The community celebrated the completion of renovations on the Acworth Rosenwald School Community Center in May at a reopening ribbon cutting and open house hosted by the city of Acworth.
Built on School Street in 1924, the school was one of numerous Rosenwald Schools, part of a partnership between Julius Rosenwald of Sears, Roebuck and Co. and Booker T. Washington that brought schoolhouses to children in Black communities across the segregated South in the early 1900s. Rosenwald required communities that wanted a school to match the funds, so Acworth’s Black community contributed $700 toward the cost. Rosenwald matched the $700, and the Cobb County Board of Education (CCBOE) provided $1,850.
The building was slated for demolition by the CCBOE in 1948. Dismantled by volunteers, each timber and board was numbered, the nails were removed and straightened, and roofing shingles were stacked and stored. In 1953, the Community House, as it was known to residents, was rebuilt on Cherokee Street, where it stands today. The school is used as a community center and has played a vital role in the Parkside District in this capacity.
In the early 2000s, Cobb Landmarks was awarded a grant through the Lowe’s Foundation and the National Trust for Historic Preservation to make much-needed repairs to the aging structure.
Acworth’s recent top-to-bottom renovations, made possible by a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) from Cobb County, included structural improvements to the flooring and roof, removing drywall to expose the facility’s original beadboard and repairing the original windows. Restrooms and a catering kitchen also were reconfigured and updated.
Speaking at the May 9 ribbon-cutting event were Mayor Tommy Allegood, Frank Johnson Jr. from Zion Hill Baptist Church, Kimberly Roberts from the Cobb County CDBG Program, Trevor Beemon from Cobb Landmarks, Cobb Commission Chairwoman Lisa Cupid and Acworth Alderman Tim Houston.
Two weeks later, Cobb Landmarks announced the city was a 2023 Preservation Award recipient and congratulated officials for “faithfully maintaining and renovating this important landmark.”
For more information on the Acworth Rosenwald School and renting the facility, visit www.acworthparksandrecreation.org.
– By Taylor Aubrey