Tomorrow I’ll make my first school visit of the year and I’m looking forward to being with kids again. This won’t be a long visit, it’s for first grade students only, and it’s local. The school is Rountree Elementary, named after one of Springfield’s early settlers in the late 1820s and early 1830s. The original school was a crude affair by today’s standards. Today its location is remembered by a marker erected on the site. I found this description in an article titled:
History of Greene County, Missouri
R. I. Holcombe, Editing Historian
The first school house was built in 1832. It was of small logs and stood where is now the old Christian church (used at present as a private residence), on the north side of College street, a little west of Main, and near where Gen. Lyon’s general headquarters were, and where his dead body lay. But the first school house attended by children who then lived on the present site was built in 1831, and was also of small logs. Of this school house, John H. Miller says it stood a mile and a quarter west of town, and the first teacher was old uncle Joe Rountree; the pupils were Henry Fulbright and some of his younger brothers, the Rountree boys, John Miller, J. J. Weaver, and his two older sisters, Louisiana, late wife of Col. C. A. Haden, and Jane, mother of Joe Farrier, and a few others. The school house had a good dirt floor, and one log, cut out for a window, no door or shutter. Here they learned to spell, read, write and cipher in Pike’s arithmetic, on three-legged benches. Mr. Miller says the old school house on College street had a loose plank floor, a door shutter, a mud-and-stick chimney, and then the builders thought that in the matter of school house architecture they had nearly reached the top round of the ladder of civilization, and the Ruskins of that day were greatly delighted with the beautiful effect produced.
Rountree Elementary School is special to me for two other reasons. My wife Sandy and daughter Robin both attended school there.