Historic Markers Across Alabama

Professor John Metcalfe Starke / Starke University School

Marker ID: AHA 
Location: on Dexter Avenue east of South Decatur Street, Montgomery, Alabama
County: Montgomery
Coordinates: N 32° 22.641    W 086° 18.127
  32.37735    -86.30211666
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WMCRY0


Professor John Metcalfe Starke
"Fessor Starke"


A native of Virginia, John Metcalfe Starke received his early education in Petersburg and graduated from the University of Virginia in 1882, earning diplomas in Latin and mathematics. He taught in Virginia and North Carolina before coming to Montgomery in 1887 as headmaster for a boys' school organized by prominent local men. Its success caused him to start a school of his own at Hamner Hall. In 1897 he built a building here. The following year he married Frances Powell. He received an honorary doctorate from the University of Alabama in 1929. A small, wiry man, honest, courageous and fair, he believed fervently in the school's motto, "Work Wins." For over half a century, he was a paragon as an educator here in Montgomery.

Starke University School

"Omnia vincit labor - Work Wins"

In 1887, eighteen prominent men founded a private school for boys, hiring John Metcalfe Starke as its headmaster. In 1888, Starke opened his school. Rigidly high academic, military and disciplinary standards prevailed throughout the next eighty years. Boys who fell behind reported for Saturday classes. From 1897-1923 the school stood here on Dexter Avenue; later located on Houston Street and then on Mount Meigs Road. Professor Starke died in 1941. The school continued, closing in 1967-68. A governor, U.S. senator, judges, generals, doctors, businessmen, academics, lawyers and financiers were among Starke School's many distinguished graduates.

Erected 2001 by Alabama Historical Association.

End of Professor John Metcalfe Starke / Starke University School