Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Rurality Wednesday Blog Hop - Kelley School

(click on photo to enlarge)

The Kelley School is right by the Hodges' farm from yesterday's post. In fact, it was here that we met Mrs. Hodges while we were poking around. She was headed to Burnt Chimney to feed/water some of her horses that she had to move over there, because of the Parkway. As beautiful as the Parkway is to tourists, the people who live on the Parkway do not feel the same way. The Government has been trying to get the Hodges off the Parkway and keep putting restrictions on their land to run them out. I didn't know this about the Parkway. Makes me like it a little less.

Here's a description from Waymarking about the school (which by the way was unlocked so we ventured around inside. I have to admit, it was a teency bit creepy in there!)

The Kelley Schoolhouse, located just off the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 149.1, is a great example of early education in this mountain area.

In 1877, the Locust Grove trustees bought land for a school from the Kelley family for $15 and built a one-room school. The school had no running water or electricity and did not get an outhouse until 1917.

Due to growing enrollment, a two-room schoolhouse was built on the lot, and it is this structure that now stands just out of sight along the Parkway. The school was still in operation when the Parkway was built. It closed in 1939 when the school system was consolidated.

The building became Pate's Grocery Store when Virgie Pate bought the property at auction. The Pates added electricity and living quarters. They sold the store in 1972 and it operated as Ye Old Country Store until the building was sold to the Parkway in 1984.

DIRECTIONS: From Virginia Highway 681/640, take the Blue Ridge Parkway South about two miles to milepost 149. Continue 0.1 mile to an unmarked crossroad, which is Kelley School Road. Turn right (toward the northwest) and go 250 feet to the building on the right, at the corner of Kelley School Road and Stuart Road.

Historic photos of the building and students can be viewed at the website listed below. A history of the school is contained in "Guide to the Blue Ridge Parkway", published in 1997 by Logue & Blouin, which is avaiable at stores and visitor centers along the Parkway.
Kelly School Rd at Stuart Rd
Floyd, VA United States

I also found some interesting reading about land acquisition along the Parkway RIGHT HERE and in CHAPTER 3 you can read about the people who lived along the Parkway. There's more interesting chapters there as well.

I also found this, THE KELLEY SCHOOL. It's long and in PDF form, but if you have time and love history like I do, you might want to read through that as well!

Linking up with Madge for Rurality Wednesday


  1. What is often done in the name of "progress" is a travesty, ruining historical artifacts.

  2. Great piece of history, and I didn't realize the parkway had gub'ment intruders! Hope the family keeps fighting for what is theirs.

    1. i didn't know that either! there's so many vacant old properties along the parkway, because they have been bought out. those nice people we met are so distrusting of the government and law, as you can't blame them at all.

  3. Enjoyed reading this. One room schools and the like facinate me. Burnt Chimney love that name.

  4. The government came through in the 30s and confiscated private land from poor mountain people who had live there since colonial times. All done so that people could ride down the road and say look at that. It is a nice ride but a lot of families lost their homesteads.

  5. Great post with a lovely bit of history, and thank you for the links. I shall enjoy checking those out.

  6. adorable little place. sorry she is being forced out!

  7. A very interesting and historic story, gorgeous place.

  8. My goodness, Tanya, you have done your homework here :). Nice job and very interesting!!

  9. Very cool - it's adorable!
    And the day lilies and climbing vine add even more charm. :)

  10. Love the little schoolhouse but not so much the taking of land for the Parkway. I hope the Hodges can hang in there!

  11. Excellent photo! that beauty in this old school ...!

  12. I like this post and seeing that old school. Sad that families lose property in the name of progress.

  13. Today you offer a new insight about the parkway. I drove it many years ago and was affected by its beauty, but I didn't know anything about the process by which it was created.

  14. Oh Tanya, how precious is this find! School district consolidation in the 1940s, 50s, and even 60s were the demise of so many of these one room schools... I believe that consolidation has worked against our children (students) sometimes. My dad only attended these school through the 6th grade, he was born in 1914 and could out wit and figure UW college interns in math and logic... he had limited resources but a lot of drive, heart and spirit... great capture! Thanks for sharing on RBH this week!

  15. What a lovely little bit of history. Too bad the Parkway doesn't see it that way.

    Visiting from RBH #24.


  16. It would be a shame to see this building torn down in the name of "progress". Government bullies!! Loved this post. I went to a one-room country school my first 6 grades and I always love hearing about other similar schools.

  17. I love seeing these old schoolhouses. This is a fun find! It is a little sad about the parkway trying to run off the Hodges!

  18. Did you tell your kids this is how they could be going to school?

  19. It's lovely, especially in such a setting!

  20. I hope the land issues get settled peacefully and the historic buildings—like this charming schoolhouse—get preserved.


Hi! I'm so happy you've stopped by and always enjoy your comments :)