State, NC city grant with help historic African-American school

CRAMERTON, N.C. (WJZY) – Inside the old Baltimore Village School, the time has stood still.

There are old desks, an old heater and refrigerator, and the sense of age in a nearly hundred-year-old building that’s no bigger than a home.

But for Fred Glenn, there are so many memories and a legacy.

“My mother and my aunt went to school here,” he said.

The school, built in the 1920s, was constructed for African-Americans who worked in the area during segregation.

Now, the school will live on with help from the town of Cramerton. Recently, town leaders learned that nearly $1 million in state grant funds would help the Gaston County town. Government officials say they play to use some of that money to assist in the school’s restoration.

Ford thinks the school’s history would help educate young and old.

“Could you imagine eight grades taught in one room by one teacher? Being able to get an education and make a life for yourself,” he said.

When the school closed in the 1950s, it became a type of theater and community center.

Over the years, the time has not been kind to the building. The paint and interior walls are rusted or peeling.

Recently, the 501(c)3 charity applied for a grant to spruce the school and its community.

“It’s the most significant grant the town of Cramerton has received,” said Cramerton Town Commissioner Houston Helms.

Already this year, the Historic Preservation Foundation of North Carolina helped the school’s backers with the Stedman Initiative Grant.

The plan is to use that money for community development, improvements, and renovations to the Baltimore Village School, which is considered a historic site. The group plans to turn the building into a museum — and a community center, once again.

The board said they are applying for more grants to help with the revitalization efforts. According to the school’s Facebook page, the school will have a tree in the upcoming holiday display at Belmont’s Stowe Park with an education theme in Belmont this season.

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by: Derek Drellinger,