OCPS's William A. Lovell

William A. Lovell

Meet William A. Lovell - Our First Superintendent
Meet William A. Lovell - Our First Superintendent

William A. Lovell served as the first superintendent of Orange County Public Schools from 1869-1872. Originally from South Carolina, Lovell moved to Florida in 1854, locating first near Ocala, then Mellonville (currently Sanford), and Orlando before settling in Apopka, where he raised a large family of 11 children.

Lovell enlisted in the Confederate Army during the Civil War and reportedly buried four bales of cotton in the ground before he left. Upon his return, he profited enough from selling his cotton to buy land. He opened a steam sawmill on Lake Eola and built a house on what is the current site of the Orlando History Museum. Mr. Lovell also built a dry goods store and hotel in Orlando.

In 1872, Lovell purchased 225 acres of land on the northwest side of Lake Apopka. At this location, he established a landing to serve as a hub for freight service on the lake and the surrounding region. Fruits and vegetables from 17 landings around the lake were brought to Lovell’s Landing for delivery by oxen to Clay Springs (currently Wekiwa Springs) and areas further north.

It is believed Lovell’s large family and ability as a businessman were the reasons he was chosen as the first school superintendent.

Lovell Elementary school in Apopka was named after William A. Lovell and was originally built on land once owned by William’s son Fred. 

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