Virginia State Seal Virginia Department of Historic Resources

066-0110 Howland Chapel School

Howland Chapel School
Photo credit: Elizabeth Lipford/DHR, 2021

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For additional information, read the Nomination Form PDF

VLR Listing Date 06/20/1989

NRHP Listing Date 01/25/1991

NRHP Reference Number 90002206

Howland Chapel School, Northumberland County’s oldest schoolhouse, is a poignant reminder of the various efforts of idealistic northerners to assist with the education of the children of Virginia’s former slaves. The simple building was erected in 1867 under the sponsorship of New York educator, reformer, and philanthropist, Emily Howland (1827-1929), who came to Northumberland County at the close of the Civil War. She purchased land for African Americans to farm and taught school in a small log structure. Her classes were so popular that the present, more substantial structure, designed to serve also as a chapel, was soon erected. Miss Howland returned to the North in 1870 but supported the school financially for the next fifty years. The Howland Chapel School continued until 1958; the building has gone on to serve as a museum, community center, and adult education facility.

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

Updated: November 17, 2021