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Elaine Willis

Elaine Willis was born and reared in the Village of Bagdad.  She earned a 'Specialist in Education' degree from the University of West Florida and worked as a teacher and assistant principal at Bagdad Elementary School for 35 years. 

Willis is a founding member of the Bagdad Village Preservation Association and the Bagdad Historic Cemetery Association, along with membership in other civic and church organizations.  She cherishes family life as a wife, mother, and grandmother.

Willis  also developed a teaching guide for Bagdad history, and has presented many programs of local interest.  

She functions as both the Events Coordinator and the Head Curator of the Historic Bagdad Village Museumwhich is dedicated to the preservation of community archives and their enduring cultural, historical, or evidentiary value within the community.

Willis's passion in local history and genealogy is evident in the book she co-authored, We Remember Bagdad - An Architectural History.  In the preface, Willis invites the reader "to discover the beauty and charm of the historic Village of Bagdad..."  The book reveals the true essence of what life was like in this historic lumber village.

Click here to learn more about the

 Bagdad Village

Preservation Association

Formerly New Providence Missionary Baptist Church, the Bagdad Village Museum is constructed of Heart Pine lumber hauled from the old Bay Point Mill.  It was built by newly freed slaves and free black men in 1874, and served as a school for black children in the early years.  The building is believed to be the oldest Black Church in existence in Santa Rosa County.  It was built during a very important era in the history of Black religion in Florida. This was a time when Black communities were just beginning to establish themselves and function independently.  After replacing their church in 1987 with a new building, the congregation of New Providence Missionary Baptist Church donated the original historic structure to the Bagdad Village Preservation Association.  The building was moved to Church Street and now serves as the Bagdad Village Museum.  The Bagdad Village Museum complex is located on Main St at the corner of Bushnell St in Bagdad, FL, Santa Rosa County.

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