Thirteen Acres School
Update: April 8, 2021
In September 2020, the City’s Biennial Real Estate Strategies Plan was released. It lists 77 parcels of city-owned real estate, which are separated into three categories. Category One consists of parcels with potential for future affordable homeownership, Category Two consists of parcels/assemblages of parcels with potential for future affordable multi-family rental units, and Category Three consists of parcels/assemblages of parcels with potential future large scale mixed-use and mixed-income development.
A number of historic resources are listed in Category Two or Category Three, including the Moore Street School (c. 1887, one of the oldest surviving public schools built for Black students, located in the Carver Residential Historic District), Thirteen Acres School (c. 1885, one of the oldest surviving structures in the Hermitage Road Historic District), the Richmond Garage, and Fulton Gas Works and, as such, are at risk. We have been advocating for a preservation approach to be taken in any RFP for the disposition of these properties.
Thirteen Acres School was originally a ca. 1885 farmhouse, one of the earliest dwellings in the Northside and pre-dating streetcar suburban developments. The house features a wrap-around porch, broad eaves supported by decorative dentils, a two-story bay window, and a hipped, slate roof. The property is named for its approximately thirteen acre.
In 1967 the property was sold by the Virginia Methodist Home for the Aged to the City of Richmond. Since then it has served many uses, including a special education school and municipal offices. In 1980 it became a school for emotionally disabled students until it was closed in 2007. In 1999 the Richmond Public Schools constructed A Linwood Holton Elementary School on the Thirty Acres tract, partially obscuring the view of the house from the surrounded streets.
Thirteen Acres School is a contributing resource to the Hermitage Road Historic District, listed on both the National Register of Historic Places and City’s Old & Historic District. Listings on the National Register could qualify it for the Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits. Properties with the City’s Old & Historic Districts require project review by the Commission of Architectural Review. Despite these designations, the Thirteen Acres School while stable is vacant, continues to deteriorate, and awaits its next chapter of service to the community.