Organizers of Autumn Market Day at the Old Lutz School hope that motorists passing by on busy U.S. 41 will decide to stop and shop for awhile.
This year’s Autumn Market Day is set for Oct. 14, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the school grounds at 18819 N. U.S. 41.
The event seeks to raise money for upkeep and improvements at a school that is on the National Register of Historic Places and where generations of Lutz children were educated before it was closed a few decades ago.
The building is considered a community icon and there’s such a strong attachment to it that a group called Citizens for the Old Lutz School
holds occasional fundraisers to preserve the building for future generations.
“We really, really need people from the community to come out and walk the event. You can’t have these things and nobody show up because then you don’t have these special events anymore,” said Suzin Carr, a two-time Lutz Guv’na who has been the lead organizer of the event in recent years, but is transitioning out of that role because she has moved to Citrus Park.
Stefanie Ensor, another former Lutz Guv’na, is the new market coordinator, Carr said, adding that Ensor has done an excellent job of organizing the event.
Ensor said she expects 35 to 40 vendors to be there, offering jewelry, candles, tote bags, vintage gifts, plants, custom handmade wood signs, among other things. Some nonprofit organizations and a politician have also rented out spaces, she said.
“It’s a perfect holiday time to buy gifts and to support local vendors as well as nonprofits,” Carr said. Plus, there will be a bake sale.
Proceeds from the Autumn Market will be used to pay for electricity and building upkeep.
“We’re always up there replanting and weeding and painting and mulching,” said Ensor, a member of the Old Lutz School Board.
The event also includes a micro-irrigation and water conservation class by the Hillsborough County Extension Service, which begins at 10 a.m.
The Old Lutz School Museum also will be open, with some long-time Lutz residents there to talk about Lutz’s early days, and the role the school has played over time.
The old brick building was designed by Frank A. Winn Jr., who also designed the Seminole Heights Methodist Church in Tampa, the Municipal Fishing Pier and Pavilion in Ballast Point Park and Tampa Heights Methodist Church, according to the Citizens for the Old Lutz School’s website.
Originally, the building had four rooms downstairs and a large auditorium upstairs. But within a few years, the auditorium was divided into four rooms, plus a teacher’s room, the website reports.
The site where the old brick school building stands is the same place where Lutz had its first schoolhouse.
That was a one-room frame schoolhouse, built by the North Tampa Land Company in 1910, says an account on the group’s website. Records show that 37 students, first through eighth grade, attended Lutz School in 1912. They were taught by 18-year-old Callie Berry, who was the school’s principal and teacher — earning $39 a day.
Published Oct. 11, 2017