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Staunton, Virginia

Coordinates: 38°9′29″N 79°4′35″W / 38.15806°N 79.07639°W / 38.15806; -79.07639
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Looking west on US 250 (Greenville Avenue) at the South New Street intersection
Looking west on US 250 (Greenville Avenue) at the South New Street intersection
Flag of Staunton
Official seal of Staunton
Queen City of the Shenandoah Valley
Location of Staunton in the Commonwealth of Virginia
Location of Staunton in the Commonwealth of Virginia
Staunton is located in Shenandoah Valley
Staunton is located in Virginia
Staunton is located in the United States
Coordinates: 38°9′29″N 79°4′35″W / 38.15806°N 79.07639°W / 38.15806; -79.07639
CountryUnited States
CountyNone (Independent city)
 • Total19.98 sq mi (51.74 km2)
 • Land19.92 sq mi (51.59 km2)
 • Water0.06 sq mi (0.15 km2)
1,417 ft (432 m)
 • Total25,750
 • Density1,300/sq mi (500/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
Area code540
FIPS code51-75216[2]
GNIS feature ID1500154[3]

Staunton (/ˈstæntən/ STAN-tən) is an independent city in the U.S. Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2020 census, the population was 25,750.[4] In Virginia, independent cities are separate jurisdictions from the counties that surround them, so the government offices of Augusta County are in Verona, which is contiguous to Staunton.[5] Staunton is a principal city of the Staunton-Waynesboro Metropolitan Statistical Area, which had a 2010 population of 118,502. Staunton is known for being the birthplace of Woodrow Wilson, the 28th U.S. president, and as the home of Mary Baldwin University, historically a women's college. The city is also home to Stuart Hall, a private co-ed preparatory school, as well as the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind. It was the first city in the United States with a fully defined city manager system.


Bird's-eye view c. 1910

The area was first settled in 1732 by John Lewis and family. In 1736, William Beverley, a wealthy planter and merchant from Essex County, was granted by the Crown over 118,000 acres (48,000 hectares) in what would become Augusta County. Surveyor Thomas Lewis in 1746 laid out the first town plat for Beverley of what was originally called Beverley's Mill Place.[6] Founded in 1747, it was renamed in honor of Lady Rebecca Staunton, wife to Royal Lieutenant-Governor Sir William Gooch.[7] Because the town was located at the geographical center of the colony (which then included West Virginia), Staunton served between 1738 and 1771 as regional capital for much of what was later known as the Northwest Territory, with the westernmost courthouse in British North America prior to the Revolution.[8] By 1760, Staunton was one of the major "remote trading centers in the backcountry" which coordinated the transportation of the vast amounts of grain and tobacco then being produced in response to the change of Britain from a net exporter of produce to an importer. Staunton thus played a crucial role in the mid 18th century expansion of the economies of the American Colonies which, in turn, contributed to the success of the American Revolution.[9] It served as capital of Virginia in June 1781, when state legislators fled Richmond and then Charlottesville to avoid capture by the British.

Lewis Miller, Sketchbook of Landscapes in the State of Virginia, 1853–1867. Courtesy, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Williamsburg, Virginia; slide 84-896c.Titled, "Slave trader, Sold to Tennessee." The caption states: " The company going to Tennessee from Staunton, Augusta county, the law of Virginia suffered them to go on. I was astonished at this boldness, the carrier stopped a moment, then ordered the march, I saw the play it is commonly in this state, when the negro’s in droves Sold."

