• Note: Much of the history of the Richmond Public Schools was recorded in the context of a segregated society, and the reader should readily discern between pre- and post-desegregation observations. The terms "black," "colored," "Negro," and "white" in this booklet should not be considered offensive as they have been used according to the custom of the particular period. Since 1962, the division has omitted such racial designations from its reports and publications.

Central School (old)

  • 1201 East Clay Street
    (Corner 12th & Clay Streets)

    In 1870, the Davis Mansion or White House of the Confederacy was purchased for $14,000; it was refitted and became one of the first five public schools in Richmond (along with Baker, Bellevue, Bethel, and Valley). Central School was occupied October 1, 1871, and had a faculty of eleven teachers. The "school" (class) on Belle Isle and the "schools" (classes) on Eleventh Street were considered part of Central School.

    When City Council donated this property to the Ladies of the Confederate Memorial Literary Society, it became necessary to secure another lot and erect another building. The school was closed in 1893-94, and the faculty and pupils moved "next door" to the new Central School at 407 North 12th Street (later renamed Ruffner School). The Davis Mansion was then converted into the Confederate Museum.


    1874-1875 - 592
    1892-1893 - 713

    1871-1894 Stephen T. Pendleton

    *Operated a private school at 12 North Fourth Street, 1851-71.

    Central School
    Ruffner School