A School With a Rich History
The original Old Richmond School House built in 1896 was used from 1914-1924. This two-room wooden structure sat near Tobaccoville Road facing east. It was a consolidated school, replacing the schools at Tabernacle and Seward.Children attended the school from grades one through seven. The smaller children attended class in the "little" room and the larger children in the "big" room. The rooms have the same dimensions but got these names from the size of the children. Cloakrooms are on each side of the front doors and former students remember putting their coats and lunchboxes there. Slate boards are under the transom windows with desks facing the boards and teachers' desks. There were two wood-burning stoves, a cooler with water, a bell on a skinned cedar post, and two privies behind the building.The Brick Building
In 1922-1923 a new Old Richmond School was built and the two-room school house was moved further back on the property. The new school housed students from grades one through twelve and was named Old Richmond High School until 1955 when the new Northwest High School was opened on Murray Road. The new brick building was heated by a hand-fired coal furnace and had classic features including its tin roof, bell tower, clear pine wood floors and wooden gymnasium.
Old Richmond's architectural design featured a large central auditorium, classrooms built on open halls running the length of the building, two separate front entrances and the principal's office located between the front entrances. Of the three Forsyth County Schools designed on this plan, Old Richmond, Vienna and Rural Hall, Old Richmond was the last one still standing. In 1977 this Old Richmond building was demolished to make room for the new elementary school.Old Richmond Elementary School
The current Old Richmond building was completed on September 21, 1978 and dedicated on Sunday, October 22, 1978. The new building has 24 classrooms, a media center, gymnasium, cafeteria, office, teacher preparation rooms, restrooms, conference rooms and a first aid room. Attached to the new building by a covered walkway are six classrooms that were built in the late fifties.
The original gym still stands and will continue to be a integral part in the physical education program for students. The old two-room school house also still stands on the property. From 1948-1976 the principal at Old Richmond, John Wood, lived in the old school-house. During that time the superintendent wanted to start a new plan of having principals live on the school grounds.
In 1980 renovation of the old schoolhouse was completed "so that children of today and tomorrow can get an idea of what schools were like in the past" (Kay Gambrell, former principal). Renovations included painting, refinishing the floors, patching holes and removing all traces of electricity and modern heating - things that were installed long after the building ceased to be used as a school. School equipment dating from the 1920s was brought in, including old-fashioned desks, a pot-bellied stove and slate boards.