Historic Black School in South Carolina Torn Down to Make Way for Affordable Housing

Allen School when it was relocated near Stone Avenue
Allen School when it was relocated near Stone Avenue

A historic Greenville school has been torn down, leading to a land deal that will allow a developer to build townhouses on the site and provide sites elsewhere for the construction of affordable housing.

Allen School was built off Stone Avenue east of the Church Street overpass in the 1930s.

Every black student in Greenville prior to 1936 attended classes at one of the locations of Allen School. Historian and former Furman professor Judy Bainbridge hopes people will remember the school and its significant place in history.

“It served people who desperately wanted to learn, who’d been denied the opportunity to learn and opened to them the whole world of reading and writing and arithmetic,” Bainbridge said. “Times change, buildings die, but blast it, we ought to be aware of it and make sure not everything from the past goes.”

Developer JJSC Enterprises, LLC will use the former Allen School property to build 31 townhomes, according to paperwork filed with the city.

The city of Greenville owned a lot adjacent to the school property. Paperwork indicated the property was donated to the city by the estate of Courtney Shives.

City officials worked out a land swap with the townhome developer. The city traded the adjacent half-acre lot for three properties elsewhere in the city. Those properties on Mt. Eustis Street in the Greenville-Spartanburg neighborhood, Woodfin Avenue in the Greater Sullivan neighborhood and Elder Street in Nicholtown.

Bainbridge said she had hoped Allen School would have become a museum.

“It was put up for sale in the 1970s for, I guess, $70,000? $77,000? And it sold for $800,000,” Bainbridge said. “You don’t make a museum out of an $800,000 building.”

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Source: WYFF | Aly Myles