• 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.

Leigh School

  • 21 East Leigh Street (Corner First & Leigh Streets)


    One of the first three public schools built by the City, it was named for the adjacent street which perpetuates the name of Benjamin W. Leigh, a Richmond jurist and United States Senator.

    Prior to completion of the building, classes were taught in rented rooms scattered over a large area. Several classes that met in the Friends’ (Quaker) Meeting House were considered part of this group.

    Leigh School opened January 1, 1872. Rooms were added in 1904-05. The third story of the school was condemned in the 1908-09 session .Pupils were then relocated to the lower floors for four-hour sessions.

    Leigh School continued as a white school until June 1909, when its pupils were transferred to Richmond High School at 805 East Marshall Street. In September, the building was reopened as a colored school and renamed Armstrong.

    Enrollment:
    1874-1875 693
    1908-1909 429 (final)

    Cost:
    (140’X150’) $19,750
     (1873) 2,340

    Principals:
    1872-1883 William B. McGilvray
    1883-1884 Richard W. Flournoy
    1884-1886 William B. McGilvray
    1972-1976 William A. Bowles
    1886-1888 Elihu Morrissette
    1895-1901 George R. Pace
    1901-1904 Julian A. Burruss
    1904-1909 Algernon B. Chandler

    See:
    Armstrong High School