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Demolition of Buchanan Elementary School

Black and white photograph of the demolition of the old 600-pupil Buchanan Elementary School (foreground); behind the demolition, a new modern school is being built; the new school is Mosby School, a combined elementary-junior high; the demolition and construction are part of the Richmond Development and Housing Authority’s 17th Street redevelopment project.

This photo is from the Valentine Richmond History Center Collections Database, and is credited to Joseph Colognori of Richmond Newspapers, Inc. (July 23, 1964).

This fourteen-room school was named for the street on which it was located. Buchanan School was built to replace the old Valley School which had been erected in 1816, at 15th and Marshall Streets, as a Lancasterian school.

Buchanan opened in 1912, and operated with large classes to a peak enrollment of 967. (The 1914-15 annual report includes a picture and floor plan of Buchanan School by School Architect Charles M. Robinson.) Additional playground space was secured in 1922-23.

From 1933-36, Buchanan operated with part-time classes through the 5th grade.

In 1952, the old building was remodeled and an addition (four classrooms and auditorium-cafeteria) was constructed. The following year, a covered passageway was added between the old and new sections.

Buchanan School was eventually included in an area designated for redevelopment and was purchased by the RRHA (Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority) for $552,149.10. In June 1964, the building was closed and demolished the following month; the pupils and their records were transferred to the new Mosby Junior High and Elementary School.

Demolition at the Mosby School/MLK Middle School building began December 2011 for a new building that is scheduled to open in January 2014.

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