Like most of colonial Virginia, slavery was present in Staunton. For instance, in 1815, a slave named Henry ran away from John G. Wright's Staunton plantation. Wright placed an ad in the Daily National Intelligencer in Washington, D.C. seeking Henry's return. It notes that Henry was an excellent cook and was widely travelled, having been as far as the West Indies.[10]

The Civil War and immediately prior[edit]

Letter from N.K. Trout, mayor of Staunton, describing a contribution of $80 to the 1st Georgia Regiment, then encamped at Monterey, Virginia. Published in the Daily Constitutionalist of Augusta, Georgia on August 6, 1861

In August 1855, President Franklin Pierce visited Staunton. He gave a speech at the Virginia Hotel, in which he stated that his "feelings revolted from the idea of a dissolution of the union." He said that "[i]t would be the Iliad of innumerable woes, from the contemplation of which he shrank."[11]

Located along the Valley Pike, Staunton developed as a trade, transportation and industrial center, particularly after the Virginia Central Railroad arrived in 1854. Factories made carriages, wagons, boots and shoes, clothing and blankets.[12] In 1860, the Staunton Military Academy was founded. By 1860, Staunton had at least one pro-Union, pro-slavery[13] (the Staunton Spectator) and at least one pro-secession, pro-slavery newspaper (the Staunton Vindicator).[14] The Spectator ran editorials before the war urging its citizens to vote for union,[15] while the Vindicator ran, e.g., stories reporting on "unruly" slaves mutilating themselves to escape being sold.[16]

On May 23, 1861, shortly after the firing on Fort Sumter began the American Civil War, Virginians voted on whether to ratify articles of secession from the Union and join the Confederate States. The articles were overwhelmingly approved throughout the Commonwealth, even in the majority of the counties that would later become West Virginia. The vote in Staunton was 3300 in favor of secession, with only 6 opposed.[17] During the war, the town became an important Shenandoah Valley manufacturing center, a staging area, and a supply depot for the Confederacy.

On June 6, 1864, Union Major General David Hunter arrived[18] with 10,000 troops to cut supply, communication and railway lines useful to the Confederacy. The next day, they destroyed the railroad station, warehouses, houses, factories and mills. Union soldiers looted the stores and warehouses and confiscated supplies.[12]

Post-bellum Staunton[edit]

On July 10, 1902, Staunton became an independent city.[19]

Entrance gates, Stuart-Robertson House, Staunton, Historic American Buildings Survey

In 1908, Staunton adopted the city manager form of government. Charles E. Ashburner was hired by Staunton as the nation's first city manager.

On January 26, 1926, Staunton adopted Lady Rebecca Staunton's coat of arms for use as the city's official coat of arms and its flag.[20][21]

Western State Hospital[edit]

Staunton is also home to the former Western State Asylum, a hospital for the mentally ill, which originally began operations in 1828. The hospital was renamed Western State Hospital in 1894.

In its early days, the facility was a resort-style asylum. It had terraced gardens where patients could plant flowers and take walks, roof walks to provide mountain views, and many architectural details to create an atmosphere that would aid in the healing process. However, by the mid 19th Century, this utopian model of care had vanished, replaced by overcrowding in the facility and the warehousing of patients. Techniques such as "ankle and wrist restraints, physical coercion, and straitjackets" were used.[22] After the passage of the Eugenical Sterilization Act of 1924 in Virginia,[23] patients were forcibly sterilized at Western State[24] until the law authorizing the practice was repealed in the 1970s.[25] Later, electroshock therapy and lobotomies were practiced at the facility.[22]

When Western State vacated the property and moved its adult patients to its present site near Interstate 81, the facility was renamed the Staunton Correctional Center and turned into a medium-security men's penitentiary. The prison closed in 2003, and the site was left vacant for several years. In 2005, the state of Virginia gave the original property to the Staunton Industrial Authority.[26] It is now a condominium complex called The Villages at Staunton.[22]

A separate complex, The DeJarnette State Sanatoruim, was constructed in 1932 and acted as a location for patients with the ability to pay for their treatment.[27] Dr. DeJarnette was the superintendent of the sanatorium from its opening until his retirement in 1947.[28]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 20 square miles (52 km2), virtually all of which is land.[29] Staunton is located in the Shenandoah Valley in between the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains of the Appalachian Mountains. It is drained by Lewis Creek. Lewis Creek flows into the Shenandoah River, which flows into the Potomac, and eventually to the Chesapeake Bay.


According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Staunton has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.[30]

Climate data for Staunton water treatment plant (1991−2020 normals, extremes 1893−present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 79
Mean daily maximum °F (°C) 42.4
Daily mean °F (°C) 33.6
Mean daily minimum °F (°C) 24.7
Record low °F (°C) −16
Average precipitation inches (mm) 2.88
Average snowfall inches (cm) 5.4
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 8.6 7.4 9.4 10.7 13.3 11.3 11.5 11.8 9.5 8.4 7.5 9.1 118.5
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 2.2 2.6 1.6 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.2 2.0 8.7
Source: NOAA[31][32]


United States presidential election results for Staunton, Virginia[33]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 5,695 43.84% 6,981 53.74% 314 2.42%
2016 5,133 45.61% 5,333 47.38% 789 7.01%
2012 5,272 47.03% 5,728 51.10% 210 1.87%
2008 5,330 48.39% 5,569 50.56% 116 1.05%
2004 5,805 60.29% 3,756 39.01% 68 0.71%
2000 4,878 57.29% 3,324 39.04% 312 3.66%
1996 4,526 53.66% 3,162 37.49% 747 8.86%
1992 4,989 54.04% 2,851 30.88% 1,392 15.08%
1988 5,775 69.29% 2,457 29.48% 102 1.22%
1984 6,137 74.88% 2,012 24.55% 47 0.57%
1980 4,819 60.79% 2,658 33.53% 450 5.68%
1976 4,681 59.53% 2,951 37.53% 231 2.94%
1972 5,531 78.25% 1,416 20.03% 121 1.71%
1968 4,434 61.40% 1,729 23.94% 1,058 14.65%
1964 2,969 52.27% 2,705 47.62% 6 0.11%
1960 2,789 69.17% 1,233 30.58% 10 0.25%
1956 2,908 74.93% 843 21.72% 130 3.35%
1952 2,578 73.07% 945 26.79% 5 0.14%
1948 1,323 49.49% 914 34.19% 436 16.31%
1944 847 42.10% 1,159 57.60% 6 0.30%
1940 687 39.39% 1,042 59.75% 15 0.86%
1936 568 34.05% 1,091 65.41% 9 0.54%
1932 551 35.43% 988 63.54% 16 1.03%
1928 1,026 58.33% 733 41.67% 0 0.00%
1924 549 34.12% 1,022 63.52% 38 2.36%
1920 705 42.86% 931 56.60% 9 0.55%
1916 311 37.33% 511 61.34% 11 1.32%
1912 65 6.61% 632 64.23% 287 29.17%
1908 347 37.76% 514 55.93% 58 6.31%
1904 162 24.92% 458 70.46% 30 4.62%
1900 375 35.48% 612 57.90% 70 6.62%
1896 556 39.63% 713 50.82% 134 9.55%
1892 549 35.17% 919 58.87% 93 5.96%
1888 161 60.30% 101 37.83% 5 1.87%
1884 499 38.38% 771 59.31% 30 2.31%
1880 361 31.61% 781 68.39% 0 0.00%

Staunton operates under a council-manager form of government. In 1908, Staunton was the first city in the United States to give an appointed employee authority over city affairs through statute. In 1912, Sumter, South Carolina, was the first U.S. city to implement the council-manager form of city government.[34] The city of Staunton refers to itself on its website as the "birthplace of President Woodrow Wilson, and the city manager form of government."[35]

The Shenandoah Valley was one of the first areas of the South to break away from a Solid South voting pattern, and Staunton was no exception. It went Republican in every presidential election from 1948 to 2004. In 2008, however, Barack Obama narrowly carried the city, becoming the first Democrat to do so since Franklin D. Roosevelt's last victory in 1944. Democrats have won every national and state election in Staunton since then.

Staunton is part of Virginia's 6th congressional district.

