December 3, 2016
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National Trust Expands Plan To Save Black Sites

WASHINGTON The National Trust for Historic Preservation and Lowe’s today announced the expansion of their efforts to preserve historic schools across the country. Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation awarded nearly $500,000 in grants through the National Trust to aid the rehabilitation of 10 schools. This latest round of grants brings the partners’ support for historic schools and their communities to 19 states, from Alaska to South Carolina, and brings the contributions of Lowe’s Foundation to $3 million in just three years.

As school districts across the nation close and consolidate their schools because of budget cuts, the National Trust and Lowe’s are helping communities breathe new life into former schools. Ranging from the school in which Dr. Martin Luther King first delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech to a school that was part of a national effort to help Native Americans protect and preserve their unique cultures, these historic properties represent a critical link to our nation’s multifaceted collective history. The rehabilitated schools will continue to serve central roles in their communities, including a cultural and educational center for senior citizens and a shelter and support center for victims of domestic violence.
 
While earlier support from Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation focused on restoring Rosenwald Schools, a program that greatly improved the quality of public education for African-Americans in the early 20th Century rural South, Lowe’s and the National Trust have taken their support nationwide to make a difference in as many communities as possible. The joint initiative has now funded the rehabilitation of more than 50 historic schools.
 
“Historic schools have played a critical role in our nation’s past and, as these projects show, remain cornerstones of their communities even when they no longer serve as schools,” said David J. Brown, executive vice president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “By expanding our commitment to rehabilitating historic schools nationwide, the National Trust and Lowe’s hope to help revitalize communities, create jobs and preserve an important part of America’s story.”
 
Since 2006, Lowe’s Foundation has donated $5 million to the National Trust for Historic Preservation to preserve significant historic properties across the country. The 10 historic schools in this latest round of grants are expected to complete their Lowe’s-funded restorations in 2011.
 
“The preservation efforts of the National Trust and Lowe’s will help ensure that these schools long serve as vital community resources,” said Larry D. Stone, chairman of the Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation. “By supporting rehabilitation of these significant landmarks, Lowe's is helping protect and enhance places that continue to enrich lives while preserving a piece of history for future generations.”
 

Grant recipients:
 
  • Anchorage, Alaska – Historic Anchorage Pioneer Schoolhouse
    • Approaching its 100th birthday, the schoolhouse is almost as old as the city of Anchorage itself. Once a schoolhouse on the edge of the wilderness, the building will be used for community events and as home to the Anchorage Women’s Club.
  • Bisbee, Arizona – Central School 
    • Built in 1905, this school stood as a symbol of the bustling mining town’s commitment to its bright future. As Bisbee has transformed into an artistic hub in the Southwest, the school, serving as a visual arts center, remains an emblem of its community’s future.
  • Midway, Georgia – Dorchester Academy 
    • Founded as a school for freed slaves, Dorchester Academy went on to play a pivotal role in the civil rights movement. The Birmingham march in 1963 was planned at the school, which was named to the 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in America list in 2009. The former school will serve as a museum and community center.    
  • Fort Hall, Idaho – Lincoln Creek Day School
    • Set in the most remote district of the Fort Hall Indian Reservation, Lincoln Creek Day School was built in 1937 as part of a “New Deal” for Native Americans. Designed to respect and foster native cultures, the school again will serve its original purpose as a community center.
  • Poplar Bluff, Missouri – Wheatley Public School building
    • Wheatley Public School stands at the center of Poplar Bluff’s African-American community. The school will expand its service to the community as a hub of multicultural, social and educational activities. 
  • Missoula, Montana – Historic Target Range School
    • The Target Range School served the Missoula community for more than a century, but it has been abandoned for many years as a storage house. A Boy Scout troop and a group of committed volunteers are determined to restore the building to its place as a cornerstone of the community.
  • Rocky Mount, North Carolina – Booker T. Washington High School
    • Rocky Mount’s only African-American high school for more than 40 years was also the first place Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. Today, the school serves as a community center, offering job training, primary health care and more to a large African-American community.
  • Bedford, New Hampshire – Stevens-Buswell School
    • Built in 1921, the Stevens-Buswell School has served its community as a school, a police department and even a museum for the inventor who brought radio to the world. The school will serve as a much-needed community center.
  • Cape May, New Jersey – Franklin Street School
    • Franklin Street School stands as one of the few buildings left to tell the story of African-Americans’ contribution to the development of Cape May. It will be the only community center on the island, offering vibrant arts, cultural and educational opportunities to underserved citizens.
  • Cheyenne, Wyoming – Park Addition School (Chaplin School)
    • Built in the 1930s, Park Addition has served its community as both a school and a day-care facility. The school will become the home of Safehouse Sexual Assault Services, offering support services and shelter to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.

 
ABOUT THE NATIONAL TRUST FOR HISTORIC PRESERVATION
The National Trust for Historic Preservation is a non-profit membership organization bringing people together to protect, enhance and enjoy the places that matter to them. By saving the places where great moments from history – and the important moments of everyday life – took place, the National Trust for Historic Preservation helps revitalize neighborhoods and communities, spark economic development and promote environmental sustainability. With headquarters in Washington, DC, eight regional and field offices, 29 historic sites, and partner organizations in 50 states, territories, and the District of Columbia, the National Trust for Historic Preservation provides leadership, education, advocacy and resources to a national network of people, organizations and local communities committed to saving places, connecting us to our history and collectively shaping the future of America’s stories.
 



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