Leonardtown, MD – During a recent field trip to the Drayden African American Schoolhouse by 9th and 10th grade Kings Christian Academy students, Dr. Janice Walthour provided the group an arithmetic lesson. The Schoolhouse is one of the few surviving one-room school buildings in St. Mary’s County and one of the best preserved African-American schoolhouses in the United States.
Unlike most schoolhouses of this kind, it still occupies its original site and remains significantly unaltered. The school served the African-American community in Drayden for more than 50 years, closing its doors for the last time in 1944. The structure was nearly lost with the passage of time, but the school survived and was given to the county in September 2000.
After being stabilized, work to restore the historic school began in 2015 and was completed earlier this year, thanks to the work of Don Cropp. The St. Mary’s County Historic Preservation Commission presented Mr. Cropp with an award on May 15 for his efforts. The schoolhouse is open to the public on the first Saturday of each month and on other days by appointment.
For more information about the Drayden African American Schoolhouse, call the Piney Point Lighthouse Museum and Historic Park at 301-994-1471.