Sister cities[edit]

Vişeu de Sus, Romania. Dabas, Hungary.


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[36]
1790-1960[37] 1900-1990[38]
1990-2000[39] 2010[40] 2020[41]

2020 census[edit]

Staunton city, Virginia - Demographic Profile
(NH = Non-Hispanic)
Race / Ethnicity Pop 2010[40] Pop 2020[41] % 2010 % 2020
White alone (NH) 19,584 19,959 82.47% 77.51%
Black or African American alone (NH) 2,859 2,882 12.04% 11.19%
Native American or Alaska Native alone (NH) 41 65 0.17% 0.25%
Asian alone (NH) 182 320 0.77% 1.24%
Pacific Islander alone (NH) 3 11 0.01% 0.04%
Some Other Race alone (NH) 61 155 0.26% 0.60%
Mixed Race/Multi-Racial (NH) 503 1,270 2.12% 4.93%
Hispanic or Latino (any race) 513 1,088 2.16% 4.23%
Total 23,746 25,750 100.00% 100.00%

Note: the US Census treats Hispanic/Latino as an ethnic category. This table excludes Latinos from the racial categories and assigns them to a separate category. Hispanics/Latinos can be of any race.

2000 Census[edit]

As of the census[42] of 2000, there were 23,853 people, 9,676 households, and 5,766 families residing in Staunton. The population density was 1,210.3 people per square mile (467.3/km2). There were 10,427 housing units at an average density of 529.1 per square mile (204.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 83.29% White, 13.95% Black or African American, 0.22% Native American, 0.46% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.52% from other races, and 1.55% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.11% of the population.

There were 9,676 households, out of which 24.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.4% were married couples living together, 11.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.4% were non-families. 34.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.19 and the average family size was 2.81.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 19.8% under the age of 18, 10.2% from 18 to 24, 27.8% from 25 to 44, 24.1% from 45 to 64, and 18.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 89.1 males. For every 100 females aged 18 and over, there were 87.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $32,941, and the median income for a family was $44,422. Males had a median income of $30,153 versus $22,079 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,161. About 7.7% of families and 11.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.9% of those under age 18 and 10.7% of those age 65 or over.


Top employers[edit]

According to Staunton's 2015 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[43] the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Western State Hospital 500-599
2 Staunton City Schools 500-599
3 Mary Baldwin University 250-499
4 City of Staunton 250-499
5 Walmart 250-499
6 Fisher Auto Parts 250-499
7 Home Instead Senior Care 100-249
8 Cadence, Inc. 100-300
9 VDOT 100-249
10 Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind 100-249


The By & By Café and Beer Garden, with Blackfriars Playhouse and the Hotel 24 South behind
The Masonic Building

Staunton is home to the American Shakespeare Center, a theatrical company centered at the Blackfriars Playhouse, a replica of Shakespeare's Blackfriars Theatre. In 2012, it also became the home of the Heifetz International Music Institute, named for renowned violinist Daniel Heifetz, a summer music school and festival dedicated to the artistic growth and career development of some of the World's most talented and promising classical musicians. The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library is open for visitors, as well as the Museum of American Frontier Culture, which provides insight into life in early America.

The Staunton Music Festival – which celebrated its 20th year in 2017 – features multiple concerts each day, with programs of music from the Renaissance to the present. The festival takes place during the early part of August annually. All performances take place at historic venues in downtown Staunton.[44]

The Queen City Mischief and Magic festival - which celebrated its 4th year in 2019 - is a new but quickly-growing festival for Harry Potter fans, attracting over 10,000 people in its 3rd year. Visitors from all over the east coast come to take part in games, events, and shopping throughout downtown. Businesses contribute the activities for the festival and the majority of West Beverly St is shut down for the weekend event.

Staunton is also the center of numerous galleries and art schools, the widely regarded Beverley Street Studio School and its associated Co-Art Gallery. In addition, Staunton is home to the Hypnagogia Film Collective, a collection of avant-garde experimental filmmakers.

