Sponsored by The Woodson Center
To recognize the Cape Charles Rosenwald School legacy and offer experiences that engage and enrich the community, promote cultural awareness and understanding, and support self-sufficiency and economic mobility. historic places 501c3 non profit organization
The town of Cape Charles, VA has an important piece of history within its boundaries: the Cape Charles Rosenwald School. Originally named Cape Charles Elementary, the school was affectionately called “the school over the hump” by its students because of its location just outside of town. It was built in 1928 as part of a movement inspired by a partnership between Jewish philanthropist, Julius Rosenwald, and education pioneer, Booker T. Washington, to educate African-American children during legalized segregation. Over 5,000 "Rosenwald Schools" were constructed in the rural south. Incorporating state-of-the-art elements of school design, our brick school had four class-rooms, an auditorium and office and was staffed by 3 teachers and a principal/teacher. It taught children in grades 1-7 and served as an important part of local African-American life for many years. The school closed in 1966, and the property was converted to a seafood processing plant that closed in 1977. The building has been sitting vacant for 42 years. Despite neglect, the building maintains a great deal of its historic integrity. historic places
Virginia Humanities funded the publication of a booklet documenting the significance of the Cape Charles Rosenwald School. Click below to see it in its entirety.
The Cape Charles Rosenwald School Restoration Initiative (CCRSRI) was established in 2012 as an alliance of alumni, faculty, and friends working to preserve the history of the Cape Charles Elementary School. In January 2019, CCRSRI purchased the school! Now we are working to rehabilitate the building. As a Rosenwald School, it remains on Preservation Virginia’s Most endangered Historical Places list and is treasured for its brick facade, a rare design feature among Rosenwald schools.
CCRSRI developed a strategic plan for the future uses of the school. These include:
Workforce/Job Training Classrooms
Business Incubator Space
Meeting/Presentation/Performance/Special Event Space
Exhibit Area/Artifact Storage
Architectural plans and specifications have been funded and are underway! Partnerships are being explored. We have now started the process of raising funds to rehabilitate the surprisingly in tact building. CCRSRI is a 501c3 nonprofit organization. Donations are tax deductable.