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.

Chimborazo School (old) 310 North 33rd Street (Corner Marshall & 33rd Streets)

Named for the nearby Chimborazo Park, believed to have been named for Mount Chimborazo, the highest peak in the Andes of Ecuador. The eminent naturalist, Baron Alexander von Humboldt, attempted unsuccessfully to scale it in 1802.

Chimborazo School opened in September 1905, with grades 1-7 in eight classrooms; the 1903-04 annual report includes a sketch of the building. It was considered to be handsome and well arranged, embodying the most advanced ideas in sanitation, heating, ventilation, seating, and school architecture.

In 1911, an annex was opened (classrooms and auditorium) to accommodate the growing population. Chimborazo's enrollment declined in the 1950s with Church Hill's change to a Negro community. In February 1957, the white pupils were transferred to Nathaniel Bacon, and Chimborazo was converted to a Negro school with pupils transferred from Bellevue, Bowler, and George Mason.

When the new Chimborazo opened in September 1968, the old building housed the Church Hill Opportunity Center (1968-1970) and an annex of East End Middle School (1970-72). It was leased to Model Neighborhoods in 1972. Old Chimborazo was declared surplus to the City, October 18, 1973. It has been privately rehabilitated as housing for the elderly (Chimborazo Manor).

Enrollment: 1905-1906 377
Feb. 1957
280 (final white)
June 1957
June 1968
529 (final)
Cost: 1911 Addition $25,600
Principals: 1905-1909 R. L. Blanton
  1909-1910 S. C. Sturgis
  1910-1928 J. T. Fentress
  1928-1929 Blanche McDonald (Acting)
  1929-1948 Winston Carter Bleight
  1948-1950 Wortley Warren Townsend
  1950-1957 Winston Carter Bleight
  1957-1964 Kenneth E. Whitlock
  1964-1968 Leon Danfourth Harding
Chimborazo School
Church Hill Opportunity Center