1 of the last standing single-room schools in NC to be restored, preserved

FAIRMONT, N.C. (WBTW) – It may be hard for many of us to fathom a school with only one room to fit grades first through eighth, but 100 years ago, that’s all most places had.

One of the last standing one-room school buildings in the state is in Fairmont, North Carolina and community members are working to preserve the piece of history.

It’s what many call a treasure hidden in the woods.

It was known as the Yellowhammer School, and for now, it stands abandoned.

Charles Kemp says he and his committee are working to change that and restore the old one room school to how it looked over 100 years ago.

“People will come in and view it and say wow this is what a one room school used to look like,” said Kemp.

Construction has already started here with crews coming in to clear a pathway for the school.

The committee is ready to move forward with the next phase of the project, they’re just waiting on one thing.

“We have to figure out how much it’s going to cost to fix the building and then what we’ll do is raise money, as we always have to do. There’s no free money. You have to go out and get it,” said Kemp.

Kemp says next they plan to clear out an area for a parking lot so visitors can come in, tour the building, and take a history lesson home.

“You got most kids today they walk into an air conditioned classroom, they’ve got smart boards and quality teachers, and high-tech audio visual stuff. I don’t think any student living today understands the concept of grades one through eight all sitting in the same room around a potbellied stove,” said Kemp.

Kemp says he doesn’t know when the project will be completely finished, but they’re looking to the public to donate supplies and help with the costs.

“I can’t tell you how much this building cost when it was first built, I can’t tell you who built it. I just know it’s been sitting here since 1948 sitting by itself all lonesome and pitiful in the woods and now we going to give it some company,” said Kemp.

Kemp says the committee will meet on the thirteenth of October to talk about fundraising efforts.

“We’re caught kind of between a rock and a hard place we either go with grants and try to find those historic type things, which cost three times what normal nails and normal wood would be, or we go out in the community and say ‘you got any old wood from an old torn down barn or a warehouse, and they say sure come get this pile in my backyard’,” said Kemp.

If you have donations you’d like to make to the Yellowhammer School Project, contact Charles Kemp with the Borderbelt Farmer’s Museum at (910) 740-0277.

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