(Public School No 4)(Riverside Grammar School)(Annie Lytle Elementary)

699 Chelsea Street

Status: Former School; Abandoned; Urban Legend

No Public Access


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Originally a small wooden school house was built on this site in 1891 called Riverside Park School.

In 1915 that school was deemed a fire hazard torn down and replaced by the existing building. It was completed in 1918 and named the Riverside Grammar School. It was officially called Public School Number Four.

In 1950 the name was changed to the Annie Lytle Elementary School after a Principal of the original Riverside Park School.

The creation of the Interstates 95 and 10 would completely isolate a school that was first built with a view of Riverside Park. In 1960 the school was closed to the public.

The building was first used as storage space but was sold in 1980 to be converted into senior apartments. When Federal funding failed to come through that dream ended.

The building was left empty and unused until 1999 – a fire even collapsed the auditorium roof in 1995 – when it was proposed to turn it into condominiums. After a huge public outcry, the school was declared a Historical Landmark in 2000 stopping any plans of tearing the building down.

Today the school is behind a fence and trespassing is strictly forbidden punishable by a large fine.


Paranormal Activity

There are many people – not to mention websites – that describe the school as the most haunted location in the city of Jacksonville; albeit with a large amount of tongue in cheek attitude.

The obvious Urban Legends have been disproven over and over again. There is no historical truth to the janitor throwing students into the boiler – Nightmare On Elm Street anyone? – or the cannibal principal storing the bodies of students in a meat locker for his personal consumption. Although its very doubtful that anyone actually believes in them anymore beyond scaring children.

There is, however, always some truth to Urban Legends. Of course, this doesn’t mean there were any psychotic or cannibalistic staff but this school – like most schools – probably had some fatalities. As well schools are often haunted – much like hospitals and asylums to a higher degree – although it is unclear why. Sure, there are – as mentioned above – fatal accidents and crimes committed in schools but no where near as many deaths as say a hospital but not enough to account for the number of haunted schools.

The stories of the school being haunted may be the only true legend; although it probably isn’t the most haunted location in Jacksonville – but, who really knows, maybe it is.

Since the school has been abandoned there are rumors of Satanic and Dark Rituals happening within the walls. The police have numerous cases of trespassing and vandalism – and one rape – inside the school but no dark rituals.

Paranormal Activity reported in the school: shadow figures, disembodied voices, doors opening and closing on their own, light anomalies, electrical disturbances and feelings of being watched.