GA-25-007 Massie Common School House Savannahs Cradle of Public Education

Marker text: Massie Common School House 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 accumulated 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.

Board of Education for the City of Savannah and the County of Chatham

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