Fifty years ago the Mackle brothers (Elliot, Frank, and Robert) purchased nearly one square mile of land two miles west of tropical Park in order to break ground on what was to be Florida's 23rd largest city; Westwood Lakes.
This community of 12,000 people would be built south of a two lane dirt road that was practically inundated during the summer months. The road is known today as Bird Road (SW 40th Street) and the area was a semi-undisturbed Everglades marsh lands with a scattering of small dairy farms.
Early in 1958, the Dade County School System called for bids on two new schools in the Western part of the county: they were Tropical Juniro High (now Blue Lakes Elem) and south Westwood Lake Elementary (now Cypress).
The Bradgord Builders of Miami were the lowest bidders for the new Elementary School and the Dade County School system gave them the contract on March 2nd, 1958 to build a "six row" school for $367, 407. John M. Lydell was chosen as the architect and William A. Berry as the mechanical engineer.
The schools first official address was SW 55th Street and 112 Ct. Just after awarding the contract and as construction began in the summer of 1958, the school board approved name changes for three public schools, all in the area of Westwood Lakes.
So on July 3rd 1958, South Westwood Lake Elementary School officially became known as Cypress Elementary!
Along with a new name came a new principal. Mr. charles Gelfo became the first principal of the elementary school at Westwood Lakes and the first at the newly named Cypress Elementary.
Three years later he would have to lead many worried parents and scared strudents through an event that would have a huge impact on all Dade County Public Schools: The case of the Tainted Turkey!