354 West Main Street - Schoolfield, Lea, Easley House

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This old house is located on the corner of West Main Street and Woodland Avenue, which was formerly Pump House Road. Its Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates are N 36 degrees 34.646 minutes, W 079 degrees 24.739 minutes, Elevation 624’.

It was occupied by John Harrell Schoolfield, Jr. from at least 1917 until 1930. Prior to that time he had lived with his father, John Harrell Schoolfield, Sr. at 944 Main Street and after that time he resided at 242 Hawthorne Drive in Forest Hills until his death on October 21, 1950 at age 69. He was born in the Horsepasture community of Henry County on December 15, 1880 and came to Danville with his father and family in 1883 when his father became one of the founding Schoolfields of the textile enterprise which would eventually become Dan River Inc. He married Miss Frank Hanes of Winston Salem, N. C. on October 17, 1911, and the couple had three daughters. He worked in a supervisory position at Dan River Mills for a number of years before becoming a dealer in stocks and bonds. He was a prominent Danville citizen and businessman having taken a leading role in the work of Mt. Vernon Methodist Church, a director of the P. H. Hanes Knitting Company of Winston Salem and of the Waddill Printing Company of Danville, president of the Danville Golf Club and vice president of the Virginia-West Virginia Senior Golf association, member of the board of trustees of Stratford College and of Ferrum Junior College, a director of the Danville Community Chest, a Mason and a member of the Knights Templar.

From 1939 until the early 1950s the house was occupied by Leonard Washington Lea who was long-time prominent motion picture theater owner and operator in Danville having operated the Schoolfield Theater, the Lea Theater after changing its name from Broadway to Lea, and the North Theater which he built and operated in North Danville until his retirement in 1970. He was born in Halifax County on March 31, 1897. Prior to his move into the house at 354 West Main Street he had served as assistant secretary of the Schoolfield YMCA and worked as a clerk for Dan River Mills and lived at 66 Bishop Avenue and on Park Row. He was married to the former Nellie Puckett and the couple had two sons and two daughters. He was a member of Calvary United Methodist Church and president of the Flippen-Fentriss Bible Class. After leaving 354 West Main Street he lived at 662 Jefferson Street where he died on October 20, 1975 at age 78.

The last individual who owned and lived at 354 West Main Street was Dr. Charles Allen Easley, Jr. who lived there from about 1952 until his death on July 5, 2004 after a brief illness. He was born on March 10, 1907 in Bluefield, West Virginia, graduated from Hargrave Military Academy, the College of William and Mary in 1928 and the Medical College of Virginia in 1932. He interned at Charleston General Hospital in Charleston, West Virginia and served as Medical Director for the DuPont Company at Belle, West Virginia from 1933 to 1936 before returning to the Medical College of Virginia to specialize in surgery. He married Elizabeth Stone Fitzgerald on May 22, 1937 and the couple had one son and two daughters. He came to Danville in 1940 to begin practice but was called into service with the U. S. Army Medical Corps until 1945 where he was stationed in North Africa and Europe during World War II and discharged with the rank of Major. After the war he returned to Danville and reopened his practice in General Surgery and practiced for 59 years. He was a member of First Baptist Church where he served as chairman of deacons. He was a Past President of the Danville Rotary Club, a member of the Danville Golf Club, a 65-year member of Carter Masonic Lodge No. 323 and a past president of the Pittsylvania County Academy of Medicine. He was a member of the Medical Society of Virginia, the American College of Surgeons and the American Medical Association. He was an expert skeet shooter. His youngest daughter, Margaret, married Dr. Howard Douglas Lee, the youngest son of Dr. Howard William Lee, former President of Averett College, who served as President of Stetson University in Deland, Florida.

After the death of Dr. Easley on July 5, 2004, 354 West Main Street was acquired by Averett University and in 2010, after renovation became the Averett University Book Store which serves not only the University but the public.