POLK PROUD HISTORY - ROSENWALD SCHOOLS
The Lake Alfred Rosenwald School
Rosenwald Schools were named for philanthropist and CEO of Sears, Roebuck and Company, Julius Rosenwald. In 1911, Rosenwald was approached by famous educator Booker T. Washington with a
proposal to build six rural schools near Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.
Rosenwald loved the idea and agreed to provide financial assistance for the program. Washington put Rosenwald on the board of directors of
Tuskegee and the two men went to work. Their collaboration would result in over 5,000 schools across fifteen states throughout the Segregated
The African American children of Lake Alfred acquired their first school building through the hard work and generosity of many. The property for the school was donated by Frank C. Gardner (1868-1963), president of the Fruitlands Company in early 1928. The Fruitlands Co. dealt in all types of real estate, such as; orange groves, large land parcels,city property and home sites. The school was named Fruitlands Institute and served the community from 1929-1964.
The Fruitlands Institute historical marker may be visited in front of the Highlands Community Center, 700 N. Third Street, Lake Alfred, Florida.
(Information provided by researcher and historian Dean Moss McCracken.)
Come to the museum and see the
model of the Rosenwald School