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Other Buildings: Barns and Schools

Barns are a vital emblem of Rockbridge County . . . and the United States . . . culturally, economically, and socially. As farming changes in America, barns here and everywhere are threatened with obsolescence and neglect, but HLF will not let them be forgotten.


Download this catalogue to see Rockbridge barns and the life they symbolize through an exhibition organized by the Foundation.

Barn catalog cover

Since before it was officially established, Rockbridge area has been a center of education. Augusta Academy — later Liberty Hall, then Washington College,and now Washington and Lee University — traces its origins here to 1749. Virginia Military Institute was founded in 1839, the first state-sponsored military college. Southern Virginia University, a relative newcomer, builds vigorously on the traditions of a small private college established in 1867.

Perhaps because of the robust influence of higher education in a small county, the value of education permeates Rockbridge at elementary and secondary levels too. Schools were segregated until the 1960s, but black families fought for decent schools — constantly and hard, although with muted success,

HLF has made generous grants in support of the Buena Vista Colored School and the Hamilton School in the southwest corner of the county.

The Colored School, built in 1914, was enlarged in 1926 and remained in operation until 1957. It is being restored as a community center and museum.

The Hamilton School, built in 1823 and used until 1926, is thought to be Virginia's oldest remaining one-room schoolhouse. In good shape, it is currently undergoing restoration with HLF's financial help.


Buena Vista Colored School

Hamilton School

Hamilton School today
and in 1909 (right)

Log cabin
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