St. Francis was established in the late 1800's by Katherine Drexel, who later became a saint. St. Francis was a high school exclusively for African American girls. It was the first of 55 such schools across the country established by St. Katherine. St. Francis closed its doors in 1970 due to desegregation and the Equal Rights Amendment. Surrounded by over 2000 acres of land overlooking the James River, St. Francis has been abandoned for 40 years. Although in need of repair, the magnificent architecture and intricate detailing are absolutely breathtaking. Inside, there are hardwood floors and ceilings, marble details, arched doorways, and a chapel remnescient of old world European chapels. Efforts are underway to preserve this historic building and perhaps put it to good use once again.