Mrs. Caroline Baker Allen
A biography and photo of Mrs. Allen appears in The Heritage of Okaloosa County, Florida. Volume II. Examples of her community service and contributions populate local papers over a span of many years. A Biography also appears on line in the Educational Services section of the Baker Block Museum’s “A History of Florida, the Panhandle and Okaloosa County” webpage. An excerpt of this page follows:
Caroline Baker was born in Texas. She graduated from Huston-Tillotson College in 1946. She married that year and moved to Florida with her husband, Samuel A. Allen where they began their teaching careers. When they arrived at the Crestview Depot they asked for directions to Baker, Florida. The agent said,” Baker!” “Nobody goes to Baker!” But he arranged for them to ride to Baker with the mailman that morning. They were able to find a house to rent for six dollars a month. They found someone to wire the house for electricity but there was no indoor plumbing. They got their water from a pump across the street.
Caroline and her husband taught at Drew School in Baker from August 1949 until May, 1954. That is when Carver Hill School was built in Crestview and they were transferred to teach there. When the public schools were integrated, Caroline was transferred to teach at Crestview High and her husband to Richburg Junior High School. They remained there until they retired; Caroline retired in 1979.
Mrs. Allen was an educator in Okaloosa County Schools for 30 years. She dedicated her life to the preservation of local history. . . It was a terrible shock to the community when she was killed in an automobile accident in 2005. She and other family members were on their way home from a high school reunion. She was eighty years old at the time. Hers was a life well lived and serves as an example to all that even in death, she leaves optimism that we can better our lives and our world.”
In Memoriam – Caroline Baker Allen
As a teacher, activist, creative writing instructor, museum curator and 2001 inductee in the Okaloosa County Women’s Hall of Fame, Caroline Allen is remembered for her efforts to keep Crestview’s African-American community in the spotlight for more than 50 years. Mrs. Allen, who died in a car accident in August 2005, was born in Belton, Texas in 1925 and moved with her family to North Okaloosa County in 1949. She began her teaching career at Drew High School and was transferred in 1954 to Carver Hill School, where she taught English and business classes.
From 1968 to 1979, she was the head of the Business Department at Crestview High School. After retiring from the Okaloosa County School Board, she began her career as a civic leader. Mrs. Allen served in an official capacity with the Crestview Chamber of Commerce, the Arts Council, the NAACP, the Eglin Air Force Base African- American Committee, and the Okaloosa County Library Focus Group. In the 1970s Mrs. Allen worked to convince the school district that what had been the Carver Hill School’s lunchroom should be converted into the Carver Hill Museum.
She gathered school memorabilia and wrote grant applications for state and federal assistance. Later, she envisioned building a larger museum and shepherded its construction from fund raising to completion. Throughout the remainder of her retirement, Mrs. Allen contributed to her community by advising small businesses, writing letters and providing advice to citizens. She was a leading organizer of Crestview’s annual May Day celebration.