National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior

National Register of Historic Places Program

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.


Property Name Claflin School
Reference Number 15000813
State Georgia
County Columbus
Town Muscogee
Street Address 1532 5th Avenue
Multiple Property Submission Name N/A
Status Listed 11/24/2015
Link to full file
"The Claflin School is significant at the local level under Criteria A and C in the areas of black ethnic heritage, education, and architecture for its importance to the city of Columbus as an early high-quality school for African Americans. The first four-room schoolhouse on the property was built in 1868 through the efforts of the Freedmen's Bureau, the Claflin Academy of Boston, and local trustees to provide crucial education to recently emancipated African-American children. (This first building was destroyed by fire in 1958.) By 1880 the City of Columbus operated the Claflin School as part of its public school system. The two extant buildings were added in 1921 and 1948, but the campus continued to be segregated until 1970. Students could attend kindergarten through the fourth grade in the 1920s; classes up to the eighth grade were available by 1950 in a combined total of over 20 classrooms. The Claflin School is significant in the area of black ethnic heritage as a rare example of a well-built African-American school constructed before the landmark 1954 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education. According to Carole Merritt in Historic Black Resources: A Handbook for the Identification, Documentation, and Evaluation of Historic African-American Properties in Georgia, ""the history of black educational resources in Georgia reflects the evolution of racially separate facilities, from the founding of private institutions after emancipation through the development of public schools in the 201h century."" A 1920s survey of Georgia's African-American schools determined that a majority of them were wood frame construction and only one in five schools had two or more rooms. The Claflin School was therefore a rare exception. The school is also significant in the area of education as a good example of a centrally located urban public school, as defined in ""Public Elementary and Secondary Schools in Georgia, 1868-1971 ,""a statewide historic context. The Claflin School is significant in the area of architecture for the two buildings that reflect the transitions that occurred in the design of early to mid-201h-century urban schools. The character-defining features on the 1921 building include influences from California, such as simplified Spanish Colonial Revival details. The architect was Frederick Roy Duncan (1886-1947), a native of Columbus. The two-story 1948 building is more streamlined with a linear form that was a precursor to the sprawling 1950s one-story schools. Architects were the Columbus team of James J. Walton Biggers (1893-1992) and Thomas Firth Lockwood, Jr. (1894-1963)."

Any Associated Files


Weekly List Search Page

Properties are listed in the National Register of Historic Places under four criteria: A, B, C, and D. For information on what these criterion are and how they are applied, please see our Bulletin on How to Apply the National Register Criteria