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Maryland's National Register Properties

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Ridgeley School
Inventory No.: PG:75A-28
Date Listed: 5/1/2015
Location: 8507 Central Avenue (MD 214), Capitol Heights, Prince Georges County
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: 1927
Architect/Builder: Derived from funds provided by Julius Rosenwald Fund
Related Multiple Property Record: Rosenwald Schools of Anne Arundel County, Maryland (1921-1932)
Description: Ridgeley School is a one-story hip-roofed building, typical of the two-classroom schoolhouses built in Prince George's County with assistance from the Julius Rosenwald Fund in the 1920s; a third classroom was added through the construction of a south wing some years after the original structure was opened. The building underwent a thorough and comprehensive restoration between 2009 and 2011, and was opened to the public as a museum and meeting place in September of 2011. The main block of the Ridgeley School reflects the characteristics of typical two-classroom Rosenwald school plans--a one-story building of wood frame construction, five bays by five, with hipped roof. Entrance is in the central bay of the five-bay north fa├žade; the three central bays project approximately two feet, creating a projecting vestibule which forms a recessed and sheltered entranceway into the building, accessed by a flight of concrete steps. A side door leads from the entranceway into each of the two original classrooms. This central projection; and 8/8 window, in the first and in the fifth bay, brings northern light into each of the classrooms. A later five-bay wing extends to the south, increasing the original two-classroom plan to provide a third classroom. The entire building is sheathed with new rectangular wood shingles, with natural finish, replicating the original siding of 1927. Original batteries of windows light the east and west side elevations of the main block, lighting the two original classrooms - a recognizable signature of Rosenwald school buildings. The battery of windows on each of the two elevations consists of five tall 12/12 double-hung sash, extending to the eaves. There is one 9/9 rear window in the south elevation of the main block, just west of the juncture with the south wing. A rear wing has been constructed, extending to the south from the south, rear elevation of the original building. In the east elevation of this south wing is a battery of five large windows, 9/9 double-hung sash, designed to complement the batteries of five windows in the main block. There is a door in the southernmost bay of this east elevation. Three small six-pane, single-sash windows light the west elevation of the wing, and there is a door in the first bay, allowing entrance to the wing from the west. The hip roof of the building has been newly covered with gray synthetic shingles. It has a deep overhang at the eaves, with narrow-board soffits. There are two tall slim brick chimneys in the main block, in the south plane of the roof; these chimneys served the original stoves located in the south interior corner of each of the original classrooms. There is an additional exterior brick chimney at the south elevation of the rear wing; immediately to the south of this is a low wooden enclosure which encloses the new HVAC system. The Ridgeley school building originally consisted of two large classrooms, separated by a central passage. Entrance to each of the classroom is through a door in each side wall of the north entranceway. The entranceway itself is flanked by two symmetrical cloakrooms, which fill the space of the projecting central bays; each cloak room is accessed directly from its classroom. The central passage is accessible from an interior door in each of the two classrooms. This central passage, originally used for home economics study, is presently used for display. The west classroom is set up to replicate a 1930s classroom with period desks, seats, and a teacher's desk. Significance: The Ridgeley School is significant as an example of a type of school building constructed with the assistance of the Julius Rosenwald Fund. One of four two-teacher, two-room schools constructed in Prince George's County in 1927, the Ridgeley School replaced the "colored hall" or "society hall" in which classes for Elementary students were formerly held.


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