Staunton is home to the Statler Brothers, country music legends who until 1994 performed free concerts at the annual Fourth of July celebration, accompanied by other country music artists. Statler Brothers members Don Reid, Harold Reid, and Phil Balsley grew up in the city. Lew DeWitt was also a notable member of the Statlers who grew up in Staunton, VA.


Downtown Staunton and Sherwood Avenue were used in the American Civil War film Gods and Generals. The local Shenandoah Valley Railroad as well as a number of nearby houses were used in filming of Hearts in Atlantis. In 1993, a portion of the Showtime production of Assault at West Point: The Court-Martial of Johnson Whittaker was filmed here. In the summer of 2006, some scenes for the movie Evan Almighty were also filmed in Staunton. Some scenes for Familiar Strangers were also filmed in Staunton in 2007. In 2013, scenes from the documentary film Rita Dove: An American Poet were filmed in and around Staunton's Temple House of Israel synagogue.


Staunton is home to nearly 200 buildings designed by architect Thomas Jasper Collins (1844–1925), who worked in various styles during the Victorian era.[45] His firm, T. J. Collins & Sons, is still in business.

The city was once home to about ten hotels, but only one of them is still in operation - Hotel 24 South. This hotel, formerly known as the "Stonewall Jackson Hotel", was renovated in the early 2000s, and is now in operation as both a hotel and a conference center. The Ingleside Resort is no longer in operation. During World War II it was used by the INS as a detention center for enemy aliens held under Executive Order 9066.[46] Some of the hotels that are no longer in operation are The Virginia Hotel, the Eakleton Hotel, the Valley Hotel, the American Hotel and the Hotel Beverley. All of these buildings are still standing except for the Virginia Hotel, which was demolished in 1930 to make way for a planned addition to the Stonewall Jackson Hotel which was never built. The New Street Parking Garage now stands on the site.

National Register of Historic Places[edit]

Houses in Staunton on the National Register of Historic Places include:

  • The Oaks, at 437 East Beverley Street. An 1840s structure, it was modified and enlarged in 1888 by famed Civil War cartographer Jedediah Hotchkiss.
  • Waverly Hill, a Georgian-revival house designed in 1929 by renowned architect William Bottomley with a landscape designed by Arthur Shurcliff.
  • Sears House, a 'bracketed cottage' frame house built around 1860.

Parks and recreation[edit]

  • Betsy Bell and Mary Gray Wilderness Parks — a 70-acre (280,000 m2) mountaintop park with a 1,959 feet (597 m) observation platform
  • Gypsy Hill Park — a 214-acre (870,000 m2) multi-use facility with a golf course, football and baseball stadiums, gymnasium, lake, two playgrounds, three youth baseball fields, public swimming pool, volleyball court, horseshoe pits, tennis courts, the Gypsy Express mini-train, the Duck Pond, a skatepark, a bandstand, and several pavilions. Until the Staunton city parks were integrated, Gypsy Hill Park was only open to whites[47] except for one day a year, which was set aside for other races to use the park.[48]
  • Montgomery Hall Park — a 148-acre (600,000 m2) multi-use facility with softball and soccer fields, tennis courts, disc golf course,[49] playgrounds, picnic shelters, hiking and mountain biking trails, and a swimming pool (which was renovated in 2016 after being closed since 2010.)[50] The offices of the Department of Parks and Recreation are at the Irene Givens Administration building, which also includes a kitchen, activity room, and conference room which are available for public use. Montgomery Hall Park was opened in 1950 after much agitation by non-white residents of Staunton.[51] Before segregation ended in the mid-1960s, Montgomery Hall park was the only park in the city open to African-Americans[52]
  • Booker T. Washington Community Center — formerly the segregated Booker T. Washington High School, although according to the court which decided Bell v. Staunton Board of Education, the term "high school" was a misnomer, as the school also contained "first, second, and seventh grade classes and two special mentally retarded classes as well as the eighth through the twelfth grades."[53]
  • Nelson Street Teen Center — closed (as of 2011) due to budget cuts.[54]
  • Landes Park - a small, one-acre park names after Walter James Landes, Jr. in 1993. Near downtown Staunton.[55]
  • Reservoir Hill Park - a small four acres park located at the old city reservoir.[55]
  • Men's Green Thumb Park - approximately two acres and was created through a joint sponsorship by the Men's Green Thumb Garden Club and United Virginia Bank National Valley, 1960–1970.[55]
  • Knowles Park - Knowles Park is a small parcel of land directly across from the main entrance of Gypsy Hill Park.[55]
  • Woodrow Park (Sears Hill) - approximately five acres and is located in the Sears Hill District of Staunton. The park was named in honor of President Woodrow Wilson and features a scenic overlook of historic downtown Staunton.[56]


