This view is of Fourth Street, looking towards North Street from the intersection of North Alley and Fourth. The brick building second from the left is the Mt. Vernon Fire Company, where firemen stand in the doorway.
The small one-story building beside the firehouse, once used as the Garfield School, housed A. Stuckey's contracting business in this photo. (See Contractors and Photo #58)
Photos: Historical Society of Dauphin County
The Mt. Vernon Fire Company, which was organized in 1858, was originally located outside the ward and was called the Independent Hook and Ladder Company. It later moved to 519 Fourth Street. The company was always known for the "large number of prominent men" who served in its "ranks."
The small one-story structure beside the Mt. Vernon Fire Company was rented and used as a grammar school, known as the Garfield School, for young white girls. This school was opened because these little girls were thought to be too young to travel the distance to the other white schools in the district. For many years, the school was simply known as the Fourth Street School, but after President Garfield's assasination in 1881, the school was named in his honor.
Called "the most unique school that ever existed in Harrisburg" by journalist J. Howard Wert, the school students were mostly very young boys and girls, who were shielded from harm from attending school with older children. The female teachers were said to be "affectionate and lovable" to their charges.
In 1897, the school was moved to the newly-erected Wickersham Building on the corner of Cowden and Briggs Streets. W. Howard Day, school director of the 8th Ward, and Mr. Egle spoke at the dedication of the building. The school was named after the famous State Director of Education, Mr. Wickersham. During the Civil War, Wickersham belonged to the school teachers brigade.
As viewed in this photo, the former Garfield School was being used by the contractor A. Stuckey.