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.
15th & Marshall Streets
A Lancasterian free school was erected at this location in 1816 with the combined financial support of the City and interested contributors. It was said to have been built where the city incinerator formerly stood. The two-story brick school housed girls' classes on the second floor and boys' classes on the first floor. It was aimed only at the education of the children of the poor.
The school was copied from the English Lancasterian School System (established in 1798 by Joseph Lancaster) whereby, under the teacher's eye, younger pupils were taught the 3R's by older children (monitors). This economical school operation enabled one teacher to teach a large number of children; sand tables were used instead of expensive blackboards.
This building became one of the first six public schools in Richmond; it was subsequently renamed Valley School for its location in the valley of Shockoe Creek.
The trustees of the Lancasterian School transferred the property to the School Board in 1871.