Time Changes Everything

The only thing constant in life—the only thing we can anticipate will happen—is change. While change is inevitable, and often dreaded, sometimes change is a sign of growth.

The pioneer families of Cortez changed their location, their seasons and to some degree their community when they made the trek south from Carteret County, North Carolina, in the late 1800s. In 1912, these same families, now expanded, outgrew the original 1896 one-room wooden school building and moved into the three-room Cortez Rural Graded Schoolhouse. While these changes may have presented their own set of challenges in the beginning Cortez wouldn’t be what it is today without them.

Cortez Rural Graded Schoolhouse, c. 1912

Over the years the Cortez Rural Graded Schoolhouse, which now houses the Florida Maritime Museum, has gone through many changes. Starting as a school for 1st through 8th grade in 1912, it also served as part of an art league and home to a famous master weaver, Robert Sailors. While the schoolhouse had many important stories during its life up until 1995 when Sailors passed away the building still sat empty for several years.

But, Cortezians are passionate about preserving their way of life. The community wanted to make sure the building remained a valuable asset and as a result the historic village and schoolhouse were placed on the National Register of