• 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.

Davis (Webster) School

  • 4410 Northampton Street
    (Denny Street between Northampton & Union Streets)

    This school was named for D. Webster Davis, a highly respected civic leader and teacher; he was said to have been also an orator, pastor, author, businessman, musician, and poet. Upon his death on October 25, 1913, Superintendent Chandler wrote: "Webster Davis was one of our most able colored teachers and was greatly loved by ail Be was a teacher, a poet, and a lecturer. He received more honors, probably, than any colored. man in the service of the Richmond schools. He served the system faithfully for 34 years. Most of his years of service were given at the Baker School."

    The earliest (1889) colored school in Fulton was located on Orleans Street; there is later reference to a school (perhaps the same one) at 505 Orleans Street.

    In 1906, the two-room Reidsville School (Nicholson Street near Government Road) was acquired by annexation from Henrico County. At this time in Fulton there were five classes of colored pupils supervised by Assistant Superintendent A. H. Hill until 1915. These classes met in several locations, some rented, and were known as Webster Davis School. One of the rented locations was at 830 Graham Street (the comer of Graham & Union Streets).

    The annual reports for the sessions 1920-23 list 1222 Nicholson Street (Reidsville School) as the address for Webster Davis School. In July 1920, the School Board Clerk reported on Webster Davis: ''Building being repaired and new addition erected on same lot. A new building for a colored school in this district badly needed."

    By 1921,when the enrollment numbered 350, Superintendent Hill stated that over a hundred pupils had to go to George Mason School in Church Hill because there was no room for them in Fulton. Finally, on December 3, 1923, the classes were brought together in a new brick building on Northampton Street; additional play space was also secured. The principals of Chimborazo and later Robert Fulton had general supervision of this school prior to 1933. An addition (nine classrooms, library, cafeteria, and auditorium) was built in 1950-51.

    Webster Davis School was discontinued in 1973, due to the expense of maintaining a full staff with a low enrollment, and the pupils were transferred to Robert Fulton. (There was some community opposition to the closure.) Pupils from the Chandler Special Education Center were housed in the building for the first semester of 1973-74; the office of the director of Area I was also housed at Webster Davis in 1973-74.

    Webster Davis was declared surplus to the City, July 18, 1974. The building has since been torn down.

    Enrollment:

    1923-1924 - 272
    1950-1951 - 342
    1955-1956 - 759
    1972-1973 - 194 (final)
     
    Architect:

    1923 Charles M. Robinson
     1950 Addition Dixon & Norman
     
    Cost:

    1923 -$ 48,027
    1950 Addition - 434,628

    Principals:

    1915-1933 Sarah Brown (Head Teacher)
    1933-1944 Sarah Brown (Acting Principal)
    1944-1969 Elsie Graves Lewis
    1969-1971 Russell Marvin Busch
    1971-1973 General John Johnson

    See:
    Fulton School (colored)
    Reidsville School