Rosenwald Hall

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City/Town:
Location Class:
Year Built: 1921 | Year Abandoned: Late 1980's
Historic Designation: National Register of Historic Places (1984) African American Heritage Site
Status: Abandoned
Photojournalist: Jennifer BurtonLeslie Flaming

The town of Lima, Oklahoma is one of just thirteen historically all-Black towns existing in the state. Named after the local limestone quarries it was incorporated in 1913. Constructed in 1921 by Weathers and Company Architects and Builder J. Smith was the Rosenwald Hall Elementary School. During the early 1900s, educational opportunities for African American schoolchildren were stifled by racism, a shortage of money, and inadequate facilities. Around 1915, Black schools throughout the south received much needed financial assistance from the Julius Rosenwald Fund.

Julius Rosenwald (1862-1932), was a prominent businessman and philanthropist with a net worth of $80 million back then. In 1917 he established the Julius Rosenwald Fund to which he used to donate millions of dollars to fund African American schools throughout the south. In total, the Julius Rosenwald Fund donated $4 million in matching funds to aid in the construction of nearly 5,000 schools that would be known as the Rosenwald Schools. The Rosenwald school building program ended in Oklahoma and nationally in 1932. Of the Rosenwald Schools constructed in all-Black towns in Oklahoma, this is the only one remaining.

Rosenwald Hall is a rectangular red-brick building with white clapboard sections. The brick building served as the elementary school, educating students through the eighth grade. It was an active school until 1966 when schools were desegregating and consolidating causing many rural schools to close. But the small town repurposed the facility as a daycare center until 1985 and after that as the town hall. It has been listed on the Preserve Oklahomas endangered list multiple times. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as of August 23, 1984.

Article by AOK Photojournalists Emily Cowan and Jennifer Burton.

Gallery Below




Bibliography

https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry.php?entry=LI003&l=

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julius_Rosenwald#Philanthropy

http://nr2_shpo.okstate.edu/QueryResult.aspx?id=84003427

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Ken
Ken
10 years ago

Beautiful! Love the Compuer in the firt picture,

Patricia
1 year ago

They now built New Lima. I’ve always wanted to go into the original one! I used to attend New Lima about 3 years ago. I was there my whole school life. From Kindergarten until two weeks of my freshman year.

Kara
Kara
5 years ago

Does anyone know who owns this place? I am looking to open a school and would love to bring this place back to life.

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5 years ago

Education is not about the biggest thing and to do biggest things in our life. But it is all about to learn the small things in our life and to seek lessons from our small learning. As the beauty of life is in small things.

Eddie Taylor
Eddie Taylor
7 years ago

does anyone know about rosenwald schools in and around Boynton, Oklahoma?

Tim Gibbs
9 years ago

Does anyone have Pics of the Old Lima School Before the fire? if so can you send them to gravehunter_1973@yahoo.com 🙂

Thanks Timmy Gibbs

guest
guest
9 years ago

Great Pictures…..would love to explore this old site…..

elizabeth
elizabeth
9 years ago

Im a local Photographer and Love to Photograph old , abandonded buildings as well… How are you guys able to photograph so many places.. Thanks so much!! osufangirl@yahoo.com

kenneth brooks(joe)
kenneth brooks(joe)
9 years ago

need to see photos of main building building #1

Beth
Beth
10 years ago

Why do they not just restore it or tear it down? I would rather see it restored but it seems that no one is stepping up to the plate. There are so many places like this all over the country and I don't understand why they are just left.

John
John
10 years ago

My friends and I tried to visit…no luck. The entire place is fenced for cattle to roam. Wish we could have taken more photographs.

Patricia
Reply to  John
1 year ago

You can go now, the fence should be down

Tery
Tery
10 years ago

A good job on the photos.I love the color contrast of the red brick and deep blue sky….it's a shame such an old historic and stout building has been left to sit and go to ruins!! Take care—Tery

amanda
amanda
10 years ago

glad you like the pictures!

Lazzaro
Lazzaro
10 years ago

Man, I really enjoy this site. You guys prowl some facinating places.

Keep it up, please!

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