Frequently Asked Questions

The Blackwell School National Historic Site Act, signed into law on October 17, 2022, authorizes the park to be established once a sufficient quantity of lands or interests in lands have been acquired. Following designation, the National Park Service will begin working with the Marfa Independent School District (sole landowner) to discuss land acquisition. The acquisition process is anticipated to take approximately one to two years, pending authorization of acquisition funding to establish legal land descriptions.

Legislation authorizing a new park can call for the establishment of a new addition to the National Park System immediately upon enactment or it can require that certain conditions be met (e.g., sufficient lands are acquired, certain agreements are in place) before a new park can be established as park of the national park system.  Until a park is formally established as a unit of the National Park System, the National Park Service’s role is largely limited to pursuing the work necessary to accomplish that important milestone. This involves a lot of “behind the scenes” efforts to complete the required agreements and land acquisition called for in the legislation.  During that time, NPS park managers reach out to the wider community to introduce the National Park Service and, when resources are available, undertake baseline evaluations and offer limited public programs. 

The site is currently open to the public with limited hours and services. The site is managed by the Blackwell School Alliance, a local non-profit founded by Blackwell School alumni for the purpose of saving the school. The Alliance will continue to manage the site until the National Park Service acquires the property. As the NPS completes the necessary land acquisitions to be established, we will work with our partners to develop a comprehensive operational plan.

The school is typically open Saturdays and Sundays year-round and evenings by request. Please contact the Blackwell School Alliance to schedule a visit to the site. Additional information is available at the BlackwellSchool.org. 

The site is currently open to the public with limited hours and services. Currently the Blackwell School consists of the original 1909 adobe schoolhouse and a smaller 1927 classroom building known as the Band Hall. The buildings contain photographs, memorabilia, and interpretive panels that feature quotes and stories from students and teachers. The site has a functional rest room and an entrance ramp, although neither is fully accessible to individuals with disabilities at this time, the NPS will work to make facilities fully accessible through future planning and projects. Additional visitor information is available on the BlackwellSchool.org.

The public can visit the park’s website and the Blackwell School Alliance’s website at BlackwellSchool.org. NPS correspondence may be sent to Blackwell School National Historic Site, c/o Fort Davis NHS Superintendent, P.O. Box 1379, Fort Davis, TX 79734.

Unfortunately, since Blackwell School is designated but not yet established it does not yet have a park stamp.

Management of Blackwell School National Historic Site will be informed by comprehensive planning. The inaugural planning document developed for most new units of the national park system is a Foundation Document. Foundation Documents establish a shared understanding of what is most important about a park by defining its purpose, significance, primary interpretive themes, fundamental resources and values, in addition to evaluating key issues to identify and prioritize future planning and data needs. The Foundation Document establishes underlying guidance to help inform management and planning and serves as a basis for consistency in future decision-making. Building on the Foundation Document, future planning processes will provide more detailed guidance on key aspects of long-term management of the park. Planning processes for the Blackwell School will engage Hispanic/Latinx communities, key stakeholders, the local Marfa, Texas, community, and the general public.

Local stakeholders, including former students and their descendants, and the site’s current stewards, the Blackwell School Alliance, were instrumental in obtaining the initial listing on the National Register of Historic Places and for advocating for the site to become part of the National Park System. The NPS will continue to work closely with the many stakeholders dedicated to the preservation of the Blackwell School, and to care for the history and memories of those who experienced the Blackwell School as students, teachers, and neighbors.

The NPS acknowledges the invaluable work of key stakeholders and the Blackwell School Alliance in preserving the Blackwell School and expanding scholarship and public awareness of its history. In the transition to NPS management, collaboration with key stakeholders and Hispanic communities is of primary importance. Accordingly, the NPS intends to engage in conversations early on to explore opportunities for partnerships and cooperative management.

 

If you are interested in learning more about the park, or have any questions related to park planning, please feel free to contact us.

Last updated: October 19, 2022

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Mailing Address:

Blackwell School NHS
c/o Fort Davis NHS Superintendent
P.O. Box 1379

Fort Davis , TX 79734

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