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Founded in 1866 by Dr. Hupp and John Jackson, Lincoln School was one of the first schools in the United States to be established for African American children. Located in Wheeling, West Virginia, it was first housed in a two room building on Twelfth Street in Ohio County. In 1875 the school moved to Tenth and Chapline Street. A fire destroyed the building in 1892, and a new school was constructed in 1893 that housed first through sixth grades. The building for Lincoln High School was completed in 1943, and closed after desegregation. The building that housed Lincoln High School now serves as the Ronald C Mulholland Juvenile Center.


  • Byers, R. Charles, Bryson Cyrus, Florette Walton, Jhaun Jasper, Irene Ivy, and Emma Nelson. "Honoring Our Past." Black High Schools in West Virginia (1988). Marshall University Special Collections.
  • Byers, R. Charles, Bryson Cyrus, Florette Walton, Jhaun Jasper, Irene Ivy, and Emma Nelson. "Honoring Our Past." Black High Schools in West Virginia (1988). Marshall University Special Collections.
  • Dedication of the New Lincoln High School, Wheeling, W. Va. Sunday, December 5, 1943.
Photo contributed by the Ohio County Public Library, http://www.ohiocountylibrary.org/wheeling-history/faculty-of-lincoln-high-school-wheeling-wv-1943/4069.

Lincoln High School was founded in 1866, and was one of the first publicly funded schools for African Americans in the United States. When the school opened, it was home to twenty colored students from the surrounding area who were taught in the two room facility. The most notable principal of Lincoln's history was James McHenry Jones, who was one of West Virginia’s most prominent African-American educators and community leaders during the half century after the Civil War. Jones' administration raised the school to a higher standard as he doubled the number of teachers and students, broadened the curriculum, and rebuilt the school after a fire in 1892. He later went on to be the president of the West Virginia Colored Institute after resigning from Lincoln in 1900.

The school was moved to it's permanent location in 1875, which was formerly a white school for the children living on the Wheeling Island and between 
Ninth and Twelfth Streets. This school was known as Second Ward School, and the name was changed to Lincoln School after the shift in students. This building was completely destroyed by a fire in 1892, and a new school was immediately constructed in the same location, and opened in 1893.

James Jones' brother, Flem, became Lincoln's principal in 1900, and the High School Department, 
Manual Training, and Domestic Science Departments were established under his administration. In 1914, Lincoln saw many improvements as the programs were expanded and improved so that more full time faculty could be hired, therefore more students enrolled. In 1943, Lincoln High School was once again revamped. 

"There are now 14 classrooms, including a model apartment with dining room, living room, kitchen and laundry; two large rooms rooms for industrial arts courses; a well-equipped library and science rooms. The large assembly room, where the opening exercises will be held, will seat 200 people. Plans call for the post-war addition of an auditorium and gymnasium. When the third floor and auditorium have been added, the old red building will be entirely eliminated, as space will be inadequate to take care of the entire colored school population." - Souvenir Program, Dedication of the New Lincoln High School, Wheeling, W. Va 19431

The school closed after desegregation, as the African American students were able to attend schools that were closer to their homes. The Lincoln High School building still remains today, and is home to the Ronald C. Mulholland Juvenile Center. This center is dedicated to serving youth who have been charged with law violations and also provides treatment and rehabilitation. 

1. Ohio County Public Library. “Wheeling History > Lincoln School: Historical Sketch.” 2016. Accessed October 26, 2016. http://www.ohiocountylibrary.org/wheeling-history/lincoln-school-historical-sketch/4080. 2. Byers, R. Charles, Bryson Cyrus, Florette Walton, Jhaun Jasper, Irene Ivy, and Emma Nelson. "Honoring Our Past." Black High Schools in West Virginia (1988). Marshall University Special Collections. 3. "Lincoln High School." Wheeling History. Ohio County Public Library, 2015. Web. 11 May 2015. .