Archive for November 17th, 2014

The Gold Mine in the Closet: The Pape School, 1925, Savannah, Georgia

November 17, 2014

Sugar’s mother had told him years ago that she went to the Pape School, and that she rode the bus from Gordonston.

That didn’t make sense to us. What was the Pape School? What kind of name was Pape?

Then he found this photo.

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5th grade photo of The Pape School in 1925. Mary Genevieve “Genette” Lawton (later Bateson) is on the left on the back row. The Teacher Mrs. Lee. 1st row: 1. Frank Williams, 2. John Leffler, 3. Mary Pate, 4. Catherine Stewart, 5. Pratt Adams, 6. Mary Manning McNeil, 7. Mary Roland, 8. Elizabeth ?, 9. Walter Hartridge, 10. Clermont Lee. 2nd row: 1. Genette Lawton, 2. Marion ?, 3. Will ?, 4. Delia ?, 5. ?, 6. ? Chisholm, 7. Edward ?, 8. ?, 9. ?, 10. ?


See the boy on the front row, 2nd from right? He’s Walter Hartridge. Do you remember Alice Bateson, an orphan of Savannah? In 1880 she was a servant at age 9 in a Hartridge household, and that family was undoubtedly related to Walter Hartridge. I haven’t proved that yet; I’m just speculating, but it’s quite probable.  I’ll work on that angle, and then report back to you, just not today. The interesting thing is that Alice Bateson turns out to be the cousin of Richard Bateson, and Richard was born years later in New York, moved to South Carolina in the 1930’s, and married *Sugar’s mother*. Connections, they are everywhere.

His mother is on the back row on the left. There’s a separate piece of paper glued under the photo with a caption of who everyone is. Unfortunately, it’s written in pencil which has faded very badly especially in the bottom right hand area where it was probably handled and held by right-handed people. The handwriting is childish, so I’m supposing that Sugar’s mother wrote it. After all, she was about 11 in 1925 when the photo was taken.

The upper right of the photo has this:  “5th Grade Pape School 1925”.

We turned to our friend google and asked her about this:  “Pape School in Savannah Georgia”, and she told us about Nina Anderson Pape. You can read more about her. She was a Georgia Woman of Achievement. There’s also another article here written by an Armstrong student in 1984, and mentions that she met at the home of Louisa Porter (I’ve written about her before) when they were involved with starting the Girl Scouts with her cousin, Juliette Gordon Low.  The article also mentions that Walter Hartridge, Jr., was one of her pall bearers.

She started her teaching career at the Massie School, which was conveniently catty-corner to Sugar’s grandmother’s house across Calhoun Square.  (Y’all know what catty-corner is, right?)

Do we go to Pape School?  Ohyeswedo.


Sigh. This is where Pape School used to be.



This is to the left of the building which now sits where Pape School was, back in the day.

Nina Anderson Pape


A pioneer in women’s education, Nina Anderson Pape completed

her studies at Columbia University.  She founded the Froebel

Circle, which educated the poor children of Savannah’s

Yamacraw Village; and Tybee Island’s Fresh Air Home for

disadvantaged youth.  At this location in 1905, she established

the Pape School, which became one of the premier schools for

girls in the Southeast.  Miss Pape was instrumental in bringing

kindergartens to Georgia and included one in her school’s

curriculum in 1911.  Students from the Pape School in 1912

comprised the first two Girl Scout troops in America.  Miss Pape

became a leading advocate of higher education for women.  The

Pape School became Savannah Country Day School in 1955.

Erected by the Georgia Historical Society and

Savannah County Day School

The part about the Girl Scout troops?  One of Sugar’s Garrard relatives, Cecilia Garrard was in the 1st troop, and also Anne Carrington Read, who was Guilielma Lawton Carrington’s daughter, so now we know that they also went to Pape School.


This is the back of the marker, which is the same as the front. I’m standing in the bushes to get this shot, and I’d like for it to be noted that across the street is beautiful Forsyth Park. So we waxed rhapsodic about how the little children could go across Drayton Street and play in the park.

We’ve walked along the side of the building, and I’m shooting this from the rear side of the building looking across to Forsyth Park.  Can you see the historical marker? That’s right, it’s hidden by the bushes.  Told you I was standing in the bushes to get the shot for you people.



The rear of the building sports a parking lot.  There are some pillars along the curbing, and we decided that these pillars and curbing were here when Sugar’s mother went to school here.  We considered backing the van up to this pillar and taking it home with us, but again, our goal on some of our outings is simply to NOT go to jail.


I satisfied myself by walking along the curbing, balance-beam style, and made a less-than-graceful dismount.


This wall of brick, supported by concrete and rebar, defines the rear of the parking lot. Those bricks?  Why, they look like they are just waiting to be stroked and admired. We imagined that Sugar’s mother sat on the wall with her friends, giggling and whispering, even though I don’t know if she was a giggler or whisperer.

Sugar said that his mother said that her mother taught at the Pape School.  We later found this very fact in one of the city directories, which I cannot locate now, because we got side-tracked by Edith Barnes.   (Remember that name.  It will serve you well.)

And we also went by the Massie School, where Nina Anderson Pape first taught. The photos are adequate, but only that.  We’ll go back to get more.  Some people were standing and sitting about the entrance, and I didn’t want to ask them to move for the sake of a blog.

Out the window.

Out the window at Massie.


That’s the Pape School.  It looked lovely, didn’t it?