Landon Lionettes, 1949

April 22nd, 2014, 12:15H · Topics: Girls, Sports · Print

“Here is a photo of the Landon Lionetts at the Gator Bowl in 1949.  It was one of the most precise marching groups that I have ever seen.  They had a great reputation all over the South.  They would stretch out 90 yards of the field.”  LS

Landon High School opened in 1927 and served as a high school in Jacksonville until the last class graduated in 1965 and the school was converted to a middle school.  Of note was the Landon Lionettes, a precision girls’ drill team.  I came across a great newspaper article from The News and Courier in Charleston, S.C. dated Friday Morning, December 10, 1948, ahead of this particular performance with the headline “Famous Florida Girls’ Drill Platoon to Vie With Crack Clemson Unit in Gator Bowl”.  The article went on to say that Jacksonville, Florida’s famous Landon high school Lionettes were scheduled to make their third New year’s Day Gator Bowl appearance when Clemson meets Missouri.  “When the Lionettes make an appearance 120 of them march onto the field. Miss Turner (Kathleen Turner, the director of the Lionettes) reports that not a single girl on the squad has been late or absent at either a practice session or an official appearance this fall, really an outstanding record when it is known that the girls have drilled three times weekly since early september, have make eight appearances in the local stadium, another in Orlando, Fla., and also have participated in several parades.”  The story goes on to add “In these 16 years, the Lionettes have marched about 266,048 miles collectively, which is equal to 10 trips around the world with a few side jaunts thrown in for a good measure.  Approximately 1,100 girls have been Lionettes since 1932, remaining in the group from one to three years.”


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  1. 1 cynthia Kellow Rider August 6th, 2014 0:59H

    My mom is in one of those pictures..She was a Lionette..1949 was her senior year at Landon

  2. 2 Betty Younan Bass February 5th, 2015 8:03H

    I was in the last year of the Lionettes. Miss Turner retired so that was it, all gone. Our last year was 1957 and then I graduated in 1958. This drill team will never be forgotten as long as there are some of us still around. My mother proudly made many of the uniforms due to her great sewing skills. Wonderful days and great memories.

  3. 3 Margaret Louise Drody (Mrs. Kenneth Reed Thompson) May 3rd, 2015 16:42H

    I was a member of the Lionettes when these pictures were taken.

    We worked hard, had a code of ethics which we followed, and had fun.

    This group was a great character builder.

    Our Mothers sewed new uniforms for us every year we were in.

    These uniforms were also designed by Miss Kathleen Turner.

    I live in SC at present. A Jax., cousin sent me the comments for which I am very appreciative.

  4. 4 bob May 3rd, 2015 20:35H

    Margaret, Thank you for your comments. The photographs taken by Loyd Sandgren have a connection to so many people who have lived in Jacksonville over the years. So glad you found this photograph. I’m sure there are others on the site that will bring back a few more memories. Bob Self/Vintage Jacksonville

    • 5 Margaret Louise Drody (Mrs. Kenneth Reed Thompson) May 4th, 2015 10:37H

      I wonder if the people of Jacksonville ever realized just how much good Miss Kathleen Turner did to promote Jacksonville with her “Lionettes”.
      Miss Turner was our Physical Education teacher at Landon. She did an excellent job as a teacher. Her dedication to working long, extra hours to
      have this drill team for her school and community was never fully recognized as far as I know.

      The shortest member of this group was 4’10” the taller ones in the range of 5’11” to 6′, yet on the field we all looked the same height, and the decorative braid on the bottom of our skirts appeared to be a straight line. Miss Turner’s clever design, of course.

      I do remember there was some recognition from a group in Texas who asked her assistance in starting up or enrirching such a program out there.
      I think their name may have been Rangerettes. I only knew of this from people talking about it.

      Landon High School had an excellent band who played for the Lionettes’ programs.

      I have often thought about all the talented people who were in the 1949 graduating class: teachers, doctors, dentists, writers, business leaders, so many people of accomlishment. Some of national and international prominence.

      Our numbers are dwindling, but those remaining are still very able people.

      Thank you for your historical influence,
      Margaret Louise Drody Thompson

  5. 6 Amaribelle Ward Becktel May 12th, 2020 22:41H

    I loved the Lionettes. Thank you Margaret for sending this to me.
    One of our drills was to spell GIVE across the field from end to end. Since I was the shortest one Unit 1, and Margaret was unit 12 she was I think 5’10′” and I was 4’10”, BUT WE WERE AND STILL ARE BEST FRIENDS. One drill we had to spell GIVE across the field since I was the shortest and Edith was next to me we had to watch the goal lines and spell it out, It was scary but the pictures proved we did it right. Miss Turner was tough and she would give out demerits, but we didn’t get any! She was a minister’s daughter and she kept us doing right all the time, Well, I am still marching two miles a day at 88 and still going strong. Great training, great friends, and I still think about them and love them. Amaribelle Ward

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About Photographer Loyd Sandgren

I first met Loyd Sandgren in 1997 as I was putting photo gear back into my car after... Learn More