SES History

History of Stewartsville Elementary School

There has been a public school in the Stewartsville Area since 1850.  Cross Roads School, a meager, one room log building, was located south of Cross Roads on Pate’s Mill Road on property owned by Matthew Pate and adjoining the James family property.  This was the humble beginning of Stewartsville Elementary School known at that time as Cross Road School. There is no record of the faculty members at that time, but in 1903, James Feather and Miss Alice Reynolds taught in the building.

In 1904, a new site was found, and a two-room, frame house was built approximately one-half mile south of the village of Cross Roads.

In 1912, a two-story building consisting of four rooms with an auditorium was constructed on the present day site of Stewartsville and provided instruction for grades 1-7 and the first year of high school.  At this time, there were three instructors at the school.  In 1914, the first class graduated from Stewartsville School.  Miss Mary Watson was the first principal; and from 1912 to 1930, the school offered one to three years of high school that included courses in English, history, mathematics, and Latin.

In the fall of 1930, Bedford County began consolidation of its schools, and students were bussed to Stewartsville from four other county schools.  The year 1930 also saw the addition of the fourth year of high school at Stewartsville and the election of Mr. J. A. Johnson as principal.  One teacher dedicated solely to the high school program was hired to support the students who were working to receive their high school diplomas. The 1934 school year brought with it ten new teachers and by 1936, Stewartsville became a fully accredited high school by the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Enrollment in 1936 was 270 students.

In 1937, construction began on a new auditorium which was added to the existing brick building at a cost of $13,355.00. The Sandy Level School building was dismantled and reconstructed next to the brick building and served as the Home Economics Cottage.  In 1942, the old Union and Thomasson Schools were dismantled and moved to the Stewartsville site for the purpose of building a lunch room and adding additional elementary classrooms.  In 1944, two Quonset units were constructed to help with overcrowding.

The first full-time librarian, Miss Madeline Willis, was employed in 1944. Stewartsville’s library had grown from just 670 books in 1935 to over 2,000 books with a circulation that exceeded 11,000.  The enrollment that year was 630 students.  The first lunch room was operated in 1944 with Miss Joyce Poole, home economics teacher, in charge.

In 1952 -53 architects were hired to design a new addition which current serves as our third and fourth grade areas.  This construction resulted in the demolition of the old frame building originally constructed in 1912.

In 1964, further consolidation of schools in the county resulted in the building of Staunton River High School.  This left Stewartsville as an elementary school with grades 1-7.  The Bedford County School Board added a new addition to Stewartsville at this time.  The new construction consisted of a library, cafeteria, and four additional classrooms.

In 1978, a new addition consisting of eleven classrooms rooms was completed to handle the ever-increasing enrollment.  This year also saw the first special education program for the school.

Staunton River Middle School was completed in 1979, at which time Stewartsville became a K-5 school.

In 1990, Stewartsville underwent a major renovation and added a new library and six new classrooms.  Included in the renovation was the air-conditioning of all instructional areas.

In 1999, the opening of an additional Bedford County elementary school in Goodview changed the attendance zone and significantly decreased the school membership. For the opening of the 2103-2014 school year, the enrollment at Stewartsville Elementary was 432.

Stewartsville Elementary School

Celebrating 75 Years

The Cross Roads

When Stewartsville first began to publish yearbooks, those books were known as The Cross Roads honoring the geographic site of the first school in the Stewartsville area. As of 2014, the faculty, staff, and students decided that future yearbooks developed to record significant events during the school year should revert to the name originally established by the first students and staff of Stewartsville School.  Henceforth, the Stewartsville yearbook will be entitled The Cross Roads.  The publication for this year is dedicated to the past parents, community members, students, and faculty of this great school for their undying commitment to the education of the children of this area and their limitless dedication to success of their alma Marta.

A special thank you to Dr. Susan Mele for writing and sharing this beautifully written document. Dr. Mele was the principal of Stewartsville Elementary for 7 years and embraced the community and its rich history. She was able to collect many artifacts, blue prints of the building as it grew, and celebrate its growth with all the stakeholders, students, and community. Thank you Dr. Mele, you will always have a special place in the hearts of those at Stewartsville Elementary school.