Lylburn Downing School

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Lylburn Downing School was completed in 1927 and expanded in 1940 to provide primary and secondary school education for Lexington’s African American community. Lexington blacks formed a Home and School League in 1922, which successfully petitioned the Lexington School Board for the new school building. The school was named for the Reverend Lylburn L. Downing, a prominent native of Lexington who served as pastor of the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in Roanoke from 1894 to 1937. The Classical Revival-style brick school continues to stand as a little-altered example of Virginia public school design in the 1920s, with a central auditorium flanked by classrooms. The Julius Rosenwald Fund provided $1,500 for construction, while members of the Lexington African American community contributed $500 to the total cost of $32,000 for building the school. Many graduates from Lylburn Downing School went on to distinguished careers in education, law, and social services.

Last Updated: January 30, 2024

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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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