Freetown Rosenwald School
Glen Burnie, Anne Arundel County
The Freetown Rosenwald School is located in a low-density residential community in northern Anne Arundel County, Maryland. It is a simple, one-story, gable-roofed, rectangular frame building, facing east on the south side of Freetown Road. In typical Rosenwald School fashion, it is a relatively plain building. The exterior walls are sheathed in aluminum siding and the gable roof is covered with asphalt shingles and displays minimal overhang. Cornice treatment consists of a plain verge board. An historic photograph depicts large banks of five 9/9 sash windows flanking the entrance, which is in the center of the long east facade. However, an entrance with a simple door now stands in the north gable end. Although these windows have been replaced with smaller 1/1 sash--two to the left of the entrance, and three to the right--the framing for the original window openings survives beneath the present aluminum siding, and the original window configuration may be inferred from the spacing and location of the current sash. The rear (west) wall originally contained two banks of five identical windows flanking a central doorway. Three smaller 1/1 sash windows are spaced across the area north of the door; a single window appears to the south of the door, with the remainder of the wall area occupied by a small shed-roofed addition housing toilet facilities. The interior of the building has been adapted for its present use as a community center. Original wall finishes and window framing survive behind the present paneling.
Built in 1924-25, the Freetown Rosenwald School achieves significance for its association with the school construction program of the Julius Rosenwald Fund, considered the most important advance in African-American education in the southern states prior to desegregation. A private foundation named for the Chicago entrepreneur who directed the booming growth of Sears, Roebuck & Company in the early 20th century, the Fund provided financial and technical assistance for the construction of schools to serve African American communities. Between 1917 and 1932 the Julius Rosenwald Fund assisted in the construction of 5,357 schools for African Americans in the rural South. Plans provided or approved by the Julius Rosenwald Fund were cost-efficient and easy to construct, yet remarkably emphasized health and safety concerns and embodied the latest ideas in educational building design. A total of 292 Rosenwald Schools were built in Maryland, 23 of which were erected in Anne Arundel County. Freetown is one of ten Rosenwald Schools surviving in Anne Arundel County, and represents an adaptation of the Rosenwald Fund "Two-Room Shop -- B" plan.