The Riverside African-American School in Elkins began in 1906 as a simple one floor brick building. In 1925, a second floor was added.
What makes this building highly significant is its history as the educational forum for the Black and Native American populations of Randolph County and surrounding areas for five decades.
The school closed with desegregation in 1954. The building was later used as a storage facility and repair shop for school buses.
The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2009. The school building is currently owned by Big Timber Brewing Company who is working with Woodlands Development Group to turn the space into an archive or interpretive space.
Fifty-five years of neglect have taken their toll. Water intrusion has caused severe structural deterioration to Riverside’s interior walls, floors, windows, and roofing system.
School alumni and a dedicated team of volunteers are working to purchase and rehabilitate the building as a new “Riverside African-American Heritage Center” to serve the local community.
As of the last update in 2016, the Riverside School Association stabilized the structure and partially rehabbed the school several years ago. Restoration fundraising events, such as the Riverside Blues Festival, were held at the school annually.
However, no further progress has been made since 2014, when the Association dissolved. No attempts to regroup have been made, and the building currently remains vacant.
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