Annie Lytle Elementary School – a Neo-Classical long forgotten building

Nikola Petrovski
Both photos by Erin Murphy, CC BY-SA 2.0

It was built in 1891 as a wooden house and back in its day, it went under the name of Riverside Park School. As time went on, and new regulations came into existence, the old wooden structure became a fire hazard and so new public schools were in demand.

Several new public schools (in red brick Neo-Classical style in 1917) were built and Riverside Park School was leveled to the ground and rebuild into Public School Number Four. Later, this same School Number Four was renamed into Annie Lytle Elementary School, in honor of its long-serving principal. The cost for this new pleasure was around $250,000.

Tall long gone windows. Photo Credit: Erin Murphy, CC BY-SA 2.0
Tall long gone windows. Photo Credit: Erin Murphy, CC BY-SA 2.0

 

Among the ruins. Photo Credit: Erin Murphy, CC BY-SA 2.0
Among the ruins. Photo Credit: Erin Murphy, CC BY-SA 2.0

The Annie Lytle Elementary School even though it was new was used only for few more years. After the construction of I-95 and I-10 highways (in the 1950s) the school became somewhat a burden for students to get to it. The noise became unbearable and so the only solution on the horizon was for Annie Lytle Elementary School to shut down it services and it was in 1960 when those doors closed for the last time.

Boiler room. Photo Credit: Erin Murphy, CC BY-SA 2.0
Boiler room. Photo Credit: Erin Murphy, CC BY-SA 2.0

Used as a school system administrative office for more than a decade after its initial life as a public school, this structure was abandoned for good in 1971.

No more doors. Photo Credit: Erin Murphy, CC BY-SA 2.0
No more doors. Photo Credit: Erin Murphy, CC BY-SA 2.0

It was alone in its Neo-Classical style, omitted and lapsed from people’s memory for some 24 years until the day of the big fire. In 1995 a colossal fire damaged the building and the roof with its Neo-Classical adornments caved in and collapsed.

The fire damage that destroyed almost 90 percent of the structure. Photo Credit: Erin Murphy, CC BY-SA 2.0
The fire damage that destroyed almost 90 percent of the structure. Photo Credit: Erin Murphy, CC BY-SA 2.0

Now completely opened to weathering it was only a matter of time when vandals would so to speak jump on stage.

The Vandals at its best. Photo Credit: Erin Murphy, CC BY-SA 2.0
The Vandals at its best. Photo Credit: Erin Murphy, CC BY-SA 2.0

From School to storage space for Duval County, this structure also served as a home for hippies, place where drug addicts found their relief, where paranormal investigators would try answer the unexplained, the graffiti artists would claim the white space on the walls, where urban explorers would find their courage and youth itself would satisfy their adrenaline addiction.

Completely destroyed. Photo Credit: Erin Murphy, CC BY-SA 2.0
Completely destroyed. Photo Credit: Erin Murphy, CC BY-SA 2.0

The rumors never stopped to besiege this now ex-school and talks of murders, rapes, and janitors out of their right mind became a symbol with which this school jumped off from the list of ordinary schools.

Empty hallways in Annie Lytle Elementary School. Photo Credit: Erin Murphy, CC BY-SA 2.0
Empty hallways in Annie Lytle Elementary School. Photo Credit: Erin Murphy, CC BY-SA 2.0

Even though filled with stories proven and unproven and one confirmed rape that happened inside the school, Annie Lytle was designated a historic landmark.