Joyce Perdue-Smith, chairman of The Fairview and E.S. Brown Heritage Corp., told Seven Hills Rotarians on Tuesday, Nov. 29, she hoped the community can pull together the funds and manpower needed to bring the Fairview School back from the past.
Her journey with the project began when she started her own research on her family’s history with the school.
“I became very interested in the school when I came back to do some research on my dad’s professional career,” Perdue-Smith said. “He got his first principalship at the Fairview School in 1952. From there I started researching the school records at the Board of Education.”
Perdue-Smith pulled together the research and found alumni in the area to help bring the school back from the kudzu that had consumed it.
The project, however, is in need of funds — it’s facing a projected cost of $250,000, which includes the cost to purchase the land and building — to help it continue forward. But Perdue-Smith also hopes that items needed for cleanup like a Bobcat and volunteer muscle power will help get the school back to the way it was.
“We need people who can help us clean off the property, and that’s our most urgent need at the moment,” she said.
Alumni Ted Barnett also told Rotarians on Tuesday the project was worthy of their support because of what the school represented to those who learned inside its walls.
“It’s more than just a building,” Barnett said. “It’s a place where kids grew up. And respect didn’t start at school, it started at home. And they taught us that whatever you’ve done, to put your heart into it.”
Some of the historical work has already born fruit, with a museum exhibit in the Cave Spring Welcome Center at the Rome Area History Museum. The organization has also published a cookbook to help raise money and has a new edition out for the holiday season. The cookbook can be purchased at Country Cousins, Blue Willow and Harbin’s Market in Cave Spring. Online purchase can also be made at www.fairviewbrown.org.
Those interested in helping with the project can visit the organization’s website or send donations to Fairview-E.S. Brown, 3 Central Plaza, Rome, GA 30165.