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School History
 

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Henry Mitchell Elementary School was built in 1915. It was named in honor of Florida's 16th governor. Henry Laurens Mitchell. Mr. Mitchell was also a civilian soldier in the Confederacy, a lawyer, a prosecuting attorney, the editor of the Florida Peninsular Newspaper, a Circuit Judge, a Justice of the Supreme Court and Clerk of the Circuit Court here in his home county of Hillsborough.

Mitchell Elementary began as a small neighborhood school over 90 years ago. The neighborhood quickly outgrew the little school and in the mid 1920s a near seamless addition was added to either end of the building. Between 1949 and 1952 a cafeteria was added to the south side of the property. In 1999 a media center and four classrooms were built to the north of the original building. In 2006 the old cafeteria was demolished. Then twelve classrooms, a Multi Purpose room, and the Cafeteria were added .  


With a hint of Mission Revival style architecture, Mitchell school is significant as an early example of the use of revival style elements in Tampa. The unusual character of the front entry really sets it apart from other schools and adds interest to the front facade.

Older schools can offer comfortable classrooms with lots of natural light streaming in through large windows, a warm, welcoming, beautiful place for the encouragement of learning as well as subtle lessons about their place in a community's history. Through a student's understanding of Mitchell's history comes respect for the past and responsibility of stewardship for the building and the surrounding community.

The gleaming wood floor hallways show wear, but echo rich traditions and pride shown by students, teachers, staff and parents. Today it continues to service the surrounding neighborhoods with a strong dedication to excellence in academics as well as community involvement. The school is now considered one of the finest public schools in Hillsborough County.

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Mitchell Elementary, 1949







Henry Laurens Mitchell
Florida's sixteenth governor: January 3, 1893 to January 5, 1897
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Henry L. Mitchell was born in Jefferson County, Ala., on September 3, 1831. At 15, he moved to Tampa, where he studied law and was admitted to practice in 1849. When the Civil War began, Mitchell resigned his position as state attorney to enlist in the Confederate army.

In July 1863, Mitchell left the army to take a seat in the Florida House of Representatives, to which he had been elected in his absence. He served again in the 1873 and 1875 sessions.

Mitchell was appointed to the Florida Supreme Court in 1888 and served until 1891, when he resigned to run for governor. By the end of his term, he reported that the state was "in a prosperous condition" although the government's own finances did not present "a healthy showing."

After his term as governor, Mitchell was elected clerk of the circuit court and then county treasurer of Hillsborough County. He died in Tampa on October 14, 1903.