The Ridgeley School was opened in 1927 as Colored School No.1 in Election District 13 in the African American community known as Ridgeley*. Named for a prominent local African American family, the Ridgeley School along with a church and society hall, were the focal points of the community. The school was a recipient of a Rosenwald Fund grant, one of nearly 5,000 schools built for African American children in the South."Ridgeley" varies.
The Rosenwald Fund was established by philanthropist Julius Rosenwald in 1917. It followed educator Booker T. Washington's Tuskegee model of self-help, supporting improved vocational education for agriculture and industry in a segregated society. The program provided seed money for the construction of schools, and the local African American community provided the rest with tax revenue, cash and in-kind donations.The Ridgeley School is one of the best examples of a Rosenwald School in Prince George's
County. Of the County's 27 Rosenwald Schools, the Ridgeley School is one of nine that remains.
Originally, the school consisted of two large class rooms (each of which served at least three grades), a central passageway, and an entrance flanked by two cloakrooms. A third classroom was added by the 1950s. The school provided education to African American children in the central section of the County until it closed in 1954, the same year that the Supreme Court deemed segregation in schools unconstitutional in the Brown v. Board of Education decision. The site was later used as a special education center, administrative offices, and school bus lot for the Prince George's County Public School System. The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission began restoration of the Ridgeley School in 2009, maintaining many of the school's original architectural features.