The Towers School
The Towers School site was previously inhabited by the Northwestern Virginia Academy until 1893. During the Civil War, the Academy was utilized as a barracks, military prison, and a hospital because Clarksburg was home to hundreds of troops from 1861 through 1865. Not only did the Academy provide room and board for soldiers, but every church did as well. Towers School was established in 1895 and served the Clarksburg community for nearly 100 years. Towers was demolished in the mid-1900s.
Backstory and Context
From 1843 to 1851, Reverend Gordon Battelle presided as Principal of the Northwestern Virginia Academy. In the spring of 1853, the board of trustees added a female department to the school that was overseen by Reverend Richard A. Arthur. Enrollment for the 1855-1856 term included 130 male students and 99 female students. This was a total of 229 students led by 5 teachers or a 45 to 1 ratio. During the Civil War, the school was used as a barracks, hospital, and guard house or military prison. After the war, the school did not reopen, but offered private schooling until the building was taken over by the public school system and used as a public school. During this time, two more rooms were added to the western end of the building. In 1894, the old portion was demolished and the current building was constructed. This building was named the Towers School.
The Northwestern Virginia Academy stood on the same site as the Towers School from 1843 to 1893, and was then utilized by the public school system until the building was deemed unsafe and was razed to make way for a new school. A new Clarksburg Public School building was constructed in 1895 from donated materials and money. The newly established school’s first floor was equipped with a large hall that separated two classrooms on the left and a room called the chapel on the right. The second floor was divided into five classrooms. Towers School was a new two-story brick structure that was 71 by 44 feet and topped with a cupola.
The Towers School was named after Reverend George Towers, who was a graduate of the University of Oxford, England. Reverend Towers was a Presbyterian minister and the first tutor in Randolph County, WV. He taught at Randolph Academy which stood just to the east of where the Towers School stands today. Randolph Academy was the principal regional school from 1795 to 1843. The Randolph Academy of Clarksburg had problems finding teachers during this time, and the school’s physical condition was poor as well. By 1841, the condition of the building was so poor, that the Board of Education, opted to sell the property to the Northwestern Virginia Academy with the condition that the building be demolished.
Cork, Tim. Schools. Clarksburg My Home. Accessed January 14, 2017. http://clarksburg-myhometown.blogspot.com/p/schools.html.