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Maryland's National Register Properties



Photo credit: MHT Files, n.d.
Lula G. Scott Community Center
Inventory No.: AA-2217
Other Name(s): Churchton and Shady Side Rosenwald School
Date Listed: 12/18/2009
Location: 6243 Shady Side Road (MD 468), Shady Side, Anne Arundel County
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: 1921, 1926, 1953, 1958
Description: The Lula G. Scott Community Center consists of two frame, one-story, two-room plan Rosenwald Schools. One was built on the present site in 1926; the other was constructed in 1921 in the nearby community of Churchton and moved to the present location in 1953. A low addition was then constructed, linking the two school buildings back-to-back. The building achieved its current configuration in 1958 with the addition of a one-story, flat-roofed wing built at the south gable end of the combined Rosenwald Schools. The original section, at the building’s northwest quarter, is the Shady Side Rosenwald School, constructed in 1926 facing Shady Side Road to the west. The Shady Side school rests on a concrete pier foundation, supplemented by concrete blocks. The building’s northeast quarter comprises the former Churchton Rosenwald School, which is supported by a concrete block foundation. The connecting addition is approximately 20 feet wide, containing a kitchen, bathroom, hall, and storage areas. Both this and the 1958 wing are supported by concrete blocks. The two frame Rosenwald Schools are very similar in appearance. Both are approximately the same size, measuring 70’ x 25’. Exterior walls are sheathed in wooden German siding. Both schools are based on a two-room plan with a central entrance. The Shady Side School, has a central hall or passage, with one room on either side. The entrance features an extensively rebuilt portico, supported by modern metal posts. The paired metal-and-glass doors date to the 1950s. The east-facing Churchton School features a similar façade. The original portico appears relatively intact and retains its decorative Craftsman-style brackets. The Churchton School’s two centrally placed doors are the same as the Shady Side School, although the openings are spaced farther apart. The Churchton School’s plan is altered and now consists of a single large room. An accordion divider attached to the east wall pulls out to separate the room into two equal-sized spaces. While dividers were sometimes original features in Rosenwald Schools, oral history indicates that this divider is not an original consideration. Both the Shady Side and Churchton schools are characterized by banks of multiple tall double-hung sash windows. The Shady Side School’s principal façade contains a bank of five windows on either side of the center entrance, while the Churchton School features the same arrangement with banks of six windows. The 1958 flat-roofed addition projects from the Rosenwald Schools’ south gables, and is recessed from the front wall of the Shady Side School section approximately 6 feet. The addition’s walls are sheathed in asbestos shingles. Long banks of tall, metal, hopper windows occupy most of the addition’s east and west walls. The south wall contains a pair of metal and glass doors, accented with an over-sized transom and sidelights. A flat-roofed metal portico protects the entrance. Access is achieved by concrete steps, or alternatively, via a wheelchair ramp. This opening currently serves as the principal entrance. The Lula G. Scott community center has experienced a series of renovations. The Shady Side Rosenwald School, however, retains a significant amount of historic interior fabric including the chalkboards, chair rail, and window and door surrounds, making it Anne Arundel County’s best preserved example of a Rosenwald School. The Churchton School was believed to have lost much of its historic interior fabric; however, the original wainscoting was found intact behind modern wallboard. A rehabilitation and adaptive re-use project was carried out in 2003 in consultation with the Maryland Historical Trust and in accordance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation. Significance: The Lula G. Scott Community Center consists of the combined Shady Side and Churchton Rosenwald Schools and two 1950s additions. The Shady Side Rosenwald School was constructed in this location in 1926, and is the most intact example of a Rosenwald School surviving in Anne Arundel County. The Churchton Rosenwald School was built in 1921 and was moved to its present site in 1953. Rosenwald Schools were constructed with financial and technical assistance provided by the Julius Rosenwald Fund, a private foundation named for the Chicago entrepreneur who directed the booming growth of Sears, Roebuck & Company in the early 20th century. The Rosenwald Fund School Building Program represents the most important advance in African-American education in southern states prior to desegregation. Between 1917 and 1932, the Julius Rosenwald Fund helped erect 5,357 schools for African-American students in 17 southern states. Rosenwald Schools were built according to plans provided or approved by the Julius Rosenwald Fund. These state-of-the-art plans were cost-efficient and embodied the latest educational design theories. In Maryland, 292 Rosenwald Schools were constructed, 23 of which were built in Anne Arundel County. Including the two buildings incorporated into the Lula G. Scott Community Center, a total of ten of Anne Arundel County’s 23 Rosenwald Schools survive.

 

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