In the fall of 2014, students and teachers (Allen Chamberlain, Elizabeth Cogar, and Ben Lamb) in the Upper School’s Senior Seminar: The School and the City had the unique opportunity to learn how Collegiate has transformed since 1915. We started our investigation by researching in the Julia Williams Archives and learning about school life on the Monument Avenue campus in downtown Richmond. After looking at yearbooks, fading photographs, and issues of the Chronicle, the school’s first publication, we knew it was time to visit the original site of the Collegiate School for Girls, the precursor of today’s Collegiate School.
We invited a former student of the Town School, Elizabeth Shewmake Johannessen ‘50 to join us. Her stories made the experience of school life on Monument Avenue come alive. Photos in these posts of the Town School as it is now were taken on our field trip and paired with historical photos of the Collegiate campus from the Archives. We’re celebrating the Centennial by looking at how far we’ve come since the establishment of the school and at how the lively spirit of those first students remains.
We started our exploration with map in hand, following the trail from the very first building that welcomed students on West Franklin Street, to Helen Baker’s 1919 home, to the Boarding Department (bet you didn’t know Collegiate used to have boarding students) and then to 1617 Monument Avenue, one of the two buildings that housed the school for almost 50 years.
Come join us and see what we discovered.
First stop 1133 West Franklin Street!