Riverside School HistoryWV Allegheny Highland Black History | Riverside 50/50 Raffle
Along the banks of the Tygart Valley River in Elkins, West Virginia, A school was born.
The Riverside school was built somewhere between 1905 and 1911 originally designed for eight grades; in 1925 a second story was built to expand to a school of ten grades. According to the legacy of Riverside because many of the families were not satisfied with the limited training offered at Riverside, they sent their children to elsewhere for advanced education. W.Va Collegiate Institute was made available, tuition free, for high school students a large portion of Riverside students took advantage of this opportunity. But, in 1928 after considerable agitation from the black community, higher grade levels were achieved, extra curricular activities added, manual training, and many new courses were added to the curriculum, a student council and a lion staff were organized, a library and a hot lunch program came into effect when Riverside became a four year high school.
While Riverside had a very humble beginning, with C.V. Harris as a teacher and the first principal of the Riverside Elementary School, it progressed through the years, and after many frustrating and fruitful experiences, Riverside was proclaimed a legacy of Black Academic Excellence. Students from neighboring counties chose to enter Riverside to complete their education.
|Mr. Melvin Marks, president of the Riverside School Association
The InterMountain newspaper noted,
"Restoration of the Riverside School is meant for something greater than posterity according to Melvin Marks, an alumnus of Riverside and the current president of the Riverside School Association. 'Making it an asset for the community is our purpose,' said Marks, who graduated in 1951 three years before the school shut down. Marks aims for Riverside to be more than a school. The plan once renovations are finished is for the building to become a youth center as well as a historical landmark.' (Ellis, T; 2010)
Today only a few graduates of the Riverside School reside in Elkins. Yet, there is a movement afoot to save and preserve the old school as an African-American Archives, Museum, and Heritage center. The Riverside School building is in desperate need of stabilization and renovation, and this an opportunity to secure an adaptable reuse in the future, for the African-American past, that has played a vital role in the development of the Allegheny Highlands region.
Join us in helping to keep this valuable piece of WV and Elkins history.
Ellis, T., (July 22, 2010) Riverside Blues Fest slates for Saturday. The InterMountain.