Edgar A. Long: The Man
Portrait of Edgar A. Long
The son of former slaves, Edgar Allen Long was born in Tuskegee, Alabama, in 1871. He attended a local primary school in his hometown and at the age of 20, in 1891, he entered the Tuskegee Institute while working in the printers trade to aid in the cost of his tuition. Upon graduating from Tuskegee Institute, Long worked as an editor for the "Sentinel", a local newspaper in his hometown, and a bookkeeper in the iconic all-black Penny Savings Bank.
In 1897 Long received an invitation from Charles Marshall, a graduate of Tuskegee Institute and the principal at the Hill School in Christiansburg, Virginia, to join the staff at the school. In the fall of that year, Long accepted Marshall's invitation and became Assistant Principal and Treasurer, office's he served in for 9 years, becoming Principal in 1906 after the death of Charles Marshall. Edgar Long was principal of Christiansburg Institute until his death in 1923.
Edgar A. Long: The Building
Built in 1927 in the Georgian Revival-style, the Edgar A. Long building is a 2 ½ cube shaped brick structure named after Edgar Allen Long, the school’s principal from 1906-1924. Of the original 14 educational buildings that once stood on the Christiansburg Institute’s former 185-acre campus, the E.A.L building stands as the last surviving structure and is the only one named after an African-American.
During the operating years of the school (1866-1966) it was common for students to serve as labor in the construction of many of the structures built on the school’s campus. For the E.A.L building, students performed all the excavation work and laid the underground soil pipe. The foundation of the building is concrete and has a net usable square footage of approximately 9,700 square feet.
The building officially opened for classes in December of 1928 and was used for teaching a multitude of subjects including: Physiology, Latin, Agriculture, Chemistry, Mathematics, English, Bible, and General Science. The wide central hallway and large classrooms with high ceilings allowed the building to also house P.E. classes and serve as general recreational space.
On December 6, 2000, the Virginia Historic Resources Board and the State Review Board added the Edgar A. Long building to its list of historic landmarks. In 2001 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.