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National and State Registers of Historic Places

Sumner Elementary School

Picture of property 1501 5th Avenue
Leavenworth (Leavenworth County)
Listed in National Register 2011-08-04

Architect: Smith, Charles A.
Category: vacant/not in use; school
Thematic Nomination: Historic Public Schools of Kansas

Leavenworth's Sumner Elementary School is located in a traditionally African American neighborhood surrounded by single-family residences and churches. The school was one of two elementary schools built to serve the community's black students in the 19th century. Lincoln School served students living in North Leavenworth; Sumner served the students living in South Leavenworth. The first Sumner School was constructed on this site in 1866. By 1915, the original building was unable to meet the needs of its 185 students. Architect Charles Ashley Smith was hired to design the two-story brick Commercial-style building, which was completed in 1925 under the direction of longtime principal and educational leader Blanch K. Bruce. The school continued to serve South Leavenworth's African American community for more than three decades, until Leavenworth schools were desegregated following the Brown v. Board case. It closed after the 1968-69 school year. For decades following its closure, the school district used the building as a maintenance facility. The Pentecostal Church of the Apostolic Faith purchased the building in 2000 for use as a church activity center. It is nominated as part of the "Historic Public Schools of Kansas" multiple property nomination for its statewide significance in the areas of education and architecture and for its association with Bruce.

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