It’s the last African American school on St. Simons Island. Built in 1925, the two-room Harrington School has made the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation’s 2011 List of ’10 Places in Peril’. The list was released today.
The building formerly served as a grade school from the 1920s until its desegregation in the 1960s. It was later converted to a daycare facility until the 1970s.
Despite being purchased by the Glynn County and St. Simons Land Trust as part of a 12-acre park, the school building has fallen into disrepair through the years. Last fall, Glynn County declared the building beyond repair and placed its demolition on their 2010 agenda. Plans for demolition were tabled after supporters obtained a second opinion by preservationists that the building’s foundations were solid and restoration was possible.
Writer Terry Dickson reported the plans back in June:
The St. Simons Land Trust is preserving the land around the school and had intended to tear down Harrington School, preserve its foundation and establish a “ghost structure,” that would explain the school’s history and heritage.
That wasn’t enough for the former students and others who think keeping the building intact is the best way to tell the story.
Many would see the long gone conditions from the days of segregation as a privation. But the adults who should have had better as children still have a special fondness for the playgrounds where they skinned their knees and stubbed their toes, the classrooms where they took their spelling tests and the corners where their rowdy classmates stood.
They just want to have a place to fill with their memories.