The Oak Grove Church and School sit at the end of a dirt road in Prairieville, Alabama. The school was built in 1925 for the local Black community. Built as a two-teacher school at the cost of $3000, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1998.
This Carpenter Gothic church is located in Prairieville, Alabama. The congregation of St. Andrews Episcopal Church was founded in 1834. Enslaved laborers built this incredible church in 1856. These builders were loaned to the church by members who were slaveholders.
The cemetery contains a significant amount of ironwork and fencing. Many posts featured common symbols found in a cemetery. The upside-down torch represents a life that has ended or snuffed out. The arrows represent mortality. If you look closely at the road, you will see three leaves, and that represents the Holy Trinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Outside of Carlton, Alabama, Mt. Nebo Baptist Church’s cemetery contains death masks created by Isaac Nettles. Nettles created these masks by making molds of the subjects’ faces while they were still alive, which is different than the traditional death mask which are made after someone passes. The three person marker represents Isaac and Cora’s three daughters, and it rests atop Cora’s grave. There are two other markers made by Nettles. These are deteriorating quickly. In 2020, Hurricane Sally caused significant damage to the masks. These are incredible pieces of folk art. At one point, there were four death masks. One was made for Isaac’s mother Selena/Celina. It was damaged by Hurricane Frederick in 1979. The markers were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2000.
The front facade of the Leighton County Training School sits just off the edge of town in Leighton, Alabama. It was a five-teacher type school built by Rosenwald funds. Built in 1928 for $10950, it served the Black community until 1970. It closed and reopened as the local middle school. It stayed open until 1994.
Singer Percy Sledge is a graduate. It’s on the Alabama Historical Register.
In 1919, Anthony Townsend donated 3 acres of land to start this Rosenwald School in the county. The architect was W.A. Hazel. It remained open until 1967 once integration happened. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2001. It is the last known Rosenwald still standing in the county.
Built in 1923, the Tankersley School is a two-teacher type Rosenwald school located in Hope Hull, Alabama. It was one of fourteen Rosenwald schools built in Montgomery County. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.
Built in 1920, the Merritt School is a two-teacher type Rosenwald school built in Midway, Alabama. It originally cost $2600 to build on land donated by a local citizen. The school expanded twice in the early 20th Century. It was put on the National Register of Historic Places in 1998.
Built in 1916, the New Hope School was built in Chambers County, Alabama. It’s a one-teacher type school and was built with $1200. The school was recently restored. It was in use until 1958, four years after Brown v. Board of Education was decided.
If you were a fan of S-Town, you likely wondered about the final resting place for John B. McElmore. I visited a few years ago and was impressed with the handmade headstone. I believe this was made by Tyler Goodson. He rests in the cemetery behind Green Pond Presbyterian Church in Bibb County.