Madison Heights School

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Madison Heights School, in the Amherst County town of the same name just north of the city of Lynchburg, is a product of the Progressive Era in education, when jurisdictions consolidated smaller community schools into large, centralized institutions able to accommodate multiple grades and modern educational amenities. In this capacity the school served white students during the era of segregation, later becoming a “freedom of choice” school during desegregation. The school began around 1924-1925, when the first high school building was erected on the site. Additions to the high school were constructed in 1930, 1934, and 1937, and in 1939 the Madison Heights Elementary School, also serving the area’s white students, was built adjacent to the high school. The handsome Georgian Revival elementary school building was designed by W. Irving Dixon, a leading architect with the State Department of Education for 20 years. In 1962, the year of the school’s last graduating high school class, the 1920s-era school was demolished, leaving Dixon’s 1939 building as the architectural focal point of the school complex.  In 1966, local architect Charlie Lee Vail, Jr. designed two additions to the elementary school that included a new kitchen and cafeteria, six classrooms and a library, all rendered in an austere Modern style that reflected the stylistic and functional evolution of school design. During its remaining years of service, the Madison Heights School went through two name changes until the county closed its doors in 1991.

Last Updated: June 2, 2023

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VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark

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