Reflecting the Italian Renaissance style, Matthews Gilbert School was constructed in 1926 to serve the Oakland and East Jacksonville communities. Alumni include two-time Olympic gold medal winner, Robert "Bullet Bob" Hayes. The site was originally occupied by the Florida Baptist Academy founded in the 1890s by Bethel Baptist Institutional Church. J. Rosamond Johnson, brother of James Weldon Johnson, served as music director at the academy. The Florida Baptist Academy relocated to St. Augustine to become the Florida Normal and Industrial Institute, and then to Dade County, where it is now Florida Memorial College.