Schoolfield Gallery

Schoolfield Gallery

Features local, regional, and national fine art and history exhibitions throughout the year

Named in honor of Mr. and Mrs. John Harrell Schoolfield, Sr. and Mr. and Mrs. John Harrell Schoolfield, Jr.

The City of Danville, Pittsylvania, and Henry Counties all owe a great debt of gratitude to three brothers who came to settle in Danville from Henry County in 1882. The three brothers, John Harrell Schoolfield, Robert Addison Schoolfield, and James Edward Schoolfield, had plans to open a cotton mill on the banks of the Dan River. The brothers, along with Thomas Benton Fitzgerald, Benjamin Franklin Jefferson, and Dr. Howson White Cole, were granted a charter to organize a company known as Riverside Cotton Mills.

From the early days of its existence the company prospered and grew. In 1909, as the company continued to expand, the name was changed to Riverside and Dan River Cotton Mills, Inc. The company planned and developed a modern village for its workers. It was named Schoolfield in recognition of the three brothers. The village had wide streets and 800 houses, all lighted by electricity, free of cost to the tenants. The school buildings included the first kindergarten in the area. There were four churches built on land donated by the company. An indoor swimming pool, a bowling alley, and a large movie theatre were nearby. A bandstand where concerts were held was adjacent to the recreation center.

During the years many benefits came to Danville and the area from the location of these mills. Many of Danville's most productive and industrious citizens were attracted to Danville because of the career opportunities at the mills. Millions of dollars changed hands in the operations involving the buying of cotton and the manufacturing of it into goods which were sold around the world. As remarked by Robert Addison Schoolfield: "It may be said that the beneficial contributions of the mills to the happiness and prosperity of our city cannot be measured."