A report by a local news station in West Tennessee about a group of alumni from a Rosenwald School in Trenton, Tennessee caught our eye recently, and not just because our crew visited the state (to film at the Cairo Rosenwald School and to do research at Fisk University Special Collections) just last week. Our visit was a great success and will be the subject an upcoming blog post.
According to the report by WBBJ ABC 7, the alumni group has pushed for their alma mater, the Trenton Rosenwald School, to be included on the National Register of Historic Places for over a year. Although the story doesn’t explain why they have as yet been unsuccessful in their campaign for recognition from Tennessee’s Historic Preservation Office, it may be that they have hit a snag on the “integrity” portion of the National Register’s evaluation criteria. In order to be registered, a property should closely resemble its appearance during its period of significance. Judging between Google’s Street View of the property and two historical photographs, (one from Fisk University’s Rosenwald School database and one from the Tennessee State Archives website), its facade appears to be have been substantially altered some time since its construction in the late 1920s.
If anyone has more information about the alumni group’s efforts, please post a comment on our blog. Best of luck to the group in their campaign, as we know recognition of Rosenwald Schools on the National Register can both raise awareness about a community’s history and build momentum to preserve increasingly rare historic treasures.