Dancy Terrace or Redell Street between 9th and 10th, Main and Hubbard Streets, Springfield, Jacksonville, Florida
|Front of the Mattie V. Rutherfors School, Fall 2003 (5th and Hubbard Streets, Springfield, Jacksonville, Florida)|
Once the Mattie V. Rutherford Elementary School and now the Mattie V. Rutherford Middle School Alternative Education Center
|Mattie V. Rutherford Elementary School, located on the corner of 5th and Hubbard Streets, was one of the first schools in Springfield. Named for Mattie V. Rutherford, Principal for many years, the school may have originally been known as the Springfield Elementary School.
Although I do not as yet know the school's early history, but do know that in about 1911 Katharine Bagaley (Mrs. Bagaley as she was known to her Kindergarten, Dance and Drama students) worked as an Aid to the Principal, Mattie V. Rutherford, until she was old enough to teach in the school. And, later on, about 1936-37, Joan Thomas, my Mother, held this same position which she referred to as "cadetting" or to herself as a "Cadet". This position in many Duval County Schools at that time, provided an opportunity to future teachers to work in the school system helping teachers and administration while working their way through college.
After Joan obtained her teaching degree at Florida State College for Women (now known as Florida State University or FSU), she taught 4th Grade at MattieV at two different times: before her marriage in 1944 and in the later 1940s after moving with her own family to Murray Hill.
Years past and in 2003 my Mother and I returned to visit MattieV and spoke with a school administrator who permitted us look around a bit inside the school. The photos I have of the school as it is today were taken on that trip (thank you very much to Joan Moore who offered to drive us around Springfield).
Although a century old, MattieV is in great shape today and is now called the Mattie V. Rutherford Middle School Alternative Education Center. The school provides a short term disciplinary program serving those students who have committed a serious violation of the Code of Student Conduct. Several articles on the web commend the school for this program which has been very successful.
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Mattie V. Rutherford, Principal:
Mattie V. Rutherford, for whom "School No. 6" as it was originally known, was named, served as its Principal for 34 years. Joan and Barbara Thomas both attended MattieV while Mrs. Rutherford was Principal and Joan, my Mother, Joan Thomas, remembers her as very strict and kind of scarey. At the end of the school year prior to Joan's first grade at MattieV, she went with a neighboring student to the school as a guest. This was a tradition of the school. There in the main hall of the building Joan saw Mrs. Mattie V. Rutherford for the first time. She was scolding a young child with a cast on his broken arm, so Joan thought that Mrs. Rutherford was awfully mean to have broken the child's arm.
After her retirement, Mrs. Rutherford would occasionally visit the school that bore her name. "Oh, it was HER school," my Mother remembers. "What do you mean HER school?" I asked. "You could tell by the way she walked around. It was HER school." "But, Mom, I thought she had retired while you were still a student there" "Oh, yes, she had, but she would come to visit."
Mattie V. Rutherford died during the "re-zoning" of students to 10th and Market Streets Schools. My Mother remembers the long trek of the children several blocks back to MattieV School in order to bid farewell to their former Principal as she "lay in state" in the School auditorium. Shortly thereafter she was laid to rest in the Evergreen Cemetery just north of Andrew Jackson High on the East side of Main Street.
Miss Nellie E. Cooke was the Principal of MattieV while Joan Thomas cadetted then taught there. My Mother speaks very highly of Miss Cooke who had two sisters who taught at what was then known as Kirby Smith Junior High and located just north of DancyT and east of 9th and Main.
There is also a story Miss Cooke told of the 3 little Cooke sisters sprawled atop the shed roof behind their house near 1st Street watching the Great Fire of 1901 which incinerated most of the downtown core of the Jacksonville but did not cross Hogan's Creek into Springfield. Imagine!
A further note: Mattie V. Rutherford's husband, Professor Robert Burns Rutherford, was also a principal... of Old Duval High on Ocean Street. Later he became principal of Andrew Jackson High School when it first opened in 1927, and a year after that he was made Superintendent of Public Instruction for Duval County.
I would like to know more about this School and the people mentioned. If anyone has information or pictures please share. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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