Longwood Historic Civic Center

historic civic center.jpg

This is likely the oldest building that is original to Longwood--records indicate it was erected at least 1880, if not earlier--but it has been at several locations throughout its history. The original section of the structure is in the center, behind the two side additions. It was first used as a schoolhouse and a community center for civic events; a traveling teacher named Professor Lynch taught there. At that time it was located about a block west, about where the Christ Church is today.

After Christ Church was constructed in 1881, this building was moved outside of town to what was known as Stum's Corner what was then considered the separate community of West Longwood. It was located near the corner of what is now Rangeline Road and the terminus of Church Avenue--back then that section of Church Avenue was known as Markham Road (the road connected with the community of Markham, west of Sanford).

During that phase of its life, it was used as a small church that was first called the Self Union congregation and later West Longwood Chapel. The community group West Longwood Pioneers also used it as their headquarters. The Great Freeze of 1894-1895 wreaked havoc on much of the area and the town of West Longwood was hit hard. Many of its residents left town or moved closer into Longwood proper, and the building sat abandoned for two decades.

The in 1914 the Longwood Civic League Woman's Club purchased the building and Daniel Clouser (brother of Josiah B. Clouser) helped move it to its present location. It served as the Woman's Club headquarters for over 80 years. The group was first founded in 1911 and were a vital part of the civic life of early Longwood. They helped raise money for street lights, paving roads (at first with sawdust), hosting events, cleaning up trash, and they operated a library out of this building for many decades. Through the club's efforts Historic Civic Center hosted many community gatherings and dances, in many ways just like its current function.

It was after the relocation in 1914 that the two side expansions with the front-facing gabled roofs were added. During the 1950s the front porch was enclosed and it remained closed-in for over 50 years.

In 1998 the Women's Club gave the building to the Longwood Historic Society so that it could be maintained and protected for generations to come. The front porch was again opened up and it was restored (more or less) to how it would have appeared in 1914!

In 2019 the Longwood Historic Society gave the building a major restoration by replaced the sagging floor, which had been damaged by terminates decades ago. It the subfloor was redone all the way to the dirt below and the support beams reinforced. Although not strictly authentic, wood tile was put in for longevity and durability needed for its use hosting community events. The stage was removed during this renovation.

Today the building serves as the headquarters for the Longwood Historic Society, and it is regularly rented out for community events.

Rental Features

  • Seated Capacity: 80

  • Stand-up/Cocktail Capacity: 100

  • Meeting Room Space: 1,100 square feet

  • Features: Catering Kitchen, Main Room, Restroom, Outdoor Area, Non-Smoking, Free Nearby Parking

  • Available: Chairs, Tables, Audio/Visual Equipment, Projector, Screen, Outside Catering

  • Suitable For: Weddings, Receptions, Small Parties, Reunions, Meetings, Church Gathering

  • Base Fee: $75/hour, minimum 4 hours


Historic Photos

As seen in 1989 with the Longwood Historic District filing. Sign above says "Longwood Civic League Woman's Club" and notice the closed in front porch with entrances on either side.