Credit: Encyclopedia Virginia
Original Author: Peter Hedlund
Created: May 2021

Virtual Tour of Pine Grove School, Cumberland County

This is a virtual tour of Pine Grove Elementary School, located in the unincorporated town of Cumberland, the county seat of Cumberland County. Pine Grove School was built in 1917 as part of the Rosenwald rural school building program, a collaborative undertaking between Booker T. Washington, the head of the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, and Julius Rosenwald, one of the institute’s trustees and the president of Sears, Roebuck and Company. Architecture professors at the Tuskegee Institute initially developed designs for one- or two-teacher schools. Pine Grove was an example of a two-teacher school.

From 1917 until 1964, when schools in Cumberland County were desegregated, the school served as the educational and cultural hub of the rural Black community. In 1964, the school was purchased by a group of Black citizens led by Mr. Robert Scales and repurposed as the Pine Grove Community Center. The center remained in use until the late 1990s. As of 2021, a local community group called the AMMD Pine Grove Project is working to restore the historic school, which is listed on both the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places.