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Popash School | Photo © 2007 Tantrum Dan

Popash School

Location Class:
Built: 1912 | Abandoned: 1948
Status: Demolished
Photojournalist: David Bulit
A view of the school during it's operation; circa 1925.
A view of the school during its operation; circa 1925.

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 | Photo © 2007 Tantrum Dan
Photo Credit: Tantrum_Dan, 2007

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.


David Bulit is a photographer, author, and historian from Miami, Florida. He has published a number of books on abandoned and forgotten locales throughout the United States and continues to advocate for preserving these historic landmarks. His work has been featured throughout the world in news outlets such as the Miami New Times, the Florida Times-Union, the Orlando Sentinel, NPR, Yahoo News, MSN, the Daily Mail, UK Sun, and many others. You can find more of his work at davidbulit.com as well as amazon.com/author/davidbulit.

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