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Mt. Laurel School, Cemetery or Church Rust is Winning

by | Aug 6, 2023 | Church, School | 0 comments


We were on our way to take a look at Woodbourne Road, a building that we had photographed about 3 years ago, and we drove past this beauty, adjacent to the Bethel Grove Baptist Church cemetery. I don’t think this building started life as a church, and I looked up the details from Halifax County, and the legal description of the property is (Mt. Laurel School Property COLORED). That makes me think that this school was built for African American children of the area, about one hundred and twenty years ago.

I have to think that it was originally built as a school because the big brick Bethel Grove Baptist Church a half mile down the road shows that the land was purchased in 1900. While this building’s records show it was last purchased in 1986 by the “Bethel Grove Baptist Church,” why was it purchased? Maybe to alleviate the crowded cemetery at the church. I may have to attend a service there and see what I can find out.

The Mt. Laurel School Building

The layout of the building threw me for a while because I was thinking church. It would have only had four or five wide rows. When I look harder at the pictures I took, I see the locations of the old chalkboards, and that lovely green paint. I can visualize desks configured to support multiple grades.

The building looks like it may have been built-in stages, where the rear was the original one-room schoolhouse, and then the central section was added, maybe in two stages. Then the front mudroom was that last step in constructio.

The Future of Mt. Laurel School

I really do not think there is a long future for this building, all the windows are gone, the roof is leaking in several areas, and you can see sunlight through the roof in several places, and the floor is starting to show signs of rot.