An interesting item in today’s mail: one of Alabama’s Top 10 endangered historical sites list a number of schools – a result of cities closing older buildings and opening new ones.
According to a report from the Alabama Historical Commission, the Birmingham Board of Education recently closed, or proposed to close, 28 older schools. Many are eligible for the National Register and are landmarks within their neighborhoods. Not all schools can be saved, the commission states. Members are asking city officials to identify the most significant buildings and devise a citywide plan to adapt them for new uses.
Among the buildings classified as “endangered” are: Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church and Community Day School in Hamburg, Wilcox County and the Barton Academy in Mobile.
The Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church and Community Day School was built in 1912 to be the only African American Baptist congregation in the area. It is still important for its architectural features such as original siding, retained cornices and unusual wood paneling.
Mobile’s Barton Academy building is the state’s first public school and remains one of the state’s finest example of Greek Revival architecture. It is one of the nation’s oldest school buildings which is why local advocates want to give it a second life as an arts magnate school.
You can learn more about the Alabama Historical Commission by contacting John Green, editor of the report, at Jgreene@preserveala.org.