Slave Quarters
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Rock Elementary School
"The Stanley Institute"
901 Bayley Road
Cambridge, Maryland
Dorchester County

Additional Schools: Galesville Rosenwald School Hosanna School Worton Point School
Context Description Floor Plan
Classroom Fittings Comparison Preservation Plan
Contact   Works Cited


Rock Elementary School, a one-room, one-story, gable-front schoolhouse, is located at the southeast corner of the intersection of Bayly Road and Church Creek Road, approximately two miles from Cambridge, in Dorchester County.
The school faces the Rock Methodist Church (built in 1875) and Cemetery off Bayly Road.
The date of construction for this building is unknown. In 1867 a building known as Rock School was moved to the present location from a site near Church Creek. The current building could be the original Rock School or it could be an 1867 construction made with the dismantled and reused parts of the Rock School. The building is referred to as Rock Elementary or as the Stanley Institute in honor of the first president of the school board, Ezekrial Stanley. (National Register Nomination) Rock Elementary School is significant for the role it played in the education of the African-American children of Cambridge from the mid-nineteenth century until it closed on July 15, 1966.


Rock Elementary measures approximately 38 feet deep by 18 feet wide, including a vestibule which measures 8 feet by 13 feet. The schoolhouse rests on brick piers and the gable roof is covered with wood shingles. The exterior design of the building is simple, with decorative features restricted to the boxed cornices with returns and unornamented board window surrounds. The southwest (front) elevation of the vestibule contains a door with four horizontal panels. Above the vestibule roof there is a small opening measuring 2 feet by 1 feet 7 inches, which is currently boarded up, but leads into the attic.
The northwest and southeast (side) elevations of the main block each contain three six-over-six-light double-hung sash windows. The northeast (rear) elevation contains one opening, a z-pattern batten door.
A double privy and a tool shed stood near the end of the building, but have since been demolished. The side elevations of the vestibule each contain one four-over-four-light double-hung sash window.


Floor Plan
Three of the interior walls of the vestibule are covered with horizontal tongue and groove boards. The north wall of the vestibule is covered with horizontal wainscoting. Today, all of the vestibule walls are painted white and contain photographs and articles pertaining to the history of Rock School/Stanley Institute. A door in the northeast wall of the vestibule opens into the large classroom.
The classroom, or main block, measures 29 feet deep by 17 feet wide. The walls contain wainscoting from the floor to the bottom of the window sills. Above the wainscoting the walls are painted white. In addition to the windows the southeast wall contains a blackboard measuring approximately 7 feet wide. The northeast wall contains a blackboard, chimney stack, and a door to the exterior.
In the west corner of the classroom there is a built-in cupboard that sits above the wainscoting.
Aside from the changes when the building may have been relocated the schoolhouse appears to have been altered at some other point in time. There is evidence of an addition to the rear or northeast elevation of the building. The most obvious evidence is the double brick piers visible on the side elevations. Underneath the building there is clear differentiation between the sill for the Period I classroom and the Period II addition. There is also a slight bulge in the wall of the south elevation, which indicates a seam where the two sections are joined


Classroom Fittings
Evidence of the day to day activities in the buildings is still present.
The interior space of the classroom contains “Eclipse” wooden student desks and an iron stove made by the Orr Painter and Company in Reading, Pennsylvania.
The teacher’s desk, located in front of the chimney stack, faces the children’s desks. The classroom and vestibule contain various items that speak to its previous use as a school.


Compared to the other three schools in the study, Rock differed very little from their layout and appearance. Much like Worton Point, the school had symmetrically placed narrow windows, plain trim, and a sink. Rock School’s boxed cornices provide the building with the only distinguishing characteristic from Galesville, Hosanna, and Worton Point.


Preservation Plan
The preservation of Rock School is attributed to a dedicated group of community residents and former students. Currently the building is frozen in time, as a reminder of what schools were like back in the years between the Civil War and the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement. During the second half of the twentieth century, the building served as a community center, church, and Sunday school room, but future plans are to also make the building a museum. Recently, local individuals received a permit to put the coal house back up and are waiting for bids from contractors. It is through this reuse and attention of the community that the building stands today.


Contact Person: Herschel Johnson (410) 228-6657


Works Cited
National Register of Historic Places: Stanley Institute. January 10,1975. Prepared by J. Richard Rivoire and William H. Kirk






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