• 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.

Ruffner School/Building

  • 407 North 12th Street (12th Street between Confederate Museum and MCV)

    Named for Dr. William H. Ruffner, the first Superintendent of Public Instruction of the Virginia public schools (1870-82). This school was known as Central School until 1909, when it was renamed because the area could no longer be called the central part of the city.

    Richmond's first class for the deaf was established at Ruffner in 1926.

    With the expansion of the Medical College and business firms into the area, Ruffner's enrollment diminished steadily. The school was closed in June 1938, and the remaining pupils were transferred to Bellevue and Madison.

    John Smith Special School was located at Ruffner from 1928-51. In 1940-41, it was reported that the rest of the building was occupied by part of the school administration, P-TA, supply rooms, Red Cross, N.Y.A. offices, etc.

    The instructional offices of the school system were transferred to the old Wythe Building in 1960-61, and Ruffner was declared surplus to the City on February 22, 1961. The building has since been demolished and the site incorporated into the new main building of MCV Hospital.

    Enrollment:
    1909-1910 490
    1927-1928 183
    1933-1934 103
    1937-1938 28 (final)

    Principals:
    1909-1921 W. Asa Crenshaw
    1921-1938 Robina W. Spies

    See:
    Central School