Early education for African Americans in Harrisonburg in the late 19th century was supported by the Freedman's Bureau, United States Christian Commission, and African American teachers from the North. The first public two-room school on Rock Street was deemed inadequate by the Harrisonburg District trustees. A new school building was constructed in 1882 to replace The Rock Street School and $2,000 was raised for the new building, to be called The Effinger School. From 1916 to 1938, the school was supervised by Harrisonburg City Schools. The Effinger School closed in 1938 after serving the African-American community in Harrisonburg for over 50 years.
A new school replaced the Effinger school in 1939 and was named for Lucy Simms, a beloved Effinger School educator of 50 years. The Lucy Simms School was closed after the schools were integrated in the 1960's. In 2005, the building was renovated and dedicated as "The Lucy F. Simms Continuing Education Center". The center houses the Boys and Girls Club, the ARC Op Shop, and gym facilities.
The Effinger School was a two-story, four-room, brick building. In 1892, a two-room addition and an auditorium were constructed. The building was razed in 1965 during the Northeast Urban Renewal Project. Note: further information on the NURP is available from the archives of the Harrisonburg Daily News Record, 1961.
Geographical and Contact Information
620 Simms Avenue
Phone: 540-437-9213/540-434-6060 (ext. 100)