Walraven hosted a group of Floyd county movers and shakers at the Lyons Bridge Farm estate southeast of Cave Spring Friday, where he announced the pledge and community challenge. Then visitors toured the school site where a 1945 first-grade classroom building is the only building still standing on the campus that was built to provide a quality education for African-American children of the area.
Joyce Perdue-Smith, chairwoman of the Fairview-E.S. Brown Heritage Corp., told the group the school was “the joy and the heart of the African-American community.” She told the group at the Walraven farm that the state of Georgia was now committed to restoring many old African-American historical sites, and the school in Cave Spring has been included in the list.
Perdue-Smith said her nonprofit organization has estimated the cost of preserving and rehabilitating the building at $200,000.
“This is something that is really important to us,” Walraven said.
The historic school site is across Padlock Mountain Road from the original Georgia School for the Deaf property in Cave Spring.
During the tour of the school property, Megan Watters, Rome, asked architect Joe Smith from Madison, if he thought the building was even up to the project. “Oh, yes,” Smith said. “But it will be a stick-by-stick erector set of rehabilitation.”
Nothing but a chimney remains of the old Rosenwald school building, which was built on the site in 1924 and was the only building on the campus for 20 years. Julius Rosenwald was a part-owner and leader of the Sears & Roebuck Corp. based in Chicago. He created a fund which helped finance the construction of nearly 4,000 school buildings for African-American children.
The first-grade building was constructed in 1945, and two more classroom buildings were added in 1946 and 1947. However, a few scattered bricks are all that remain of those buildings.
The Fairview-E.S. Brown Heritage Corp. was recognized by Governor Nathan Deal in 2015 for its efforts to restore the school.
People interested in helping round out the fundraising campaign can send checks to the Fairview-E.S. Brown Heritage Corp., 3 Central Plaza-Box 147, Rome, Ga. 30161.