MARIETTA, Ga. - A historic school in Cobb County attended by African American children during the age of segregation has been spared the wrecking ball.
Plans are now in the works to restore the old Lemon Street Grammar School in Marietta.
People who live in the area told Channel 2’s Berndt Petersen that they were heartbroken when they heard the school might be knocked down.
Doug Martin said he will always have a soft spot for the old brick building along Lemon Street. He can even tell you exactly where he was 60 years ago.
“Somewhere in there, you might find a chair with my name on it," Martin told Petersen as they walked outside the building.
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The original Lemon Street Grammar School was built in 1894. After a new building was constructed in 1951, the school closed in 1971 and has been used for storage ever since. But recently, it was in danger of demolition.
"Without something physical like this, how will I plant it in the hearts of my children what this epic of time means to them and to me?" Martin said.
Marietta City Schools had plans to replace the school, but neighbors helped convince them to restore it.
"It wasn't that long ago that people felt like they had to chain themselves to a building to save it," said Trevor Beemon, with the Cobb County Landmarks and Historical Society.
Beemon told Petersen that the cost to remodel the old school is the same as knocking it down and starting over.
Marietta City Schools Superintendent Grant Rivera told Channel 2 Action News that saving the historic building is the right thing to do.
The remodeled school will become the new home of the Marietta Performance Learning Center, which is a program that helps high school students graduate on time.
The new center will open in 2021.
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