Weatherford Democrat

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February 26, 2014

So close, yet so far away

Restorer of school used by blacks during segregation hopes to complete the project by end of the year but needs about $44,000 to finish

By DAVID MAY

Raymond George can see the light at the end of the tunnel – and it’s not an oncoming train.

Instead, it’s an approaching deadline and what he hopes is the finish line of his 15-year project to restore the Mount Pleasant Colored School House to as close to its original state as possible.

George is a graduate of the school and has made it his dream and passion to restore the building, then turn it over to the City of Weatherford, which plans to utilize it as a community center and incorporate the 15-acre property into a greenspace area connecting a nearby park and Chandor Gardens.

George on Saturday gave a tour of the building and its ongoing renovation to about 20 people representing East Parker County Genealogy and Historical Society and the Parker County Camera Club.

There is still much to do, but George said he can see completion of the project is practically in arm’s reach. That is, if he can receive the monies he says he needs to finish.

“I think I need about $44,000,” he said. “I have already put in well over $100,000 in donations so far.”

Much has been done. New electrical wiring and air ducts are installed. A new roof is on the building and custom windows, closely matching the school’s original windows, are in place.

Items like lighting, finishing walls and the ceiling as well as flooring restoration remain.

Built in 1917, the building served as a center of education for black Weatherford students during segregation. Classes were taught up to the ninth grade, where students then either stopped attending school or were transported to I.M. Terrell in Fort Worth.

George, who graduated from the school in 1953, said he was 6 years old when he started attending. He said his father provided transportation for he and those students who went on to high school in Fort Worth.

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