by Jeff Blakley
If you stop at Robert is Here, at the corner of Tower Road and Palm Drive west of Florida City to buy a milkshake or some of their other offerings and if you look very closely at the overgrown northwest corner of the intersection you might by able to see that there is a house behind all of the vegetation. The house was the original Longview Schoolhouse and was used by the Longview Women’s Club after the school was closed when the Florida City school opened in 1916.
The Longview Women’s Club was famous for its rag rugs and pine needle baskets, which they made to raise funds for their many projects. One project that is never mentioned is their role in the establishment of the Royal Palm State Park in 1916. Mrs. Agnes Stewart Loveland, the wife of Edward Collins Loveland (and the family for whom Loveland Road is named) was the chair of the building committee for the Lodge in the Park. She and Charles Mosier, the warden, were responsible for the construction of the Lodge. Other local clubs also had a role to play in the establishment and running of the Park, including Homestead, Redland and Princeton, but the Longview Club probably played the biggest role since it was nearest to the Park.
I found this article in the February 26, 1925 issue of the Homestead Leader, and found it most interesting reading, as the history of women’s clubs in the Homestead area holds that the Homestead Woman’s Club, organized in September of 1914, was the first organized in the area. It was not. The Longview Club was organized in May of 1911.
The members of the Longview Club enjoyed an interesting and delightful afternoon at their meeting Thursday, Feb. 26, when they installed the officers elected at their last meeting and honored their retiring president, Mrs. E. C. Loveland; their past presidents, Mrs. H. H. Ewing and Mrs. Josephine Waite; and the new president, Mrs. Gertrude B. Fuller.
The club rooms were most attractively decorated with flowers and greenery and with beautiful specimens of the artistic rugs which are the product of the Longview loom. The club has woven to order specially designed rugs for some of the most beautiful and artistic homes of Coconut Grove and Miami, and its rugs have been ordered from far distant places.
When Mrs. Loveland arose to present the gavel of her office to her successor she received a heart-warming ovation. There was a demonstration of unmistakable affection and deep appreciation. The members rose to their feet and waved and chanted:
Agnes Loveland, president,
For nine good years and more,
Every Longview resident,
Wants her nine years more.
Had trick of Fate placed her upon
The throne of good queen Bess
The British realm were better ruled
Each Longview dame says, “Yes! Yes! Yes!”
With the poise and unconscious grace that marks her always, in gracious words of good cheer and good wishes, she passed the gavel to Mrs. Gertrude Fuller, the new president, who declared her trepidation in following so able a president and declared that she would need every bit of help possible.
Mrs. H. H. Ewing gave a very able and interesting historical sketch of the early pioneer homesteading days and the first years of the Longview Neighborhood Club as it was first called. It was organized in May, 1911 in the home of Mrs. R. L. Moser. Mrs. Ewing, the first president, served two years.
Several great get-together meetings were held, all day meetings with bountiful repasts, free to all, and among the guests were those who have become famous in Florida. Traveling was tedious business in those days when roads were trails, and the ladies brought their sewing and stayed all day.
These were red-letter days for those early homesteading women far from the music, lectures, churches and associations of their former city homes.
Mr. Baulknight (sic) gave the acre of ground where the club house now stands to the school board to be used for a school, and the club house was once the Long View school house. As women ever will, the early club members centered upon making the best possible provisions for the children.
Early Long View Club members improved the school grounds with flowers, put curtains at the windows, started a school library. Each year the club gave a reception to the teachers when school opened in Septemeber.
Everybody wore evening dress, and there was a formal receiving line. Parents and pupils met and greeted and became acquainted with the new teachers. Strict company manners were observed, for they wanted the children to know how to act when they went out and took their places in the world of larger affairs and how were they to learn unless parents provided the opportunity? Mrs. Calkins had fine dramatic ability and plays were put on that drew out the talents and abilities of the members for the good of all. This recognition of the dignity and value of the teaching profession gave an emphasis to education it were wel lto (sic) continue and emulate.
Mrs. H. S. Jenison, past president of the Dade County Federation came from Miami to give the principal address and as she said to pay her homage to the lady her husband calls “the lovely Mrs. Loveland”, to share in a happy day and to cheer and welcome Mrs. Fuller to her new duties. Her remarks were cordial and gracious.
Mrs. Sigler in her original monologues and mimicry was a host and at her best.
Mrs. W. R. Crow added much to the pleasure of the day by two songs most beautifully rendered.
Mrs. Redhead played “Souvenir” by Franze Drdla, exquisitely, on the violin and responded to an encore with “A Happy Wedding”.
The officers of the club who were installed are: president, Mrs. Gertrude B. Fuller; vice-president, Mrs. M. G. Tracy; second vice-president, Mrs. Clara Tucker; treasurer, Mrs. Flora D. Myers; recording secretary, Mrs. Ben Biggers.
The committee on arrangements for the day served under Mrs. J. M. Dobbin, chairman, and the program committee was headed by Mrs. Hubert Potter. Mrs. R. L. Moser is chairman of the home economics committee. Mrs. M. G. Tracy, Mrs. Biggers and Mrs. R. Sheppard head respectively the library, education and courtesy committees.
Many visitors from other clubs were present and refreshments were served on the broad pleasant plazzas (sic) of the club house.
It was a pleasant day for those present. The honors given the past presidents were well earned and generously bestowed out of full hearts, and this augurs well for the future of the club. The meeting adjourned after the members gave their new cheery, ringing club call written by the new president:
“We are the women of Longview Club,
Longview Club, Longview Club,
Let us weave you a right good rug,
a right good rug, a right good rug
Or make you a uniform neat and snug,
neat and snug,From the women of the Longview Club.
We are the club of the pioneers,
Formed in the early colonial years,
colonial years, colonial years
To keep away the homesick tears, the
From the women of Longview Club.”