Now 102 years old, the Old Davie School has served as a school, town hall, dance hall, office space, flood and hurricane shelter, and today is preserved on the National Register of Historic Places as the Old Davie School Historical Museum. After restoration, the Old Davie School stands at two stories, an event hall/ballroom on the top floor and a restored 1920s classroom, and exhibits that illustrate the history of the pioneers’ settlement into the Everglades and the creation of the town we now know as Davie. The campus also exhibits a reconstructed 1909 Pioneer Home, that shows the reality of living in that era and how daily life would be as a pioneer, as well as the Viele and Walsh-Osterhoudt homes, both built in 1912 and relocated to the Old Davie School campus.
In 1906 the wilderness of the Everglades slowly gave way to farmland as the dredging of canals began. The North and South New River Canal formed an edge of land to a new settlement the first pioneers called Zona, the area now known as Davie. Families that gave their fortune in the making of the frontier made education a priority and held school wherever they could—whether at a packing house along the canal or a room of the general store—all the students learned together with just one teacher. They needed more if they wished to reside in this rural area.
Finally, in 1914 a two-room school house was built on a one-acre piece of property--The Old Davie School, but by 1916 Davie had outgrown the building. They petitioned the Broward County School Board for a permanent school building, luckily succeeding to make it the first in the Everglades. The school finally opened its doors in 1918 to roughly 90 students. This paved the way for the growth of education within the Davie/Everglades community, schools began to appear all over the district, a community finally began to blossom.
Today, the Old Davie School Historical Museum invites visitors to experience South Florida’s agricultural past, and its economically diverse region. The school has truly become a symbol of longevity and community spirit. The building represents an irreplaceable link with the history of 20th century pioneering and early education in Broward County. With artifacts, photographs, articles and maps, a visit to the museum takes guests back in time to truly see all that conspired to create this town.