Preservation New Jersey takes a look at the recently-finished effort to preserve theFranklin Street School in Cape May. The article is worthwhile reading. Here's a portion:
Designed in the Colonial Revival Style by the architectural firm of Edwards and Green of Philadelphia and Camden, the Franklin Street School opened in September 1928 as an elementary school for Cape May’s African-American children.Read the whole thing.
The school was converted to an annex for Cape May City High School after segregation in New Jersey’s public schools was banned in 1947. It was used as a municipal storage area for some time, and through the years, fell into a state of disrepair. Advocacy efforts by the Center for Community Arts (CCA), a multicultural arts and humanities education association, led to the school’s designation as an African-American Historic Site by the state of New Jersey. The Franklin Street School was also distinguished as a contributing building within the Cape May National Register Historic District in 1995 for its significance to local African-American history.
In January 2002, CCA took their recognition of the importance of the Franklin Street School to Cape May’s history a step further, signing a 25-year lease for the school building with the City of Cape May. Currently, the Center is working with the city to rehabilitate the school for use as a community cultural center and the focal point for African-American heritage tours of the area. Funding from grants and various organizations will assist CCA in their vision to create a permanent educational center, housed in one of Cape May’s most significant historic landmarks.
Photo of entrance to Franklin Street School Courtesy African American Heritage Preservation Network.