Holley Graded School

Historical Significance

For nearly forty years, the Holley Graded School helped open the doors to greater opportunities for rural black children of the Northern Neck. The school began in 1914 to replace a smaller schoolhouse erected during the Reconstruction era. It stands on two acres purchased shortly after the Civil War by abolitionist Sallie Holley (1818-1893), a native of New York State, for whom the school was later named. Both graduates of Oberlin College, Holley and co-founder Caroline Putnam were abolitionists who decided to start an African-American school after arriving in Northumberland in 1869. When Putnam died in 1917 (Holley predeceased her in 1893), she deeded the land and school to a local group that included whites and blacks.

Rebuilt numerous times, the Holley Graded School served the black community until 1959 when a new school for blacks opened in Lottsburg. The school stood unused until the mid-1960's. The building now houses the Adult Literacy Program of Northumberland County.

The grounds and building were registered as a national historic site and Virginia Landmark in the 1980s. 

Physical Description

No Physical Description Available

Geographical and Contact Information

2439 Northumberland Hwy 22511
Lottsburg, Virginia
22511

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Holley Graded School

Holley Graded School

Source: Courtesy Virginia Dept. Historic Resources View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, “Holley Graded School,” African American Historic Sites Database, accessed September 23, 2017, http://aahistoricsitesva.org/items/show/207.

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