Note: 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.
Wythe (George) Junior High School/Building
Marshall Street between Eighth & Ninth Streets
This school was named for George Wythe (1726-1806), the eminent jurist and teacher of law. The cornerstone for the three-story junior high school was laid by Masons on February 27, 1922; it was built on the same site as the old Richmond High School (which was tom down) and occupied a full half-block. The cafeteria was located in the first story, not in the basement as was formerly the custom. The 1922-23 annual report includes picture and floor plan of George Wythe by School Architect Charles M. Robinson.
The school was occupied March 19, 1923; a portrait of its namesake was presented by Chancellor Wythe Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Although intended to be a junior high school, it immediately became an annex to the crowded John Marshall High School, across the street, enabling that school to "gladly abandon" its part-time arrangement. George Wythe was used primarily for John Marshall's freshman and sophomore classes, with an underground tunnel connecting the two buildings.
The building's separate Ninth Street entrance (312 North Ninth Street) was used for access by elevator to the fourth floor which housed the administrative offices (the School Board Room, the Superintendent's office, assistant superintendents' offices, business and purchasing, and other offices). It was considered an ideal location for the business administration of the entire school system.
As John Marshall High School's enrollment declined, third floor classrooms were also converted into offices. In 1960, when John Marshall moved to a new location on Old Brook Road, the entire Wythe Building became available for the administrative offices and the instructional departments which relocated from the Ruffner Building.
The administrative offices moved into the new City Hall in July 1972; the Wythe Building was declared surplus to the City, May 24, 1973, and was razed in May 1981. Currently a parking area for the City and schools (1992), the site is proposed to be incorporated into a new State Library facility.
Charles M. Robinson
John Marshall High School (old)