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Historic Hill School (Christiansburg Industrial Institute) and Schaeffer Memorial Baptist Church (Christiansburg African Baptist Church)

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Christiansburg Industrial Institute
1885. 570–580 High St.

The Christiansburg Industrial Institute was founded in 1866 by Captain Charles S. Schaeffer to provide education for African Americans in the region. Schaeffer was an agent of the Freedmen's Bureau and later a Baptist minister. Located on Zion's Hill, the Hill School building was erected in 1885 to serve as a principal schoolhouse. The campus grew to encompass fourteen buildings and the Hill School became the grammar school preparing students for the institute that is no longer standing. In 1895, Booker T. Washington came to the school and reorganized and expanded the school's curriculum. The two-story brick school, which has a cruciform plan with arched entrances, resembles schools built throughout the nation in its time period, but is much finer than other schools built for African Americans in the region. The school closed in 1966 following desegregation in Virginia's schools and is now used as a community center. The interior is much altered.

The adjacent Schaeffer Memorial Baptist Church, built at the same time as the school, is a brick Gothic Revival church with a gable front and a small rose window. Its large, square corner tower contains the entrance vestibule and is crowned with a frame belfry and four-sided spire.

Writing Credits

Anne Carter Lee


What's Nearby


Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Virginia vol 2

Buildings of Virginia: Valley, Piedmont, Southside, and Southwest, Anne Carter Lee and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2015, 429-430.

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