St. Clare Walker School Complex

VLR Listing Date


NRHP Listing Date


NRHP Reference Number


The St. Clare Walker School Complex includes two historic Black school campuses along General Puller Highway, east of Cooks Corner in Middlesex County. The northern campus, St. Clare Walker High School, and the district namesake, served as a high school from 1939 through 1969. The southern campus, formerly Rappahannock Central Elementary School, was active from 1962 through 2002. The complex consists of an assemblage of resources associated with the history of the St. Clare Walker School, as well as the broader history and development of African American education in Middlesex County from the first half of the 20th century through desegregation and the integration of public schools in 1969. During its first three decades, the high school’s vocational and agricultural programs helped shape the campus landscape, often at the hands of students and staff who were directly involved in its construction, particularly local leader and education advocate, John Henry St. Clare Walker, for whom the school was later named. The high school’s pre-segregation curriculum followed the pattern set by Historic Black Colleges as developed by leaders such as Booker T. Washington, and later expanded across the southern states through the sustained efforts of the Black community, Black national organizations, and the Julius Rosenwald Fund. Construction of the St. Clare Walker High School began just after the end of the Rosenwald funding-era. This later endeavor proved the value of earlier grass roots movements, as Middlesex County’s Black community created a modern high school that set hundreds of local children on paths to success. The complex was later adapted to add an elementary school campus to the south. Between 1962, when Rappahannock Central Elementary opened its doors, and 1969, when desegregation brought the closure of the St. Clare Walker High School, much changed; African American secondary education in Virginia faced nationwide shifts catalyzed by the Civil Rights Movement. Collectively, the resources within the district trace a narrative from one of the earliest African American schools in the county, the Rosenwald-funded Middlesex Training School at Syringa, to an African American high school constructed largely through community activism and named for one of the community’s most prominent educators, culminating with the integration of public education in Middlesex County.

Last Updated: March 21, 2024

Many properties listed in the registers are private dwellings and are not open to the public, however many are visible from the public right-of-way. Please be respectful of owner privacy.

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

For additional information Read

Nomination Form


Saluda Historic District

Middlesex (County)


F.D. Crockett (log deck boat)

Middlesex (County)



Middlesex (County)