Permanent Marker Pays Tribute to Historic Black Schools in Hadley Township
History came alive Sunday afternoon at the intersection of Laclede Station Road and Thomas Street in Richmond Heights. The occasion was the dedication of a permanent marker paying tribute to the founders of Hadley Township and the schools, churches and businesses which made it such an important region in the 20th century.
Taking place outside what is now Richmond Terrace Senior Living, the event featured speeches by a former student of the New Lincoln School, Karen Dickerson... the head of the Richmond Heights Historical Society, JoEllen McDonald... Richmond Heights Mayor Jim Thomson... MRH Superintendent Dr. Karen Hall... and Doris Frazier, who reviewed the history of African-American churches in Hadley Township.
Lincoln School, established in 1932, was the designated "black" school in mid St. Louis County. It was actually the second educational institution to bear that name. The Old Lincoln School, built on Dale Avenue in 1909, was exploding in student population, making a new school necessary. At the time, Hadley Township was one of a very few places where African-Americans could live and work in St. Louis County. One of the reasons it fluorished was because businesspeople who needed to boost their labor forces built homes -- so-called "two-by-two's" -- for black families. Commercial and retail developed boomed as churches sprang up and school enrollment increased sharply.
In the early 1960's, Lincoln School closed. Ultimately, commercial developers moved into the Hadley Townshp area with their eyes on acquiring large tracts of land. The old homes, outdated and in disrepair, were abandoned or torn down. But Lincoln School itself survived the wrecking ball, and is now a part of the Richmond Terrace complex.
The permanent plaque was made possible through the efforts of the city of Richmond Heights, the Historical Society, Richmond Terrace Senior Living, and the Lutheran Foundation of St. Louis.
For more information, contact MRH School District at (314) 644-4400.