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Maryland's National Register Properties



Photo credit: MHT Files, n.d.
Queenstown Rosenwald School
Inventory No.: AA-1000
Other Name(s): Sunnyside School
Date Listed: 12/8/2009
Location: 430 Queenstown Road, Severn, Anne Arundel County
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: 1932
Description: Built in 1932, the Queenstown School (a.k.a. Sunnyside School) sits on the north/northeast side of Queenstown Road. The building sits on a wide grassy lot and sits back from the road approximately 100 feet. Facing approximately south, the school is a plain, one-story, frame building. Walls of this basically T-shaped building are sheathed in German siding and rest on a concrete block foundation. Foundation height changes to accommodate the lot’s slope. Front walls sit on a foundation that is nearly three feet in height, while the rear wall is placed only slightly above grade. The building features three distinct sections, two of which are original. First period construction include a long (approximately 60’) rear portion that runs in an east/west orientation. Centered on this and projecting at a right angle from it, is an approximately 20’ gable-front block. The third section is small and flat-roofed, and is situated in the southwest intersection of these two original portions. Clear breaks between its concrete foundation and that of the main portion of the building identify this portion as a later addition. Its siding, however, is identical to that covering the main building and suggests the entire building has been resided. The roof of all three blocks is sheathed with modern composition shingles. A tall brick interior stove chimney is located on the roof of the addition. With respect to the original portions, the roofline is flush on the gable-ends and accented by a narrow verge board. Eaves of the longitudinal walls overhang slightly and have a plain cornice. As with all Rosenwald Schools, windows are the most dominant characteristic of this building. The projecting front wall of the front block contains a continuous bay of four, tall, 9/9 sash windows. Plain wide boards serve as both mullions and the surround. Rear wall fenestration is divided into three groups. On either end of the rear wall is a bay of five windows. Rear wall window surrounds match those seen on the building’s front section, but the rear openings are considerably larger than those in front are. Windows were originally 9/9 sash types, but many are now boarded over, including all windows in the easternmost bay. Centered between the two main bays is a pair of substantially smaller windows that are now boarded over. Windows in the addition are smaller than elsewhere on the building. Three individually placed 6/6 windows are found in both the south and the west wall of the addition. Two entrances are present, each of which is approached by a small flight of concrete steps. The main entrance is located on the west wall of the front block, near the intersection with the long rear section. An elongated shed-roofed porch hood protects the doorway. The second entrance is located on the east wall of the addition, near the intersection with the main block. The doors on both of these entrances are modern replacements. The building’s interior was extensively remodeled. Significance: Between 1917 and 1932, the Rosenwald Fund helped build over 5,300 schools for blacks in the rural south. Approximately 292 were built in Maryland. Of that number, 24 were constructed in Anne Arundel County. The Queenstown School is one of only five known surviving Anne Arundel County examples. Rosenwald Schools were built with matching funds provided by the Julius Rosenwald Fund, which was a private foundation named for the Chicago entrepreneur who directed the booming growth of Sears, Roebuck & Company in the early 20th century. This school, as with all Rosenwald Schools, was built according to a standardized plan provided by the Rosenwald Fund. These cost- and space-efficient plans were developed for the Fund by leading educational experts and represented state-of-the-art designs. As a result they were often employed in the construction of contemporary white schools and in schools after the Fund ceased operation. Built in 1932, the Queenstown School is significant as an example of a Rosenwald School, and as such represents a landmark era in black education in the period before federal support of local education. The building contained two classrooms and a library. After 1954, it was used as a special education school for black children. Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s order to integrate the nation’s public schools, the Queenstown School was closed in 1966 and subsequently became the Queenstown Community Center.

 

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