Monday, February 1, 2016

Into the Woods: the Kiln Colored School, Kiln, Mississippi

Before a recent trip to the Mississippi Gulf coast, I checked the Mississippi Heritage Trust's list of most endangered sites. The Jourdan River School, formerly Kiln Colored School, was on the 2015 list and was easy to reach by driving north from Waveland.
The building is in the woods just east of Mississippi 603, north of the junction of 603 and the Kiln-Delisle Road. At first, I did not know where to look, but the town's dispatcher pointed out where to stop the car and look through the trees. According to the Heritage Trust, loggers uncovered the school when they were cutting timber. Although the site was cleared, brambles and weeds are growing rampant. I predict that after one more growing season, you will be unable to reach the school unless someone clears a path with a bush hog.
The building's roof is reasonably intact, but some of the floor has rotted and boards are missing. In the photograph above, the chimney shows flues where a wood or coal stove likely stood.
I hope someone can raise funds to preserve this piece of Mississippi history. The following is from the Heritage Trust:

Mississippi Landmark Information
Book/Vol. No.:2014/8152
From Mississippi Landmark Significance Report, June 10, 2014: The Jourdan River School is locally significant for association with Education as the only remaining rural African American school in Hancock County. The only other surviving African American school, Valena C. Jones School in Bay St. Louis is a much larger Equalization-period building and represents a more urban consolidated school than Jourdan River School. Although the 1927 deed to this property refers to the “Trustees of Rosenwald School of Kiln, Mississippi” there is no evidence that this building was ever a Rosenwald school. Only one school in Hancock County (Logtown, 1921--demolished) received Rosenwald funding.

Photographs taken with a Fuji X-E1 digital camera using Fuji 27mm and 14mm lenses. RAW files processed in PhotoNinja software.

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