Hill Grove School

Historical Significance

Hill Grove School was completed in 1915 and served as a primary school for African-American children into the 1960s. Land for the school came from Alec and Emma Cook, who in 1912 donated to the Staunton River School District #6 trustees one acre of land behind the New Bethel Baptist Church. The trustees supervised construction of the two-room Hill Grove School on the site, built at a cost of $1,500.

A Virginia State Planning Board study of Pittsylvania County public schools in 1938 recorded that the county spent three times more money per student on school buildings attended by whites than on school buildings attended by blacks. Despite this discrepancy, teachers, students, and parents worked together to make Hill Grove School an enjoyable and memorable place. While the county school board provided coal, teachers and parents worked together to keep the school clean and heated. Water was drawn from a pump and schoolboys gathered kindling from behind the building. Elbridge Miller, who taught grades one to three for six years at Hill Grove, remembers playing outdoor games such as baseball, marbles, hide-and-seek, and hopscotch, as well as participating in indoor activities including storytelling and spelling bees. Former students recall another teacher, Mrs. Katie Stone, providing hot chocolate for the children on cold mornings.

By September 1964, the Pittsylvania County School Board had discontinued use of Hill Grove School, and the building was sold to trustees of the New Bethel Stone Memorial Baptist Church, known today as the New Bethel Missionary Baptist Church. The school was added to the National Register of Historic Places in February 2004. 

Physical Description

Hill Grove School is located on a one-acre lot off of State Route 640, near the community of Hurt in rural Pittsylvania County. The school is a small, single-story, frame building, divided into two classrooms on each side of a central hall that served as a cloakroom.

Geographical and Contact Information

3580 Wards Road
Hurt, Virginia