Lee-Buckner, Historic Rosenwald School, Moving to Franklin Grove on February 2nd for Restoration and Permanent Preservation
Heritage Foundation of Williamson County saves county’s last remaining Rosenwald School;
Rosenwald Schools were built to educate Black children in the South in the early 20th century
FRANKLIN, TENN. – After many years of planning, coordination, and care, Lee-Buckner, the last remaining Rosenwald School in Williamson County, will be moved on February 2 from its current location in Spring Hill, Tennessee, to the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County’s Franklin Grove Estate & Gardens in downtown Franklin, Tennessee, to be restored, preserved, and transformed into an accessible and lasting monument to education and Black history.
“We learned about Lee-Buckner in 2018, and immediately knew we had to do everything possible to save this remarkable piece of history. Now it can become a destination that’s easily accessible to the public so generations to come can learn from it,” said Bari Beasley, President and CEO of the Heritage Foundation. “Over the years, I have frequently been moved to tears hearing testimonials from former students about how this school changed their lives. I can’t wait for the schoolhouse to become part of our community, and for stories about this historic cultural destination to be heard by audiences across the country.”
The Rosenwald School project built more than 5,000 schools, shops, and teacher homes in the United States during the early 20th century, primarily for the education of Black children in the rural South. Many of those properties have been demolished over the years, however, and today, about 60 former Rosenwald Schools are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
“I’m so thankful to the Heritage Foundation for working so hard to get this school. It’s going to be here at Franklin Grove, and I’m so excited. Thank you to all of you who made this happen,” said Georgia Harris, a former student of Lee-Buckner, at the November 2023 groundbreaking for Franklin Grove.
The Heritage Foundation has been preparing for many years to move Lee-Buckner, working with former students, Black community leaders, historians, preservationists, architects, and engineers to capture oral histories, stabilize the building, and plan for its restoration. The school will become a permanent part of Franklin Grove in downtown Franklin, Tennessee, an emerging landmark cultural site that will create a sense of place, timelessness, and beauty for all people to engage with education, art, history, and nature.
The historic schoolhouse will be moved carefully in the early-morning hours of February 2nd, delivered to its new home by tractor-trailer. The Heritage Foundation has arranged for a former student to ride with the schoolhouse to its new home in a symbolic and transformative moment for Williamson County.
The Heritage Foundation of Williamson County has coordinated with local and state municipalities to limit the impact on traffic during the early morning move.
For more information on Lee-Buckner, visit: https://williamsonheritage.org/portfolio-posts/lee-buckner-schoolhouse/
ABOUT THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION OF WILLIAMSON COUNTY
Since 1967, the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County has been dedicated to preserving Williamson County’s architectural, geographic and cultural heritage as well as promoting the ongoing revitalization of downtown Franklin in the context of historic preservation. Notable projects include The Franklin Theatre, Roper’s Knob, parts of the Franklin battlefield and the Old, Old Jail. Events and festivals produced by the Heritage Foundation such as Main Street Festival, the Heritage Ball, PumpkinFest and Dickens of a Christmas bring an estimated 300,000+ locals and visitors to downtown Franklin each year that creates more than a $10 million economic impact annually. The Heritage Foundation owns and operates The Franklin Theatre, Downtown Franklin Association, Franklin Grove Estate & Gardens, and its newest historic adaptive reuse project: The Moore-Morris History & Culture Center of Williamson County. For more information about the Heritage Foundation, visit www.williamsonheritage.org.