Rocky Gap Elementary School, located in the town of Rocky Gap, lies in Bland County of Southwest Virginia. Settlement of this area dates back to 1763. Rocky Gap, in northern Bland County, was named for the rough, rocky terrain as well as its location in the gaps of the mountains. This community develeloped from a settlement on the merging waters of Clear Fork Creek, Laurel Fork, and Wolf Creek.
Bland County, named for Revolutionary War patriot Richard E. Bland, was founded in 1861. The early settlers were primarily farmers. Today, Bland County remains predominately a rural, agricultural county. While there are no incorporated towns in the county, three main community centers exist: Bland , the county seat; Bastian; and Rocky Gap.
Early transportation followed the development of the Norfolk and Western Railroad. In 1909, the railroad expanded from Narrows to Rocky Gap, and then on to Bastian. As a result of this construction, a network of roads developed. In 1924, the Lakes-to-Florida Highway was built through the county, bringing U.S. Route 21. Today, county transportation needs are met by Interstate 77, which joins Interstate 81 twenty-one miles south of Rocky Gap, US 52/21, VA 42, and other state maintained roads.
Early settlers found a favorable climate. The mean temperature for January is 29 degrees Fahrenheit, and for July, it is 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Average annual precipitation is thirty-one inches of rainfall, and thirty inches snowfall. Land elevation ranges from a high of 4409 feet to a low of 1680 feet.
Many of the current county residents bear the family surnames of the early settlers. This may be an indication that the community provides residents' need for a good and satisfying place to live. Bland County has become the permanent residence for many families from varied areas. The county has shown a 17.1% increase in population during a ten year span, 1970 to 1980. Interstate transportation allows residents easy access to surrounding towns and cities. The county has the potential for even greater growth.
The first school in Rocky Gap was a log building which stood near a hollow later called Camp Obediah, now lying under I-77 bridges across Wolf Creek. Not only did the building serve as both church and school, but with the coming of the Civil War, it was used to care for the wounded soldiers and stored ammunition and guns. Word was received that citizens burned the building, rather than yield their ammunition to the Yankees. Around 1870 or 1880, another log building was constructed in the same general region, and at that same time, a log school building was erected across Laurel Creek from where the brick grade building stands today. Little is known about its history. The first frame school building was constructed in Rocky Gap in 1890. Today, Rocky Gap Combined School stands on the same site.