A historic building was spared from severe damage after the Hinesville Fire Department quickly responded and extinguished a small fire at the structure known as Coastal Academy, the former home of the historic Hineshaw School.
The fire, which was reported before noon Sunday, did damage one wing of the school according to HFP Public Information Officer Alex Mason.
Mason said crews arrived at the school located on Shipman Avenue and found an area of light smoke.
Mason said the fire was quickly extinguished using less than 100 gallons of water. A search of the property was conducted and no one was found inside the building. No injuries were reported and the fire is currently under investigation.
The Hineshaw Rosenwald School is located in a section of the city that was the first area within the city limits, near Rebecca Street and Shipman Avenue, where African-Americans were allowed to purchase land and homes.
According to a previous Courier report, data from the 1920 U.S. Census recorded that the community consisted of landowners and laborers in the turpentine and logging industries. The community also had a few teachers, a store, barbershop, masonic hall and several churches.
Construction on what was called the Hinesville Shaw School, began in 1930 and was completed in 1931. The construction was a collaborative effort between Julius Rosenwald and Booker T. Washington and Tuskegee Institute students, who together set out to construct approximately 3,500 schools throughout Georgia and the south.
Rosenwald was an American Businessman and Philanthropist who donated millions of dollars in matching fund to help educate African American children in the rural south.
The site of the current facility was sold to the Liberty County Board of Education for $100.00 by the Trustees of Hinesville Colored Schools of the State of Georgia. These Trustees consisted of Alonzo Simpson, J. H. Gause, and Robert Duggan. Property boarding the Hineshaw Campus was sold by Rebecca Hargrove Shipman to the City of Hinesville for street access to Hineshaw for $1.00. Her name is made significant by streets Rebecca and Shipman Avenue. The Hineshaw Campus as well as Rebecca’s Place is part of the Hinesville Downtown Historical Development Authority District.
The current facility had been used by the Liberty County Board of Education for more than 70 years as a school campus, known locally as Coastal Academy. However the school has been left to decay for the last 20 years and is desperately in need of immediate repair.
Most recently the Friends of Hineshaw Rosenwald School Inc, a newly formed non-profit, to restore the historic Hineshaw School to include a community center for the public.
Hineshaw School qualifies and meets all criteria established by the National Register of Historic Places. Under Section F, Significance of Schools: Rosenwald Schools are eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion A (Education, Ethnic Heritage-Black), and Criterion C (Architecture). This eligibility is outlined in Attachments 1, 2, 3, and 4, National Park Service Form 10-900-Section F, Associated Property Types.
In 2002, the National Trust for Historic Preservation placed the Rosenwald Schools on its 11 Most Endangered Places List.