For nearly forty years, the Holley Graded School helped open the doors to greater opportunities for rural black children of the Northern Neck. The school began in 1914 to replace a smaller schoolhouse erected during the Reconstruction era. It stands on two acres purchased shortly after the Civil War by abolitionist Sallie Holley (1818-1893), a native of New York State, for whom the school was later named. Both graduates of Oberlin College, Holley and co-founder Caroline Putnam were abolitionists who decided to start an African-American school after arriving in Northumberland in 1869. When Putnam died in 1917 (Holley predeceased her in 1893), she deeded the land and school to a local group that included whites and blacks.
Rebuilt numerous times, the Holley Graded School served the black community until 1959 when a new school for blacks opened in Lottsburg. The school stood unused until the mid-1960's. The building now houses the Adult Literacy Program of Northumberland County.
The grounds and building were registered as a national historic site and Virginia Landmark in the 1980s.
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Geographical and Contact Information
2439 Northumberland Hwy 22511