In 1894, Staunton fielded a baseball team in the original Virginia League: The Staunton Hayseeds.[57] In 1914, the city fielded a team in the Virginia Mountain League: The Staunton Lunatics.[57] The Lunatics moved to Harrisonburg in July 1914, just before the league disbanded.[citation needed] From 1939 to 1942, the city fielded a team in the second Virginia League: the Staunton Presidents.[57] Staunton currently has no minor league baseball, but the Staunton Braves represent the city in the Valley Baseball League, a collegiate summer baseball league that plays in the Shenandoah Valley.



Roads and highways[edit]

US 11 in Staunton

The main highways through Staunton include U.S. Route 11, U.S. Route 11 Business, U.S. Route 250, Virginia State Route 252, Virginia State Route 254, Virginia State Route 261 and Virginia State Route 262. U.S. Route 11 and U.S. Route 250 are the most prominent roads passing directly through Staunton, with US 11 following a northeast to southwest alignment (but signed north–south), and US 250 following a northwest to southeast alignment (but signed east–west). US 11 Business follows a slower route through downtown compared to the main US 11 routing which passes just outside downtown. State Routes 252 and 254 are minor roads leading to nearby rural areas of adjacent Augusta County. State Route 261 provides a better route for trucks following US 11 and US 250 through the city. State Route 262 forms a limited access beltway around the outskirts of Staunton. Interstate 64 and Interstate 81 both pass just outside the city limits and provide the main high-speed, high-volume roads to the Staunton region.

Public transportation[edit]

Staunton Amtrak station

Staunton is served by Amtrak's Cardinal. The train station, which is located downtown, is the closest station to the nearby cities of Harrisonburg and Lexington. The Buckingham Branch also has a small railyard.

Staunton had a municipal bus system during the 20th century, known as the Staunton Transit Service, but it was dissolved in 1989.[58] In 1944, World War II veteran S. Melvin Johnson wrote to Truman Gibson, assistant to William H. Hastie, advisor to Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson, regarding segregated seating on the Staunton Transit Service and stating that returning African-American soldiers would not stand for such conditions.[59] This letter was an indication of the role that African-American veterans would later play in the American civil rights movement. In 1946, after the United States Supreme Court decision Irene Morgan v. Commonwealth of Virginia, which found that Virginia's segregated seating law was unconstitutional with respect to interstate bus routes, Ethel New, a black woman from Lynch, Kentucky, was arrested for violating the law because she had purchased an intrastate ticket.[60] New suffered a miscarriage subsequent to her arrest and sued Greyhound Lines and the arresting officer in Staunton.[60] In September 1947, meeting in Staunton, the Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals upheld the all-white jury's verdict exonerating both the bus line and the officer.[60]

Blue Ridge Intercity Transit Express (BRITE) provides fixed-route transit bus service in Staunton on three routes: the Downtown Trolley, West Route, and North Route.[61] The Coordinated Area Transportation Services (CATS) operates a demand-response service throughout the Staunton area, as well as a fixed shuttle service between the downtown areas of Staunton and Waynesboro.[62] Virginia Breeze provides intercity bus service between Blacksburg and Washington, with a stop in Staunton.[63]

The city is adjacent to the northernmost junction of I-81 and I-64. Virginia State Route 262 forms a partial beltway around the city, and both US 250 and US 11 pass through the city.

