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The History of Bolles


Interview with Harry M. deMontmollin Jr. '56, former Bolles President and Head of School 

Florida Military Academy Yearbook, 1932-33

Established in 1933 as a military school for boys in grades 7-12, Bolles dropped its military affiliation in 1962 and became coeducational in 1971. The independent school is governed by a self perpetuating Board of Trustees. The School's balanced college preparatory program combines academics, offerings in the fine and performing arts, athletics, leadership and service opportunities and activities, and a nationally-known college counseling and guidance program. The boarding program, in which boys and girls reside on different campuses, complements the coeducational learning environment. After-school activities abound on each campus providing numerous opportunities and areas of interest for students.

Bolles' lower school opened in 1981 with the first kindergarten class, expanding each year until the full Pre-K through Grade 5 lower school was complete. In 1991, the School acquired the Bartram Campus, formerly the all-girls Bartram School, which allowed for the addition of a separate middle school facility and a girls' boarding section. In addition, Bolles opened a campus in Ponte Vedra Beach in 1999 to serve students from the Beaches area in grades Pre-K through 5. The School enrolls more than 1,600 students with the capacity to host 90 boarding students. An ongoing development program has made possible substantial improvements to its physical plant over the years, most recently the addition of the state-of-the-art Betsy Lovett Arts Center on the Middle School Bartram Campus and two outstanding new facilities on the Upper School San Jose Campus, the Peyton Boathouse & Rice Family Crew Complex and the Bent Student Center. Bolles Hall, the original structure on the San Jose Campus, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and has been recognized by the Jacksonville Historical Society and the City of Jacksonville.

The Bartram School for Girls

Graduating class of 1934Bartram School for Girls was founded in 1934 by four Jacksonville families: the Atwoods, the Gibbs, the McCrorys and the Osbornes. It was located at Glynlea, the home of their friend, Madeleine Downing Knight, on the south bank of the Arlington River and was originally named Glynlea School. Miss Olga Pratt was the founding head of Glynlea, assisted by her colleague, Miss Lula Miller. The school relocated in the spring of 1938 to its permanent campus on Little Pottsburg Creek and was renamed Bartram School. In 1991 it merged with The Bolles School and became the current middle school campus and home of the girls boarding program.