History

Julius-Rosenwald380

Mr. Julius Rosenwald

The history of the Woodville School involves the Gloucester community during the 1920’s and the Chairman of Sears and Roebuck Company, Mr. Julius Rosenwald. During this period in the Southern United States, public education was difficult for all and extremely difficult for African-Americans. Mr. Rosenwald pledged to assist in the building of schools to provide an educational opportunity for Southern blacks. Communities were required to raise one-half of the cost of construction, after which Mr. Rosenwald would contribute the balance. These schools became known as Rosenwald Schools. Plans for Rosenwald Schools ranged from 1 teacher to 7 teacher schools, depending on the need of the community.  Each school was built east-west or north-south, allowing for optimal sunlight as there was no electricity.  Originally, there were 6 Rosenwald Schools in Gloucester County; the Woodville School was built in 1924 and is the lone remaining Rosenwald School in the County.  Woodville School was a two teacher, east-west school, with an industrial room on the front of the building and privies to the side.  The publication Community School Plans is a complete and comprehensive guide to the architecture and landscape of all Rosenwald Schools. In 1942, George W. Marshall, a real estate speculator, purchased the School from the Gloucester County School Board for $450 by order of a Chancery Court.  Mr. Marshall sold the property to James and Edith Stubbs in 1943.  It served as their residence until 2001, when thei children and relatives sold the property to Mr. David Peebles in October of that year.  In 2003 it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. In order to insure that this historic asset remains a part of Mr. Walker’s legacy and Gloucester County’s history, the Economic Development Authority acquired the Woodville School from Mr. Peebles in July, 2012. In understanding the required dedication and funding required to preserve the Woodville/Rosenwald School, citizens from Gloucester and other communities were asked to serve on a foundation in support of this cause. The representation on the committee is comprised of talented and community-minded members from Gloucester, Newport News and Hampton.  The T.C. Walker and Woodville/Rosenwald School Foundation was organized on May 7, 2012.