RPS: A Mini History: Bits & Pieces

Much of the history of the Richmond Public Schools was recorded in the context of a segregated society, and the reader should readily discern between pre- and post-desegregation observations. The terms "black," "colored," "Negro," and "white" in this booklet should not be considered offensive as they have been used according to the custom of the particular period. Since 1962, the division has omitted such racial designations from its reports and publications.

Madison School 101 South Madison Street (Corner Cary & Madison Street)

Named for the adjacent street which commemorates the name of James Madison, fourth President of the United States.

On January 1, 1872, the School Board authorized the purchase of a lot at this location for the site of a new school to replace rented rooms on Cherry Street. For the first three months of the 1872-73 session, classes were scattered in various parts of the district in such rooms as could be rented; the new eight-room school was occupied January 1, 1873. It was reported that the building "is an ornament to that portion of the city." As the community grew, it became necessary to add four more rooms in 1888.

In 1912, this school was replaced by a more modem building of twenty-four rooms and a roof garden. For the 1911-12 session and the first months of the 1912-13 school year, classes were conducted at Grace Arents and at St. Andrew's School (corner of Cherry & Cumberland Streets) until the new Madison was occupied in December. (The 1914-15 annual report includes picture and floor plan of Madison School by School Architect Charles M. Robinson.)

Madison housed Richmond's first open-air school, a tent-like structure on the roof garden where the tuberculosis patients lived and slept. It was regarded as a separate school and is said to have been the first of its kind in Virginia and one of the first in the United States. In 1933-34, a general industrial arts laboratory was installed for sixth grade pupils.

Madison School was closed in June 1968; the building was demolished in 1973, to make way for an expressway. Approximately.4 acre of the playground was transferred to the Safety Department for a fire station at Jefferson & Canal.

Enrollment: Sept. 1968 1,158
Enrollment: 1874-1875 691
  1912-1913 871
  June 1968 368 (final)
Architect: 1912 Charles M. Robinson
Cost: 1912 $97,681
  Original Building 18,104
  Lot 821
The City owned part of the lot (valued at $2,000) and appropriated it to Madison School.
Principals: 1872-1876 E. W.Cone
  1876-1887 John A. Cunningham, Jr.
  1887-1939 William G . Jones
  1939-1943 DeWitt C. Beery
  1943-1958 Clyde Busby
  1958-1968 Nellie Celeste Jones