In 1804 Jacob Funk, Alexander Hite, Joseph Stover, Jacob Lambert, Jonas Crabil, Anthony Spangler, and George Lind conducted a lottery to build a school on this site. There efforts would be successful and the Strasburg Academy opened soon afterwards.
This private, tuition based school would operate until 1884, though the Civil War caused some serious disruptions. By 1870 the building had become overcrowded. A new school would be constructed beside the original academy which was sold. Community meetings, political rallies, concerts, and other events were regularly held in the structure’s second floor hall. This made the school a central part of life in Strasburg for the next 50 years.
Fourteen years later the trustees of the school conveyed the institution to the Davis School District. Locals were determined to provide equal education to all, no matter their financial means. This transfer highlighted the community’s commitment to achieving that goal.
Despite their commitment to provide public education to the community, this school was not open to all. Until 1964, Shenandoah County Schools were segregated by race. The Strasburg School was only open to white students throughout most of its history. A separate school for African American residents of the town was originally located on West Queen Street. More information about that school is available under our “Sunset Hill School” entry.
When the public school system accepted the Strasburg School building they operated it as both a Primary and High School. In 1910 they built a new structure next to the Academy building to house grades 6-12, a library, and principal’s office. A local directory noted the new school “accords strictly with scientific views and conforms to the plans adopted and recommended by the State of Virginia.”
On September 11, 1916 Elizabeth Lewis of the Equal Suffrage League of Virginia gave a suffrage address at the Academy. The Strasburg News newspaper noted it was possibly the first suffrage address in Shenandoah County and noted "the audience was small, but the address was very much enjoyed." Later in the day Lewis travelled to Woodstock and gave a similar address. These two meetings led to the founding of the Woodstock and Strasburg Chapters of the Equal Suffrage League.
By 1921 the school had an enrollment of over 500 and was dangerously overcrowded. Some classes were held in other buildings around town, but in 1926 the Academy building was demolished and a new High School was built in its place. All elementary classes were moved to the 1910 portion. In 1951 a second addition was completed to house a cafeteria and gymnasium.
High School students were transferred to the new Strasburg High School in 1959. Nine years later a fire broke out. Despite efforts from six local fire companies, the 1910 portion of the school was destroyed. Portable classrooms were brought to the site and used to house students for the next several decades.
Over time, the remainder of the students would be transferred to new schools. In 1971 Sandy Hook Elementary school opened and the school became Strasburg Middle. Twenty years later the school was closed when the new Signal Knob Middle School was opened. Today, the building is in private hands.