Harrington School House Renovation Project Updates

Why Start at the Top?

Why Start at the Top? Restoration is not the same as re-building. You must stop the deterioration so you can save, or preserve, as much of the original structure as possible. The original materials and methods -- even with age -- are what give the structure its character, its uniqueness and its historical personality. It reminds the students of the place where they studied. It lets you, a visitor, know that this is a special place. That special place must stay dry so we started at the Harrington Graded School by replacing the damaged roof to stop rain and debris from entering the schoolhouse.

  • Now that we have a roof over our heads – so to speak
    we can begin work on the rest of the schoolhouse:
      [  ] - Shoring up the foundation and brick piers
      [  ] - Repairing termite damaged walls
      [  ] - Replacing historic windows and “breeze windows”
      [  ] - Repairing doors
      [  ] - Returning chairs, desks, blackboards, pot bellied stove, and vintage piano
      [  ] - Recalling the stories, songs, and lessons taught in this one room schoolhouse
  • We can proceed only with your help.

    OUR MISSION is to open the school in September 2013 as a museum and historic site about our island’s Gullah Geechee heritage and a community center and focal point for the 13-acre Harrington Community Park.

    We can succeed thanks to your support. OUR GOAL: $ 325,000

    For more information on how you can help, go to www.ssiheritagecoalition.org, or call us at 912-634-0330.

    The Friends of Harrington School, Inc, is 501-c-3 nonprofit organization and your donations are tax-deductible.

    What's Really Behind Those Old Walls?

    Harrington Schoolhouse Project Update
    Amy Roberts, Ex. Dir, St. Simons African American Heritage Coalition
    Greg Jacobs, Project Manager, Tidewater Preservation
    Mrs. Isadora Hunter, former student who donated land to preserve the schoolhouse
    Scott McQuade, President and CEO of Golden Isles Convention and Visitors Bureau
    Patty Deveau, President, the Friends of Harrington School, Inc.

    On Thursday, December 13, 2012 supporters of the historic Harrington Graded School on St. Simons Island, GA had a chance to see for themselves what's really behind the old walls and under the floorboards of the old schoolhouse when the general contractor Tidewater Preservation (www.tidewaterpreservation,com) conducted investigations to determine exactly what it will take to restore the historic building. Project Manager Greg Jacobs answered questions about the materials and techniques that the African American tradesmen used in the 1920s to build this one room schoolhouse, and about the work his firm will do to restore the building.

    "As historic preservation contractors we have a good sense of what went into constructing this building, but until you pull away a board or two you really do not know the exact techniques and craftsmanship which we will need to replicate as part of our restoration," pointed out Jacobs.

    Once Tidewater completed their investigations on the 13th, they provided the Friends of Harrington School and the St. Simons African American Heritage Coalition with a final cost estimate for the overall restoration ($325,000). "Until we knew the exact overall cost, we were limited in approaching major funders. Our grassroots supporters have been terrific and their support will continue, but to get the job done more cost-effectively and more efficiently by September 2013 we need to also secure major donations," stated Patty Deveau, President of the Friends of Harrington School.