This is one of the 796 rotating slides on the TV inside the Botetourt County Historical Society Museum in Fincastle. The exhibit is called “Finding What Has Been Lost” – Families, Churches, Schools, Organizations & Businesses. It was created by longtime BCHS Board of Directors member Judith C. Barnett and her brother, Edward W. Barnett. Rena Worthen and Stephen Vest were important in providing their technical support in setting it up.
The image shown is of the African American Male Academy Hill School (provided by Phyllis Burch). This school was established in 1785 and was located on a hill within the Fincastle town limits on Hancock and Murray Streets. It was built jointly by the town citizens and the Masons. According to the December 19, 2019, issue of “The Fincastle Herald,” the first teacher was the Rev. Thomas Brown. It was closed during the Civil War and reopened in 1868. In the early 1900s the Botetourt County School Board bought the property and built a new school building in 1938.
Before 1940, both male and female students who wanted a high school education had to go out of Botetourt County. In September 1959, Central Academy School opened in Fincastle for the county’s African American children ranging in grades one through 12. Academy Hill School went through many changes and is long gone. Today it is the location of Academy Hill Apartments.
Please come to the Botetourt History Museum at 26 East Main Street, Fincastle, to view this self-playing slide show and learn more about the extensive history of Botetourt County. It is open for free Monday-Saturday, 10-2, and Sunday, 2-4.
~ Botetourt County History Museum