The nearest commercial airport is Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport in Weyers Cave, Virginia.



Staunton High School

Staunton City Schools is the school district of the city.[64]

Black Virginians were largely barred from education until Reconstruction.[65] The first school in Staunton which allowed African-Americans to attend was established by the Freedmen's Bureau under the supervision of the commanding general of the occupying Union army in late 1865. Arrangements were made to bring in women from the North as teachers, and the jury rooms of the Augusta County Courthouse, located at 1 E. Johnson Street, were to be used as classrooms. The court protested this plan, however, and it is possible that another location was found.[66]

In 1964 the Staunton chapter of the NAACP threatened the city with a lawsuit if they did not immediately desegregate the public schools.[67] The City School Board, headed by Thomas W. Dixon, declined to take further action, contending that the schools were already desegregated as ten black children had been allowed to attend previously all-white schools.[67] Attorneys for the city of Staunton submitted a plan for the desegregation of its public schools in 1965 by eliminating all negro schools in time for the 1967–1968 school year, which was approved by the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. However, the implementation of this plan was delayed to such an extent that a group of African-American parents brought suit in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia against the city. This case, Bell v. School Board of Staunton, was decided on January 5, 1966, with the court stating that the delay was a violation of the rights of the students under the Fourteenth Amendment and ordering that the schools and their faculty be desegregated in time for the 1966–1967 school year.[53]

The Staunton city school district was one of 21 in Virginia which take elementary school students out of class for Bible lessons on a voluntary basis, a practice known as Weekday Religious Education.[68] Although the U.S. Supreme Court ended taxpayer-funded religious education in 1948 in McCollum v. Board of Education, four years later they opened the door to privately funded voluntary classes held during school hours but away from school premises in Zorach v. Clauson. In 2005, a group of parents in Staunton asked the school board to halt the practice.[69] The challenge was successful, and the Bible classes are no longer being taught as of April 2017.[68]


District schools:

  • T.C. McSwain Elementary School
  • A.R. Ware Elementary School
  • Bessie Weller Elementary School
  • Shelburne Middle School
  • Staunton High School
  • Dixon Educational Center (includes Genesis Alternative Education Program)



  • Stuart Hall School—preparatory school (boarding for coed, day school for coed)
  • Grace Christian School—Coed Christian School for Pre-K to 12th Grade
  • C. F. Richards Jr. Academy—coed Seventh-Day Adventist school
  • Mary Baldwin University—Private liberal arts college, formerly a women's college
  • Raw Learning — democratic / free school



Notable people[edit]

President Woodrow Wilson

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 7, 2020.
  2. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on December 27, 1996. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  3. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. October 25, 2007. Archived from the original on February 12, 2012. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  4. ^ "QuickFacts Staunton city, Virginia".
  5. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on June 26, 2015. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  6. ^ "Chapter 3: From the First Court to the First Indian War - Page 52, Waddell's Annals of Augusta County, Virginia, from 1726 to 1871". Roanetnhistory.org. Retrieved June 14, 2009.
  7. ^ Room, Adrian (1989). Dictionary of World Place Names Derived from British Names. Taylor & Francis. p. 168. ISBN 978-0-415-02811-0. Archived from the original on January 18, 2016. Retrieved November 26, 2015.
  8. ^ "Augusta County, VA : History". Co.augusta.va.us. Archived from the original on June 27, 2014. Retrieved June 14, 2009.
  9. ^ Gordon S. Wood (2002). The American Revolution: a history. Modern Library. p. 13. ISBN 0-679-64057-6.
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