Antioch Rosenwald School Rehabilitation

(1) Rosenwald School Distribution Map (National Trust Publication “Preserving Rosenwald Schools” by Mary S. Hoffschwelle

Between 1912 and 1932, through a unique collaboration between Sears & Roebuck President  Julius Rosenwald  and Tuskegee Institute’s Booker T. Washington, almost 5,000 wood frame school buildings were built throughout The South to provide education for African Americans.

Typically, these schools were built adjacent to or within proximity of African ME Churches. Under an initiative by The National Trust for Historic Preservation to furnish grant funding to assist local community churches and organizations to preserve these buildings,  I was engaged in November, 2015, by Antioch Baptist Church near Mathews, VA, to provide consulting services for their historic Rosenwald School building.

(2) Plan and Rendering of Two Teacher School (from Fiske Univ. Rosenwald Archive)

(3) Front (west side) during construction -1927 (from Fiske Univ. Rosenwald Archive)

(4) Rear (east side) during construction-1927 (from Fiske Univ. Rosenwald Archive)

Built in 1927  as a two teacher pattern school (image far left) the Antioch School was in service a little over 20 years, until 1948, at which time the County closed the school and relocated the remaining students to the Thomas Hunter school in Mathews; since then, Antioch  Church remodeled half of the building around 1970 for use as a 3 bedroom apartment/Parsonage in the former (north) classroom,  and a social hall in the other (south) classroom.

(5) View from NE (today)

(6) View from NW (today)

Unfortunately, all of the original large double hung sash windows were removed at that time, along  with the original wood lap siding, and replaced with fewer, much smaller modern double hung windows. The  entire building was resided with vinyl siding; fortunately, the original tin roof shingles remain. (image 5,6)


The goal under the National Trust Grant, is to restore the original sash windows in their former openings. The challenge here is to reinstall the new windows, but maintain the ability to continue to use the existing apartment for some income generation. Due to the extensive amount of partition and plumbing rework necessary to shuffle partitions to allow the original window configuration, plus the need to fabricate twenty new wood double hung sash windows (18 are oversized/monumental), I have estimated the cost for this rehabilitation to be around $ 200,000.00. Currently, the Antioch trustees are considering their next steps in terms of pursuing the funding necessary to undertake the construction phase of this project.