Old Rock School

Old Rock School History:

July 4, 1922: A parade cheered through town, marching bands played, school children sang, and speeches were made to commemorate the laying of the cornerstone of the Old Rock School. A little over a year later, in October of 1923, it opened as an educational facility to all children. The building remained in continuous use until the late 1970's.

In 1986 renovations began after the Town of Valdese purchased the historic building to turn it into a multi-use facility. The Old Rock School is now the home of a 500 seat auditorium, 4 classrooms, 4 private businesses, 3 non-profits, an art studio, the Town of Valdese Community Affairs & Tourism Department, and a large event space that is rented by the public year-round.

The Community Affairs Office manages the full event calendar of the Old Rock School which includes movies, concerts, craft shows, pageants, and public celebrations throughout the year. The Old Rock School averages 2 events per day. The Old Rock School Auditorium has seen many talents from Bluegrass favorite Alison Krauss to legendary Lynyrd Skynyrd Drummer Artimus Pyle. The memories in this building can still be felt by the grooves worn into the original staircase from the thousands of feet that have traveled them.

The Old Rock School remains an iconic symbol of our community. All of the spaces in the School are available for public rental, so renters can enjoy the rich history of the Town while hosting their own special event. The Town of Valdese makes a tremendous effort to uphold the integrity and beauty of this historical site. The building was listed under the National Registry of Historical places in 1984.

In addition to public rentals the Old Rock School also has several businesses and nonprofit organizations located within. The businesses & nonprofits include, Old Colony Players (local community theater), Rock School Arts Foundation and the Valdese Rotary Club. The Rock School Arts Foundation has two art galleries open for public viewing and Studio 101 for art workshops.

The Piedmont & Western Railroad Museum is located on the lower level of the building. The Piedmont and Western Railroad is a fictitious line serving Western North Carolina whose mainline extends from Marion, NC to Leadvale, TN. Its chief purpose is to carry the trains of its owners, Southern RR and the Clinchfield RR across the Blue Ridge Mountains. Since it is the only Carolina's mainline that crosses the Blue Ridge, traffic is heavy. The Piedmont and Western also maintains extensive terminal facilities in Asheville, which is the focus of operations. Trains set off or pick up local traffic, or are reclassified for their final destinations. Modern operations with diesel locomotives are emphasized. The PWRR Club meets every 1st and 4th Thursday each month at 7:00 p.m.

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Public Rentals

Weddings, Recitals, Parties, Conferences

Old Rock School Event Calendar

The Old Rock School is also home to the following businesses: 

Dream Connections, INC. - 828.874.0909 website | David Harmon Studios - 704.936.9704 website


CONTACT INFORMATION: Telephone: 828-879-2129, 828-879-2126 | Mailing: P.O. Box 339 Valdese NC 28690

The Old Rock School is operated under the Valdese Community Affairs & Tourism Department

Director: Morrissa Angi - [email protected] | 828-874-6773

Assistant Director: Annie Hogan - [email protected] | 828-874-6774

Events & Facilities Supervisor: Robert Heilman - [email protected] | 828-874-6775

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Community Theatre

Old Colony Players is a thriving community theatre company who calls Valdese home. Artfully performing since 1967, OCP …
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Dream Connections, Inc.

Dream Connections, Inc. is devoted to providing dedicated and comprehensive services to assist, advocate, and empower persons with mental health and/or intellectual and/or developmental disabilities to enrich their life to the fullest, maximize their opportunities to be independent, and to be included as members of their community.
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Rock School Arts Galleries

The Rock School Arts Foundation’s mission is to offer new and exciting exhibitions, programs, and art education for adults and children; to serve as a cultural destination for tourists and visitors; and a resource for the art communities.
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Rotary Club

The Rotary Club of Valdese Zone 33, District 7670 was organized September 1947. Meetings are held at the Old Rock School Waldensian Room every Tuesday at noon.
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RSAF Studio 101

Discover unique workshops at Studio 101 presented by the Rock School Arts Foundation
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Wright Way Dance

The Wright Way Dance offers professional instruction for beginners and seniors as well as advanced students who want to learn how to do line dancing and/or for couples who want to learn a variety of styles including swing, Latin, ballroom, country, and club dancing.