Josephine City School

Historical Significance

Josephine City School is a two-classroom school house located in the African-American community of Josephine City on the southeast edge of the town of Berryville, Virginia. Constructed around 1882 on land owned by the Clark County School Board, Josephine City School was erected with contributions of labor and money from the local black community. When it was constructed, it was one of seven African-American schools in Clarke county, none of which provided classes beyond the seventh grade.

Josephine City School served as an elementary school until 1930, when it was moved a short distance and consolidated with the new Clarke County Training School, and used for home economics and agriculture classrooms. It continued to operate as a school until 1971, when it was turned into storage space. The two-room frame building stands today as the oldest element of a larger black school complex that has recently been converted into low- to moderate-income housing for the elderly.

Currently the building is owned by Clarke County and held in a long-term lease by the Josephine School Community Museum Board, which has restored the building for its current use as an African-American museum and cultural center. 

Physical Description

The Josephine City School faces south on a small lot just north of two later structures. Measuring approximately 40' long by 30' wide and set on a low foundation, Josephine City School is a rectangular, one-story, frame building with a gable roof and a four-bay side-gable entrance facade. The building is believed to have been constructed in 1882. Old photographs indicate that the exterior stucco walls were originally clad in weatherboard, and the present corrugated-metal gable roof was originally sheathed in standing-seam metal. The stucco was probably added and other slight modifications made to the building when it was moved to its current site in 1930.

Geographical and Contact Information

303 Josephine Street
Berryville, Virginia
22611
Phone: 540-955-5132

Cite this Page:

Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, “Josephine City School,” African American Historic Sites Database, accessed October 23, 2017, http://aahistoricsitesva.org/items/show/233.

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