Good day to all and Happy New Year! Did you know a local popularity-contest winner went on to become Florida’s first female school superintendent? Around 1900, Charles Jones was city marshal in Bartow, Fla., when malaria took his life at age 38. His widow, Josie, then moved to Punta Gorda with four young children to be near her brother. Her only daughter, Sallie, was 5 when the family arrived.
The school Sallie first attended, at 215 Goldstein St., still stands and is now the Old School House apartments. When that building became overcrowded, a new school was built in 1911 on Taylor Street, between West Charlotte Avenue and King Street (U.S. 41 north), where she completed her secondary education. During her senior year, a roadshow came to town and, as a promotion, a popularity contest for young ladies was held. Although voting reportedly was close, Sallie Jones was declared the winner.
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