Historic Schoolhouse Left Behind in the 1950s


Eureka School | Grayson County, VA | c. 1890s-early 1900s

This endangered but picturesque rural building was known as the Eureka School that served the surrounding community of Providence, VA in Grayson County.

Built in the early 1900s, this schoolhouse would educate the surrounding community of farming families for 50 years before it was retired for storage. And while its foundation is sagging and its walls beginning to buckle, you can tell that this was once a special place.

It undoubtedly meant a lot to the people who were educated here and if her walls could talk, I’m sure they’d have some tales to spin! And luckily, after quite a bit of research, I was able to track someone down who could tell me some of those stories.

“I was a student in the early 1950s which would end up being some of the final years that this would operate as a school. At that time, grades 1 through 7 were taught here and each student sat and rows according to their grade. One teacher, Mrs. Rose Bedwell, was the only teacher for all grades.

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For heat, we had a potbelly stove in the back of the classroom that we would trade off getting there early to get it ready in the mornings. We had a spring just a few yards from the school where we would get our drinking water. The school had two rooms but one was used as a playroom in the Winter, or when the weather kept us indoors.

The only toilets were outdoors, and there were 2 of them- one for the boys and one for the girls. It turned into a prankster’s tradition that the girl’s toilet would get turned over every Halloween night.”

In the early 1905s, a newer brick school building was opened in the nearby town of Fries, and students from this community started attending there. This building seems to have been used at one point as a living space and now, serves as a storage room. A dead buzzard guards its doorway.

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  1. I would love for you to visit the Sidna Allen home outside Hillsville, Virginia. The house has an interesting history including a courtroom shootout and the trouble that followed.

    1. Yes I’ve actually been to the Sidna Allen house but the day that I visited, it was surrounded by scaffolding from repairs and also pouring rain so I didn’t get any good photos of it. I will be back in that area later this Spring so I’ll try and stop by again!

  2. My mother in law attended the Eureka School when she was a young girl. There is a Spring Valley School and the Dell School that you should check out. Both are close to the Eureka School. These where the school that the older generation of people in the Providence, Spring Valley and Liberty Hill communities attended. I have a list of students that attended the Dell School because my husband’s grandmother, Trula O’Donnell Vaughan, taught there. You might also like to check out the Saint Patrick’s Catholic Church in Speedwell Virginia. It is definitely a forgotten place. The graveyard is mowed however the Archdiocese in Richmond has decided to let the church fall into disrepair. My husband’s family the O’Donnell family were founding members.

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