WHO: The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation and the owners of the Eleanor Roosevelt School in Warm Springs, Ga.
WHAT: The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation and the owners of the Roosevelt School, Debron and Voncher Walker, will host a project kickoff ceremony to mark the beginning of the rehabilitation of the Eleanor Roosevelt School, the country’s last constructed Rosenwald School. Following remarks about the history and future plans for the site, the school building will be open to tour. Event attendees will include Franklin Roosevelt’s great-grandson, representatives from the Little White House and Eleanor Roosevelt School alumni, among others. The event is free and open to the public.
WHEN: Thursday, Sept. 7, 1-3 p.m.
Eleanor Roosevelt School site
350 Parham Street*
Warm Springs, GA 31830
*Please note: this address may not pull the correct location on GPS. The Eleanor Roosevelt School is located near the corner of Leverett Hill Rd and Parham St. Alternate address: 590 Parham Street.
The Georgia Trust was awarded $694,522 by the National Park Service (NPS) Historic Preservation Fund’s African American Civil Rights grant program to rehabilitate the Eleanor Roosevelt School in Warm Springs in partnership with the property owners, Debron and Voncher Walker.
The Eleanor Roosevelt School was built in 1936 at the behest of President Franklin D. Roosevelt for the community in his adopted retreat of Warm Springs. Named for the First Lady, the Eleanor Roosevelt School was the last school constructed with money from the Rosenwald Fund, which used matching grants to construct quality school buildings for African American children in the rural South between 1912-1936. President Roosevelt’s headstrong passion for this project was reflected by his own financial backing. He wrote a personal check to complete the financing required to begin construction and was the keynote speaker at its dedication in 1937. Until the mid-1960s, the school served grades one through eight, and it closed in 1972 as a result of countywide integration. The Georgia Trust received the property through its Revolving Fund in 2019 and sold it to private owners in February 2020.
Grant funds will secure the site and provide exterior stabilization with a new roof and restoration of windows, doors and masonry. The project will also include comprehensive architectural drawings that will be used to develop a full preservation plan of the interior spaces to plan for the property’s complete rehabilitation and sustainability. The Georgia Trust will manage the project in partnership with the owners of the Roosevelt School, Debron and Voncher Walker.
About the Georgia Trust’s Revolving Fund Program
The Georgia Trust’s Revolving Fund Program was established in 1990 to provide effective alternatives to demolition or neglect of architecturally and historically significant properties by promoting their rehabilitation and enabling owners of endangered historic properties to connect with buyers who will rehabilitate their properties.
The Georgia Trust accomplishes this goal by either accepting property donations or by purchasing options on endangered historic properties. The properties are then marketed nationally to locate buyers who agree to preserve and maintain the structures. Protective covenants are attached to the deeds to ensure that the historic integrity of each property is retained, and purchasers are required to sign rehabilitation agreements based on the work to be performed on the structure.
About the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation
Founded in 1973, the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation works for the preservation and revitalization of Georgia’s diverse historic resources and advocates their appreciation, protection and use. As one of the country’s leading statewide, nonprofit preservation organizations, the Trust generates community revitalization by finding buyers for endangered properties acquired by its Revolving Fund and raises awareness of other endangered historic resources through an annual listing of Georgia’s “Places in Peril.” The Trust offers a variety of educational programs for adults and children, provides technical assistance to property owners and historic communities, advocates for funding, tax incentives and other laws aiding preservation efforts, and manages two house museums in Atlanta (Rhodes Hall) and Macon (Hay House). For more information, visit georgiatrust.org.