The Massie Common School House: Thinking About the Gold Mine in the Closet

Sugar’s mother went to Pape School, and Sugar’s mother’s mother taught French at Pape.

Here’s a photo of Sugar’s mother’s class in 1925. If you’ve read the blog, you might have seen this, and other photos, before.

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Sugar’s mother is on the back row, all the way on the left. On the front row, all the way on the right, is Clermont Lee. Yes, Clermont is a girl. Next to Clermont is Walter Hartridge.

Pape School was named for Nina Pape. Sugar and I went there before to check it out. Miss Pape began her teaching career at Massie School.

So let’s go to Massie.


If you stand in the middle of Calhoun Square, you can see several things.

This sign faces north on the north side of the square.  Imagine that you are standing here, and the house on Taylor Street in behind you to your right and further down a bit.

This sign faces north on the north side of the square. Imagine that you are standing here, and the house on Taylor Street in behind you to your right and further down a bit.




Stand in the middle of the square and turn to the right and look past the northwest corner.

There’s Sugar’s grandmother’s house at 122 East Taylor Street.


We parked right in front of her house because we are bold like that. Also, because there was a parking place.

We wonder at what point the people that live here will call the authorities to question us as to why we keep driving by their house. Because we are paranoid like that.

Turn now, and look across the northeast corner. There’s where Walter Hartridge lived.






And because we are snoopish, I get a closer-up shot of the house. It was built for William Rogers in 1859.




Now back to the center of the square. If you turn and look past the south east corner of the square, you see the Massie School.





We are facing the school.


Savannah’s Cradle of Public Education


Massie School is the only remaining building of Georgia’s oldest

chartered public school system. Constructed in 1855-56 and opened

for classes on October 15, 1856, the Greek Revival building is

listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Peter Massie, a Scottish planter in Glynn County, Georgia, in 1841

bequeathed $5,000 “for the education of the poor children of Savannah.”

This donation was invested “until a large enough sum could be accumu-

lated to build a school.”

In 1855, the City retained John S. Norris to design and build Massie

School. The center portion, costing $9,000 is the original structure.

The west wing was built in 1872 from plans by John B. Hogg, and

in 1886 the east wing was erected.

The building was used briefly as a hospital by federal troops after

Sherman’s occupation of Savannah in December, 1864. Beginning May 1,

1865, it was operated for a few months as a school for the Freedmen,

with teachers from the American Missionary Association.

Massie School became a unit of the Savannah-Chatham County Board

of Public Education when that body was established in 1866. It was

closed to regular classes in June, 1974, having educated Savannahians

for 118 years.




We’re facing the square.




It’s a Heritage Center now. We didn’t pay to go inside. If y’all need photos of the inside, I suppose we could go back. But you know I’ll take photos through the windows.




That’s a staircase! In front of a window!





And because I can’t stop taking photos of things, I take a few of the building next to the Massie School, even though Sugar is saying, “That’s not part of Massie School. That’s not part of Massie.” Well, I know that, but when am I are we going to be walking by this building again. That’s right, NOT EVER.



I wonder what this man was thinking, building his house next to a school. I’ll probably have to internet stalk him now, in the nicest way possible.


Built for John M. Guerrard. 1872. Historic Savannah Foundation.




That’s Massie Common School!

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