The Cape Charles Rosenwald School in Northampton County was one of thousands of schools constructed using Rosenwald Funds for African American students in the South during the Jim Crow era of segregation in public education. Built in 1929, the school building follows the “four-teacher” with auditorium standard plan developed by architect Samuel L. Smith, a director of the Rosenwald Fund, with some customization by the Virginia Department of Education’s Division of School Buildings. Since the Rosenwald Fund covered only a small portion of construction costs, the school was built primarily using public funds from the state Literary Fund, the Town of Cape Charles, and a community organization. A one-story building of masonry construction, the Cape Charles Rosenwald School features banks of large windows – a noted feature of Rosenwald schools – installed to provide ample natural light and ventilation. Save for the removal of walls that divided the two classrooms at each end of the building’s main block, the school’s interior remains largely intact. As was typical of schools for Black children during segregation, grades were combined in classrooms at the Cape Charles school with each teacher instructing students of two grade levels simultaneously. The building initially had no plumbing; there was a privy and a water pump on the grounds. The school closed in 1966 after the county began consolidating its schools. The building was sold in 1968 to George W. J. Robberecht, and the next year it was passed to George Robberecht Seafood Incorporated and used as a seafood processing plant in subsequent years. Cape Charles Rosenwald School Restoration, Inc., bought the property in 2018.
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VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark