Loring A. Chase Dedication of Knowles’ Public School

Tuesday Feb 11, 1890


Below will be found the addresses of Mr. Chase and country superintendent Beeks:


Fellow Citizens of Winter Park: –

(Word missing) have come together to-day for the (word missing) of dedicating this beautiful (word missing) to the great cause of education.  You have selected me as your mouthpiece to utter the dedicatory words; not because of my ability as an orator, for you well know that I have none, but simply because of my familiarity with the history of our beautiful town from its infancy.  Not many moons ago, the untutored savage roamed at will through these magnificent forests and built his wigwam upon the banks of this lovely lake.  Here he dwelt spending his days hunting, fishing and defending himself against the encroachments of his enemy, the white man; here in his uncouth way he worshiped the great spirit with a firm faith, that when through with life, he would have a home in the happy hunting grounds beyond. Here upon the bank of the beautiful lake, that now bears his name, dwelt that brave and fearless chieftain, Osceola, the leader of that intrepid tribe, the Seminoles.  Here upon this very spot where our children for many generations to come, will be taught the elements of the grandest civilization the world has ever seen, played the children of the noble red man.  The years pass in quick succession; the scene changes; the red man disappears from these broad pine-clad plains, and the white man with the cottage, school, college and church takes the place of the wigwam, ignorance and superstition. Far away in the distance our eyes behold the retreating dusky forms and our ears catch the bold refrain, “blaze with your serried serried columns! I will not bend the knee the shackles, n’er again shall bind, the arm that now is free.” On the 24th day of February, 1881, about nine years ago, your speaker in his rambles over Florida, visited for the first time this beautiful spot, where now is our flourishing village of Winter Park. Save two faint streaks of iron over which a box car went slowly once a day between Sanford and Orlando and a rude platform, where now New England avenue intersect the railroad and two or three windowless cabins of the original home-steader, no sign of civilizations greeted his eye.  On the other side of the lake, a mile away, was the little hamlet of Osceola, where were the homes of Judge J. R. Mizell, Wilson Phelps, William C. Comstock, Col. Livingston, R. R. Thayer, Bert Clark, I.N. Ellingwood and William S. Lane. Orlando the country seat four mile distant, had, perhaps, half hundred buildings, with a few hundred citizens.  Never will the delightful impression of that first visit be obliterated from my mind; before me lay these beautiful rolling plains, covered every where by the tall majestic pines forming not an impenetrable forest, but a vast grove through which we could drive our team at will.  Moving aimlessly on, we were soon traversing the banks of the lovely lakes, Osceola and Virginia.  I had often fastened my eyes upon the beautiful lakes of Wisconsin and Minnesota, and here before me lay their duplicates, sparkling and glimmering in the beautiful sun light.  Instantly my mind went back to my home in the north, and as thoughts of the thousands that were suffering like myself, with head and throat troubles. came to me, I built in a very few minutes as I stood looking into the silvery depths, not one castle in the air, but several; in other words, the idea of a town of winter homes on this delightful spot, took full possession of me, and a delightful dreamy hour was spent in thinking of the possibilities that lay wrapped up in these pine-clad acres.  Reluctantly I bade adien to the enchanting scene with but little thought that my pleasant delightful dream of the afternoon would.

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