It’s not something you see every day– a two room schoolhouse inching its way down Pouncey Tract Road on a flatbed truck. But that’s just what happened Sunday morning. Just before sunrise, Springfield School, a schoolhouse built for African American students in the 1920s, left its original location on Shady Grove Road for a new […]
It’s not something you see every day– a two room schoolhouse inching its way down Pouncey Tract Road on a flatbed truck. But that’s just what happened Sunday morning. Just before sunrise, Springfield School, a schoolhouse built for African American students in the 1920s, left its original location on Shady Grove Road for a new home at nearby Pouncey Tract Park, next to Short Pump Middle School.
The school was used as a residence for many years after its time as an instructional building. Gloria Parker has lived in the structure since she was 12, and recently sold it to the County of Henrico for the grand sum of $35.
“That’s my bedroom, going on down the road,” Parker exclaimed with a grin and a chuckle as she watched the place she called home since her childhood pass by her on Pouncey Tract Road.
Between the move and restoration of the building, the county is spending around $250,000 on the project, one that officials say will add character and appeal to the area and provide a centerpiece of sorts to Pouncey Tract Park.
The physical structure wasn’t the only thing moved. Local residents and former school attendees alike came out to witness the moving of the historic school, many recalling fond memories of their youth and how touched they were that the building was saved from the bulldozer.
Short Pump resident Clarence Anderson attended Springfield School for seven years, from kindergarten to sixth grade. He watched intently, tears streaming down his face, as the school, which housed around 40 students per school year in two rooms, was driven into the park by Ace House Movers, Inc.
“It’s just really special,” Anderson said, going on to share numerous details about the area and the way things were back in the time of Springfield School’s heyday. “My aunt donated the land for the school,” he continued.
Encroaching development from the Twin Hickory community and other adjacent neighborhoods threatened the schoolhouse. Nearby Holman School, which was located at Shady Grove and Old Nuckols Roads, fell to the bulldozer nearly a decade ago to make way for the Townes at Shady Grove residential development.
It’s a fate that Springfield School narrowly escaped, thanks to county officials.
Gloria Parker’s life-long best friend and classmate in the 1950s, Edith Jackson, came to see their former school travel to its new home.
“I think it is so special to be able to keep it in the county,” Jackson said about the decision to save the school. “It’s such a blessing to be able to put it right here in Pouncey Tract Park. I feel good about it. Today’s a special day to me.”
Parker agrees. “I think it’s really great. It’s historical, and really the only black elementary school in the area.”
Comprehensive plans for the county’s use of the facility at its new location weren’t immediately available, but the schoolhouse, like nearby the nearby (and relocated) 1903 Deep Run Schoolhouse, should be open to the public once both interior and exterior restoration efforts are completed. No word on when that work will start.
Springfield School is currently resting upon a temporary cinder block column structure until a permanant concrete foundation can be poured.
Our video and photos of the move and interviews with former students and residents can be seen below.