Buildings and Places

Sykesville's Old Colored Schoolhouse

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518 Schoolhouse Rd, Sykesville, MD 21784, USA

Where is it?
Who built it?
When?
Schoolhouse Road, Sykesville
unknown
1904

About

Renovated in recent times and turned into a small museum and teaching space, the schoolhouse opened for African American children in 1904 and operated as a one-room schoolhouse till 1938. Much of the school's history is recounted in the book "In Carrie's Footprints, The Long Walk of Warren Dorsey," written by Jack McBride White. You can also read about the schoolhouse in "Sykesville Stories, Volume 1." Both books tell the tale of the school and the black families that struggled up Oklahoma Hill in the shadow of white Sykesville.


The following bulleted facts about the school come from the town website.

  • June 1903: Two “colored” men approach the Board of Education to construct a school in Sykesville

  • July 1903: Asa Hepner sells just under 1 acre of ground with use of the well pump to the Carroll County Board of Education for $134

  • October 1903: Second-hand desks from the Detour “white” school are shipped to Sykesville

  • December 1903: Commissioner DeVries orders $530.50 be paid to the builder

  • January 4, 1904: This Monday was the first day of classes at the Sykesville “Colored” School

  • November 1904: Carroll and Howard Counties reduced the cost of out-of-county school permits for “colored” pupils to $2 per term

  • October 1916: George Selby installs a new “iron” roof for $99.38. During 1916-1917, 32 pupils were enrolled

  • February 1920 to April 1921: The County contributes $20 for library and supplies plus $25 donated by the local community

  • August 1928: The Board matches the $10 raised locally to buy a Victrola for the school

  • May 1938: The County approves a consolidation plan for the county’s “colored” schools; Gladys Sheppard is the last teacher at Sykesville

  • May to July 1939: The County votes to sell the  Sykesville School; it is auctioned on July 5, sold for $100. The  building is converted to a residence

After the school closed in 1938, the family of Earl Norris moved in and lived there for nearly 30 years. You can read about Hank Norris, the first person born in the schoolhouse, in volume 1 of Sykesville Stories.


Since its renovation, local resident and former teacher Pat Greenwald has dedicated herself to running the schoolhouse.