RPS: A Mini History: Bits & Pieces

Much of the history of the Richmond Public Schools was recorded in the context of a segregated society, and the reader should readily discern between pre- and post-desegregation observations. The terms "black," "colored," "Negro," and "white" in this booklet should not be considered offensive as they have been used according to the custom of the particular period. Since 1962, the division has omitted such racial designations from its reports and publications.

Fairmount School 1501 North 21st Street (Corner 21st & "T" Streets)

The original school was a three-story brick structure, believed to have been built about 1879, to serve the town of Fairmount. When it was annexed from Henrico County in 1906, Fairmount had an enrollment exceeding 500 in grades 1-7 and a faculty of fifteen teachers. The School Board purchased an additional lot adjoining the school on 21st Street.

In 1908, an addition was made (eight classrooms, assembly room, office), and the original building was renovated; at an October 17 ceremony, state and national flags were hoisted simultaneously on Fairmount's two towers. Another addition(fourteen rooms) was opened in 1916; in 1924-25, a half block of ground, north of the building, was added. A 1950 addition included auditorium, cafeteria, library, and offices; in 1961, the old auditorium was converted into four classrooms.

Fairmount School was renamed Helen Dickinson in 1925, to honor a former principal. It returned to the original name of Fairmount in September 1958, upon its conversion to a Negro school with pupils from Bowler, Buchanan, George Mason, and Woodville. Under Plan III, Fairmount was paired with Francis.

Fairmount School was closed in 1979; in 1979-80, the George Mason program was housed here while its building was being renovated. Fairmount School was declared surplus to the City, January 31, 1981. It was subsequently purchased by Churchill-Fairmount Limited Partnership and has been rehabilitated as housing for elderly and handicapped residents.

Enrollment: 1907-1908 685
  1958-1959 767
  1978-1979 516 (final)
     
Architect: 1908 A. F. Huntt
  1916 Charles M. Robinson
  1950 Baskervill & Son
     
Cost: 1908 $ 30,690
  1916 45,000 (approximately)
  1950 373,948
     
Principals: 1906-1924 Helen Dickinson
  1924-1958 see Helen Dickinson School
  1958-1971 Harvey O'Neil Freeman
  1971-1979 Tanner Anthony Collins
See:
Helen Dickinson School
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