Peabody Building of the Peabody-Williams School

Peabody Building of the Peabody-Williams School

The Peabody Building of the Peabody-Williams School, designed by Charles M. Robinson, a prolific architect of educational facilities across the state, opened in 1920 as the public high school for African American students in Petersburg.

It was built during the period of segregated school systems.

The Peabody Building housed the high school, while its twin, the Williams Building (destroyed by fire in 1967), housed the junior high school.

It was the third building in Petersburg to serve as a high school for African American students, and the first built exclusively as a high school. In 1950, a new facility was constructed and an elementary school occupied the building until the 1960s.

Today, the Peabody Building is the oldest extant school in Petersburg built for the education of African American children.

The Peabody Building of the Peabody-Williams School was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2000.

Threat: The Peabody School has been neglected for years, is deteriorating and needs immediate attention to prevent further damage. The exterior of the old Peabody building appears sound, but interior conditions are unknown at this time.

Solution: The City of Petersburg recently applied for a planning grant to determine the best and highest use for the property, but is waiting to hear back from the grantor. A group of Peabody alumni are also interested in preserving the school and have been attempting to purchase the complex for several years to rehabilitate and reuse it for educational purposes.

The Peabody-Williams School was placed on Virginia's Most Endangered Historic Places in 2023.

For more information, contact: Morgan Wolfe, mawolfe94@gmail.com, (804) 895-8278