• 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.

Valley School

  • Corner of 15th & Marshall Streets

    This school for colored pupils was one of the first six public schools; it was named for its location in the valley of Shockoe Creek.

    In November 1871, the president of the School Board reported: "According to instructions from the Council, we took possession of the Lancasterian School on the 1st of July, paid off its teachers and at once proceeded to re-model and clean the premises." Year after year, the Superintendent reported this building to be unsatisfactory; it was old, the adjacent streets were muddy, and the city jail was located across the street.

    An additional room was completed in time for the opening of the 1872-73 session; in 1873-74, two wings containing two rooms each brought the total number of rooms to eleven. In April 1881, the Superintendent noted that additional rooms "are in course of construction." In 1908-09, the building was condemned and the pupils were transferred to Navy Hill, under the supervision of the Navy Hill principal; Navy Hill pupils attended in the mornings and Valley pupils in the afternoons. Rented rooms were also used.

    The "schools" (classes) at Twelfth & Leigh and Springfield Hall were considered part of the Valley group.

    Valley School had the reputation of being a training school for administrators; two of its principals (Albert H. Hill and Jesse H. Binford) later served as Superintendent while James C. Harwood and William M. Adams became high school principals.

    Enrollment:
    1878-1879 760
    1911-1912 331 (final)

    Principals:
    1871-1872 S. E. Hughes
    1872-1876 C. D. Montague
    1876-1883 Richard W. Flournoy
    1883-1884 James H. Hayes (colored)
    1884-1888 Richard W. Flournoy
    1888-1890 Albert H. Hill (Superintendent 1919-1933)
    1890-1892 Leroy S. Edwards
    1892-1896 Herbert F. Cox
    1896-1899 James C. Harwood
    1899-1901 Jesse H. Binford (Superintendent 1933-1946)
    1901-1908 George R. Page
    1908-1909 J.P. Neff
    1909-1912 William M. Adams (also Navy Hill Principal)

    See:
    Lancasterian School