and Heating equipment needs to be installed. This is also dependent upon the securing of necessary funds from some source, so that these much needed facilities can be installed before the school term begins.

    Last Friday, a general Meeting was held in Valpariso to discuss ways and means of securing the funds necessary to have these very much needed facilities installed, as well as completing the Auditorium.

    At this meeting there were present Mayor C. W. Ruckel and the City Commissioners of Valpariso. Mayor J. M. Reynolds and members of the city Council of Niceville and members of the Niceville School Board Trustees.

    At this meeting Mayor Ruckel and Mayor Reynolds were delegated to take up the question of securing the necessary funds for the installation of sanitary and heating equipment and the completing of the Auditorium from such sources, Federal, State or County that could provide such necessary funds.

    At the present writing the committee which has made several trips to Crestview and Pensacola, have not yet arrived at a definite allocation of funds, but it is hoped that their efforts will be successful.

   Citizens of the Niceville School District should lend those who are working out details every possible support." (The Valpariso News and West Florida Review 08/15/1938)

Niceville District School Faculties: "Faculties for several of the Okaloosa county schools have been named by the county school board. An announcement from the office of School Superintendent Walding lists the following selections; The others will be announced later. County schools begin Monday, Sept. 5. Fort Walton opens its school a month later. Niceville, District N. 6; Robert E. Allison, principal; Miss Garia Shivar, Miss Flora Hoston, Miss Florence Shofner, Mrs. Beulah Frazier, Mrs. Jerry Reynolds, Mrs. Vernon Lewis, Mrs. Odessa Garrison, Mr. Elmer Brewton, Miss Elizabeth Scott, Mrs. Perry, (Commercial open, Miss Myrtle Bouldin, Miss Marion Schofield." (The Valpariso News and West Florida Review 08/15/1938)

Niceville, Florida: "Niceville bears the distinction of being one of the earliest settlements in Okaloosa County and has for many years been the center of the commercial fishing industry of the Choctawhatchee Bay region. In fact the industry is the basis of the community's prosperity and many thousands of dollars are annually paid to fishermen and plant employees. The Niceville Fish Co., operated by Mr. Claude Meigs, and the Spence Bros. Fish Co. are the leading commercial fishing industries and maintain pretentious fish warehouses and fleets of fishing boats. Niceville has a substantial business background, practically all lines of retail business being represented. Here also is located the High School of the sourthern section of Okaloosa County. The CCC maintains a large encampment just outside of the limits of the city. There is much historic background also in and around Niceville one being that of the story of an old mill built prior to the Civil War and which is still located on the Golf Course of the Valpariso Country Club, which is adjacent to Niceville." (Source: The Valpariso News and West Florida Review December 20, 1939)

Niceville: (Source: The Valpariso News and West Florida Review February 22, 1941)

Niceville Fishing Companies

1941 Niceville High School Beta Club Officers

1941 Niceville High School Beta Club Officers

1942 Niceville High School Graduating Class

1942 Niceville High School Baccalaureate Service

Nine Month School Term. (Note: Children of Eglin Field military families attended the Niceville school.) (Okaloosa News-Journal 03/18/1943)

Children of military families attend Niceville Schools

Niceville High School Class of 1949: (L to R) Randall Wise, Hugh Marshall, Bill Powell, Max Evans, Pete Howell, Jack Nichols, Doug Earley, Billy Brock, Herman Wright, Emmett Phillips (two unidentified). Not in photo: Henry Preacher, Betty Ruth Scott, Lucy Evans, Ruth Atwell, Vera Mae Wolf and Naomi Jamieson.

NHS 1949 Graduation