Gloucester Agricultural and Industrial High School

Historical Significance

Founded by local black residents under the leadership of lawyer T. C. Walker (an 1883 graduate of the Hampton Institute) and William B. Weaver (who attended, but did not graduate from Hampton Institute), the Gloucester Agricultural and Industrial School was the first black secondary school in the county and one of the earliest in Virginia. Local alumni of the Hampton Institute founded the private school in 1888, opening with four students in a vacant store in Capahosic (then commonly known as the Capahosic Academy). By 1896, seventy students were enrolled, and many boarded on campus in two newly-constructed buildings. From 1891 until its closing in 1933, the school was funded by the American Missionary Association, an agency of the northern congregational church. William G. Price (1868-1941), a member of the Hampton Institute Class of 1890, served as principal of the school from 1899 until 1933. Under his leadership, the school's academic offerings were expanded beyond those of an "agricultural and industrial" school. The school was recognized as one of the most modern and academically superior secondary schools of its time with students enrolling from many parts of the mid-Atlantic region, including Washington D.C., Baltimore, and West Virginia. Orator Frederick Douglas, lyricist James Weldon Johnson, and singer Marian Anderson were among the many prominent individuals who visited the school as part of its cultural enrichment programming. Declining enrollments and financial support led to the closure of the Gloucester Agricultural & Industrial Institute in 1933. 

Physical Description

The school fell into ruin after closing in 1933. Today the area includes a subdivision, a wooded area, and a couple of houses located outside of the subdivision. An historic highway marker indicates the former location of the school.

Geographical and Contact Information

3379 Cappahosic Rd.
Gloucester, VA
23061

Images

Historic Marker

Historic Marker

Source: Courtesy VA Dept. Historic Resources View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, “Gloucester Agricultural and Industrial High School,” African American Historic Sites Database, accessed November 24, 2017, http://www.aahistoricsitesva.org/items/show/177.

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