Still Strong after 125+ Years
Gorrie Elementary School, the oldest operating elementary school in the state of Florida, was built in 1889 as Hyde Park Grammar School. It was first located at the corner of Platt Street and West Seventh (Magnolia) Avenue, where the Fire Station No. 3 stood in later years. As the student population grew, the school was relocated to 705 De Leon Street, which was then the city limit of Tampa. At the time, there were protests about locating such a fine structure out in the wilderness. The continued need for space prompted the construction of an additional building, which contained the first indoor toilets in a Hillsborough County School.
In 1915, the name was changed to “Dr. John B. Gorrie Elementary School” to honor this man’s great achievements in medical science and the invention of the first ice-making machine, which became the forerunner of the early compression refrigerator and the modern air conditioner. Dr. Gorrie is one of the two Floridians whose statue has been placed in the Capitol Building in Washington, D. C.
Did You Know?
The school’s basement doubled as a Cold War-era fallout shelter?
It’s the oldest continuously operated public elementary school in Florida?
It’s been at capacity since the day it was built because it’s so sought after?
Gorrie Elementary was renovated in 1977. The character of the building was maintained while meeting the contemporary requirements. As part of a continuing commitment to preserve Gorrie’s historic integrity, the roof and exterior walls were repaired in 1989. Funded by a grant from the Florida Department of Education, the entire school was retrofitted for technology in 1995. Construction of a new Media Center, together with four additional kindergarten classrooms, was completed in the fall of 2002.
In 2015, Gorrie celebrated it’s 125 consecutive years of educating children in the South Tampa area. To commemorate this milestone, the school held a celebratory reunion with host Mayor Bob Buckhorn and other guests, including Gorrie alumni