Two groups of Leesburg students have a greater understanding for their community's past thanks to yearlong projects conducted during the 2003-2004 school year under the direction of the Leesburg Historic Preservation Board and Jane Sewell of the Lake County School District.
Seventeen seventh-graders from Julie Stratton’s gifted language-arts Oak Park Middle
School class spent much of the year researching 12 historic buildings in the Leesburg Historic
District. And seven Leesburg High School students from Jan Smith’s advanced placement art class
did pen and ink sketches of 11 historic downtown buildings.
Those sketches are presently on display at City Hall Commission Chambers in Leesburg. The Mote Morris House, a Victorian home, which is one of the sketches, is located at 1195 W. Magnolia
St. The two-story house with a four-story tower was built in 1892 for eight-term Leesburg
mayor, Edward H. Mote and his wife Lucretia for about $9,000. It was added to the National
Register of Historic Places in 1974.
Other drawings include the St. James Episcopal Church, built in 1889; Butler Chevrolet, built in 1924; and Lee School, built in 1915; C.D. Kirk Building, now Victoria’s Antique Ware House; The Woman’s Club, now the Leesburg Heritage Museum; Leesburg State Bank, now Doggibags; City Hall; the old First National Bank on the corner of Fourth and Main; the Leesburg Opera House; and the Tropic Theatre.
The artwork was done by Michael Bedus, Merry McComb, Jay Hepburn, Lesley Ryland, Shannon Cowart, Jared Richardson and Dustin Johnson.
Several buildings sketched by the art students were also researched by the middle-schoolers including the Mote-Morris House; the C.D. Kirk Building; Lee School; City Hall; The Woman’s Club; and the Tropic Theater. The students also compiled information about the old Leesburg Post Office, now Economic Development and Housing; the LifeStream Building; Beyers Funeral Home and the Seaboard Train Depot.
Julie Stratton’s middle school students include: Brittany Anderson; Carson Boliek; John Bitsios; Emily Cages ; Kasey Colburn; Madison Conner; Kristen Heim; Kayla Hill; Chelea Mason; Chris Montalvo; Cole Moye; Anderson Raber; Jessica Riddle; Justin Sirmons; Amy Smith; Caley Somerville; and Josh Ullrich.