By Barney Blakeney
June 15, residents of the Snowden community and others took a nostalgic walk through Long Point Road School at its original location for the last time. Sometime over the next 30 days the building where children from that community attended school until 1953 will be moved to the site of the Snowden Community Center on William Ladson Road in the Snowden community where it will be renovated for use as a cultural center.
Former students, representatives from the Town of Mount Pleasant, the College of Charleston, Charleston County School Board, Mount Pleasant Historic Commission, the African American Settlement Community Historic Commission, Snowden residents and others shared the experience. And they shared knowledge of preserving this piece of history.
Mount Pleasant Town Councilman Gary Santos said “An important part of any community is remembering where we came from.” Henry Brown and his wife Caroline spoke of their memories of the schoolhouse that provided an education for African Americans who were not allowed to attend the area’s once segregated schools. They met there and eventually got married. They recalled the names of some of their teachers – Ms. Ladson, Ms. Jamison, Ms. Bryan, Ms. Summerset, Ms. McKnight.
Long Point Road School, originally one room before a second was added later, was built in the early 1900s and served the area until Jennie Moore Elementary School opened in 1953. Grant Gilmore, Director of the College of Charleston’s Historic Preservation Program along with a team from the college, documented aspects of the school to help understand the technology used to build it. The technology can be traced back to the 18th century. The addition to the structure probably was made in the 1940s. A lumber yard that existed until after WWII, once was nearby and probably provided some of the lumber used to build the school.
Former Mount Pleasant Town Councilwoman and African American Settlement Community Historic Commission board member Thomasina Stokes-Marshall attended Long Point. She emphasized it is the only African American school from that era remaining east of the cooper.
After a developer purchased the property where the schoolhouse is located, several partners began negotiating to save and relocate it. Those partners included the seller, the developer and the Snowden Community Civic Association. Each contributed to the $28,000 cost of relocating the building. The cost to renovate the structure for its intended purpose, a cultural center, is estimated at over $200,000. Donations can be made to SCCA, P.O. Box 1659, Mt. Pleasant, SC 29465.
The AAHSC in conjunction with The Citadel will facilitate oral presentations about Long Point Road School 10 a.m. July 30 at the Snowden Community Center located 685 William Ladson Rd. in the Snowden community.