Kentucky Military Academy cadets

These earnest young students were enrolled in the Kentucky Military Institute, which opened its winter quarters in downtown Venice in 1933. KMI was hailed as an economic driver, as building had all but ground to a halt during the Depression. The school leased the San Marco Hotel for its dormitory, the Venice Hotel for administrative offices and classrooms, and later a garage on Tampa Avenue for its gymnasium. On Sunday afternoons, residents would gather to watch the students’ crisply choreographed dress parades, like the one shown here, photographed sometime between 1947 and 1951. KMI closed in 1971, a victim of shrinking enrollment and higher operating costs. The gymnasium is now the Venice Theatre. 

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