Germantown School History

Germantown School Restoration

The Germantown School Restoration is a project designed to achieve the primary objective of restoring the exterior of the 1922 structure for the purposes of creating a local history museum, and at the same time, allowing an alternative use as a community center. The ample size of the single-story, 70' by 25' frame schoolhouse will fit well with this principal mission.


Built in 1922, the single-story frame schoolhouse, resting atop a rusticated concrete block foundation, was financed through the Rosenwald rural school building program, which began in 1912 as a major effort to improve the quality of public education for African Americans throughout the South. Begun in 1912, the program financed thousands of new schools; eleven of which were erected in Worcester County. The Germantown School, however, is one of two surviving Rosenwald Schools in Worcester County, and it will be the only one adapted as a private museum/community center accessible to the public. Throughout the South, Julius Rosenwald financed the construction of thousands of school buildings, spending more than $28 million between 1912 and 1932 when the program was closed down. The Germantown School remained in active use until the mid 1960s. Afterwards, it was converted into a county road barn with the removal of the front wall and the installation of four garage bays and a ground-level concrete floor. The committee for the Germantown School Community Center was given the property for their mission to revitalize the building.

Adaptive Reuse

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has identified the Rosenwald School as a type of building worthy of preservation, largely due to the fact that so few have survived into the twenty-first century. The changing nature of education throughout the South, principally integration, during the mid twentieth century, dictated the abandonment of these smaller structures for more centralized educational facilities. In an effort to explain the historic place Rosenwald schools have had in America's past, the National Trust financed a detailed publication on the history of Julius Rosenwald and his mission to improve African-American educational facilities during the early twentieth century. As represented by the enclosed case studies Highland Park, Anne Arundel County, and Stokes County, North Carolina, volunteer organizations have mobilized in efforts to save individual buildings and adapt them to modern, viable uses.

The vision of the Germantown School Community Heritage Center is compatible with the overall objectives outlined by the National Trust. The building's successful restoration can be a future showcase highlighting the cooperation of national, state, county, and local organizations, government agencies and volunteers in the pursuit of a common goal for mutual benefit.

Budget - $250,000

Repoint existing foundation, rebuild front wall with rock-faced block (salvage from derelict outbuilding) install piers for new floor structure $20,000
Install new floor, narrow tongue and groove flooring to match existing flooring in office section 15,000
Reframe and reside south wall to match existing 19,500
Interior wainscoting 8,000
Restoration Windows and Doors (12 12/12 sash windows, 2 four-light doors, frames, etc.) 50,000
Electrical rewiring 10,000
New 30-year roof 15,000
Scraping, repainting (Exterior and Interior) 25,500
Heating/Cooling System $17,500
Bathroom 12,000
Handicapped access ramp 7,500
Landscaping/Replacement of chain-link fence 20,000
Consultation (Architectural Historian/Fund-raising consul) +30,000
In-kind Contribution - Strip artificial siding from structure 0

Request - $125,000

The committee for the Germantown School Community Heritage Center respectively requests that Worcester County Commissioners consider a request of $125,000 for the first phase of restoration of the Germantown School. The committee has demonstrated a determinate effort to raise some money towards this ambitious goal, however the proposed construction budget demands that the organization look to national, state, and county sources for major grants in a plan to leverage private and public funds for matching requirements in funding applications to several other organizations and government entities that require matching funds for consideration.