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Lake City in Columbia County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Finley/Richardson High School

 
 
Finley/Richardson High School Marker Side 1 image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tim Fillmon, July 17, 2022
1. Finley/Richardson High School Marker Side 1
Inscription.  
Side 1
African American education in Columbia County dates to Reconstruction when the first school was established in 1866 for freed people of color in the county. In 1906, the Lake City School for Colored Students was created under the leadership of Principal Henon Richardson and assistant Annie Mattox. Richardson was principal from 1905-1913 with a salary of $50 a month. In 1908, the faculty expanded to eight teachers with most receiving a monthly salary between $20 to $25. In 1909, the school term extended to three months. With the assistance of the school’s trustees, B.J. Jones, Horace Mattox, and J.N. Norwood, the school was expanded in 1913 from grades 1-6 to 1-9. At that time, John L. Hopps was named principal and served from 1913-1920. Between 1920-1928, three more principals would oversee the Richardson Academy including E.J. Madison, Annie Mattox, and Thomas D. Everett. In 1925, a petition was signed by the “colored” citizens and taxpayers of Lake City to purchase a new site to construct a modern school. The board agreed, and the African American trustees raised $2000 for the project. Construction of a new brick high school
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began on top of what had been Agnes Jones’ Boneyard, an early Florida tourist attraction.

Side 2
Richardson Academy opened its doors in 1928 with 300 students under Principal Herman Tunsil. The building was a two-story block structure with 11 rooms, a library, an auditorium, and an office. E.R. Rolfe became the principal at the end of the year and served until the end of the twenties. In 1930, grades 11-12 were added under Principal H.L. Roundtree, and the school graduated its first class that year. Roundtree served 1930-1936. Following him was R.R. Kenon (1937-1944), A.L. Greene (1944-1954), C.W. Banks (1954-1957), and G.W. Ellis (1957-1960). M.L. Ferguson became principal in 1960. It had competitive sports teams, and the 1967-68 basketball team won the state championship. The school mascot was the wolves, and the colors were green and orange. Following the desegregation of U.S. public schools, it was integrated with white-only Columbia High School in 1970-71. The school was converted into a 9th grade center from 1971-1976. For much of the 20th century, Richardson helped to serve both the educational and social needs of the Lake City’s black community. Its doors closed in 1976 and much of the building was later demolished. The gym and cafeteria now serve as a community center for the surrounding neighborhood.

A Florida Heritage Site
 
Erected
Finley/Richardson High School Marker Side 2 image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tim Fillmon, July 17, 2022
2. Finley/Richardson High School Marker Side 2
2021 by The RIchardson Roundup Committee and the Florida Department of State. (Marker Number F-1135.)
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansEducation. A significant historical year for this entry is 1928.
 
Location. 30° 12.083′ N, 82° 38.141′ W. Marker is in Lake City, Florida, in Columbia County. Marker is at the intersection of Northeast Coach Anders Lane and Northeast Aggie Avenue, on the right when traveling north on Northeast Coach Anders Lane. Markers is located on the former site of the administration building. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 255 Northeast Coach Anders Lane, Lake City FL 32055, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Historic Site Lake City-Columbia County Florida (approx. ¾ mile away); World War I Memorial (approx. ¾ mile away); Vietnam Veteran Memorial (approx. ¾ mile away); Columbia County Korean Conflict Memorial (approx. ¾ mile away); a different marker also named World War I Memorial (approx. ¾ mile away); World War II Memorial (approx. ¾ mile away); Apalachee Trail (approx. 0.8 miles away); Alligator (approx. 0.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lake City.
 
Also see . . .  Marker dedication. (Submitted on July 27, 2022, by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida.)
 
Finley/Richardson High School Marker with remains of the school in background image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tim Fillmon, July 17, 2022
3. Finley/Richardson High School Marker with remains of the school in background
Finley/Richardson High School Marker looking northeast to old classrooms image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tim Fillmon, July 17, 2022
4. Finley/Richardson High School Marker looking northeast to old classrooms
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 27, 2022. It was originally submitted on July 27, 2022, by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida. This page has been viewed 237 times since then and 30 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on July 27, 2022, by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida.

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Feb. 23, 2024