Market Street School: 1872 - 1964

... Alias the Smith and Christine Schools


Rare 1900 photo of Market Street School

From an 1887 3D Map

No history of education in Memphis would be complete without a reference to the old Market Street School. 

In 1870, a lot was purchased at the NW corner of Market and 3rd and the first "real school" in Memphis was erected at a cost of $80,000.  The 3-storey brick building opened in 1872.  On the first floor were 4 classrooms for the elementary grades.  Part of the 2nd floor was used for the secondary grades.   The 3rd floor was for lecture halls and exhibition space.  The basement was for the 4 furnaces and storage.  From the opening date, the teachers and principals of this historic school read like a Who's Who of Memphis education. 

In 1877, the newly created Memphis High School, consisting of the combined Male High School and Female High School, joined the high school section of the Market Street School and moved to the top floor of the Market Street School building.   During this same year, the Market Street School  name was changed to SMITH School in honor of the first principal.  The Memphis High School would stay at this location until 1892. 

Because there were now two schools with different names, in the same building at Market and 3rd, and because the newspapers frequently referred to both schools as "The High School" or "The Market Street School",  it's really difficult to sort out the complete, early history of either school.  To add to this confusion, at one time there were 4 other schools on Market Street - also referred to as "The Market Street school".   In addition, even though the Smith School was the new name for Market Street School in 1877, the Memphis directories continued to list it as Market Street School until 1883.   Additional confusion resulted even from the graduates of Memphis High School at this time.  Because their school is located in the Market Street building, they often listed their high school (Memphis High School) as "The Market Street School".  During the period 1877-92, the two names were almost inter-changeable.

By 1884 the Memphis High School had grown so rapidly that more space was desperately needed.  To accommodate them, the Smith School on the lower floors moved across the street to the NE corner of Market and 3rd.  When the Memphis High School moved to new quarters in 1892 (and was renamed Leath High School), the Smith School moved back to their old Market Street School building.   

In 1920 the Market Street School (now officially named Smith School) was re-named a second time to CHRISTINE School for a beloved teacher-principal.  Throughout all these name changes, newspapers and others continued to refer to the school as "the old Market Street School".   Sadly, in 1964, the Market-Smith-Christine School closed and Memphis' first "real school" building was demolished.

Christine - Back- 1964




Christine Reudelhuber ... "Miss Christine"

Annie Christine Reudelhuber was the long-time principal of SMITH School (Market Street School) from 1882 1920.  When she died in 1920, the school was re-named CHRISTINE School. 

In the early part of the nineteenth century John D. and Evelyn M. (Wilhelm) Reudelhuber, who were born, reared and married in the Rhine Provinces of Germany, immigrated to the the United States and settled in New Orleans.  They had five children - three sons and two daughters.  Then they moved to Memphis, where their children were educated in the Memphis city schools.

The family was noted as possessing many "sterling qualities of head and heart."  One of the sons was quite a military genius, and served in the light artillery at the age of seventeen in the Civil War. The eldest daughter, Christine, a product of the public schools, became a teacher at the age of fifteen, and was  promoted until she became principal of the largest school in Memphis.  Her sister, Pauline, also graduated in the Memphis city schools with honors, and became principal of the Merrill School.  Both distinguished themselves not only as efficient teachers, but as able disciplinarians.

Many of the city's most successful principals and teachers received their training under Miss Christine's careful and strict supervision.  She was a wonderful disciplinarian, fair and just, but a stickler for strict obedience.  Her word was law and no one dared challenge it.  Yet all teachers regarded her with great affection and those who knew her best admired her learning and deep wisdom.

Miss Christine had a distinct sense of fashion - favoring very elaborate and tall hats with plumes.   In nearly every photo of her taken at the Market Street School over the years she is pictured wearing a new hat.  One wonders if she didn't spend most of her salary on this fashion statement and whether she might have worn the tall hats to appear taller than the students and more  in control? 


Vintage photos of SMITH School and principal Christine Reudelhuber.  They were found in the possession of Sherrie Otte's grandmother Mrs. L. U. Brown,Sr.  They are marked on the back "1916" .  In addition to Miss Christine, two other teachers are identified:  Dr. Wadley and Miss Mary H. Winters.

Smith 1916


Smith 1916


The newspaper articles below are interesting. 
Click on the fragments to open the entire article.


Below:  An 1872 article describing the opening of the Market Street School.   It's a very large PDF file, so please be patient while it loads.  Use your BACK BUTTON to return to this page.

Below:  An 1872 article describing the new Market Street School building.   It's a large PDF file, so please be patient while it loads.  Use your BACK BUTTON to return to this page.


BELOW:  Click on the photo for "The Christine Story", a page about the 80th Anniversary of Market Street School,

The article below is the complete story of the Old Market Street School. 
  It's a very large PDF file.  Please be patient while it loads. 
Use your BACK BUTTON to return to this page.




For more archives: and then click on "Ray Holt Memphis School Article Collection".





Book Cover when name was changed to "Christine"
- Thanks Chris Ratliff, Spec Collections, UnivMemphis




The Historic-Memphis website does not intentionally post copyrighted photos and material without permission or credit.  On occasion a "non-credited" photo might possibly be posted because we were unable to find a name to give credit.  Because of the nature of our non-commercial, non-profit, educational website, we strongly believe that these photos would be considered "Fair Use.  We have certainly made no monetary gain, although those using this website for historic or Genealogy research have certainly profited.  If by chance, we have posted your copyrighted photo, please contact us, and we'll remove it immediately, or we'll add your credit if that's your choice.  In the past, we have found that many photographers volunteer to have their works included on these pages and we'll  also do that if you contact us with a photo that fits a particular page. 


The "Historic-Memphis" website would like to acknowledge and thank the following for their contributions which helped make this website possible:  Memphis Public Library, Memphis University Library, Memphis Law Library, Memphis Commercial Appeal, Memphis Press Scimitar, Shelby County Register of Deeds, Memphis City Schools, Memphis Business Men's Club, Memphis Chamber of Commerce, Memphis City Park Commission, Memphis Film Commision, Carnival Memphis, Memphis Historical Railroad Page, Memphis Heritage Inc, Beale Street Historic District, Cobblestone Historic District, Memphis Historic Districts, Vance Lauderdale Family Archives, Tennessee State Archives, Library of Congress, Kemmons Wilson Family, Richard S. Brashier, Lee Askew, George Whitworth, Woody Savage and many individuals whose assistance is acknowledged on the pages of their contributions.  Special thanks to Memphis Realtor, Joe Spake, for giving us carte blanche access to his outstanding collection of contemporary Memphis photos.

We do not have high definition  copies of the photos on these pages.  If anyone wishes to secure high definition photos,  you'll have to contact the photographer  or the collector.  (To avoid any possibility of contributing to SPAM, we do not maintain a file of email addresses for anyone who contacts us).



 Please visit the website that sponsors this page

   Historic Memphis Website