|City/Town: • Popash|
|Location Class: • Educational|
|Built: • 1912 | Abandoned:|
|Status: • Demolished|
|Photojournalist: • David Bulit|
The town of Popash began in the 1850s, establishing a post office in 1879 and the New Hope Baptist Church soon after. The town got its name from a tree that grows in Florida that locals couldn’t identify. Some thought it was a poplar tree while others thought it was an ash tree, so the two were combined to form Popash. The town was primarily a cattle and farming community, with the school session timed to let out with the strawberry season from December to mid-March.
In 1886, the coming of a railroad to the small town promised a big future. However, the railroad bypassed Popash for the nearby town of Zolfo Springs, where a year later, the post office would be relocated to. From then on, the town Popash slowly faded.
A school was established in 1898 and was replaced with a two-story brick schoolhouse in 1912. W. J. Jackson being the first supervisor of the school. The functioned until it’s closure in 1948, and by then, the town of Popash could have been considered a ghost town.
Popash School, as with many abandoned schools, was thought to be haunted, where children’s laughter was said to be heard if you were really quiet. Some people claim it used to be a hospital and the haunting is caused by children during a fever epidemic; though this is not true. Others claim the school was built on the site of a previous wooden school that had burned down, claiming the lives of many children; though this is not true either.
The school saw a lot of vandalism after it’s closure, mostly kids looking for a good scare. The property which the school sat on was owned by the Pace family, who used the property for parking staging trucks and tractor-trailers. In 2008, a barbed-wire fence was erected to keep vandals away from the school as well as the trucks parked nearby.
In January 2009, the school was demolished.