Backstory and Context
Owned and built by Jerome Hill Duff, this small schoolhouse was built specifically for his children. Mr. Duff moved from Lee County, Virginia to be the manager at a local hotel across the street, the Central Hotel, but he did not want his children to miss out on any opportunities for schooling since there were no schools in Big Stone Gap at the time. Thus, Duff Academy was constructed. He hired a local woman to teach his children and this is where the children stayed while their father was busy at work. Although this house originally sat directly behind the hotel, it was later moved to this location, beside the June Tolliver House, because the hotel was torn down and other construction took place. Lastly, the Duff children were not the only students in attendance. After a short period, The Bullitt, Kenkel, and Mills families sent their children to the Academy to learn, as well.