Bigelow Rosenwald School

City/Town: Conway
Location Class: School
Year Built: 1926
Year Abandoned: N/A
Status: AbandonedNational Register of Historic Places
Photographer: Michael SchwarzJared Holt

2588aIn 1917, Julius Rosenwald, philanthropist and President of Sears Roebuck and Co. created a foundation to support education of African American youth. Rosenwald’s fund aided construction of over 5,000 school buildings across the South and over 300 schools in Arkansas. The Bigelow Rosenwald School was built in 1926, at the height of the Rosenwald Foundation’s activity in Arkansas. It was the only Rosenwald School constructed in Perry County and is one of less than twenty that survive statewide. The building was used as a school until 1964 and then as a community center for many years.

The building is threatened from lack of maintenance and lack of funds to preserve the building. Although it is easily recognizable as a Rosenwald School, the building’s large banks of windows have been replaced by much smaller windows.

Recently a board of directors was established to help restore the building. The group has consulted the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program (AHPP), seeking guidance on actions that are needed to preserve the building. Once the board establishes 501(c)(3) status, they will be eligible for grant funding. The Alliance hopes this listing will bring statewide attention and momentum to the efforts of the Rosenwald Community Cultural Center to preserve the Bigelow Rosenwald School!


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  7. Gail Woodard, I attended a Juneteenth 2015 event, an effort to give the Community an opportunity to come out and support rehah oh this historic building. Worked really hard, but enjoyed working with family and friends. So if you have an opportunity go on the Bigelow Rosenwald Community Cultural Center FB page and view the pictures, send us a donation, we need all the help we can get to make this a reality rather than a Dream.

  8. Wendell Ray Bertram on

    The Rosenwald schools were rich in both scope and history. The first school that I taught at was in South Florida in a town called South Bay that sat on the edge of Lake Ckeechobee…and it was called The Rosenwald Elementary School. Fascinating man, Rosenwald – he left behind a very far-reaching legacy.

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