Bethesda Schoolhouse built circa 1898 stands as a memorial to the African American educational system in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. Currently it is one of only two known existing rural one room schoolhouses for black children still standing in Mecklenburg County. (The other school discovered in February 2006 is Siloam Schoolhouse, located in the northern University area of Charlotte, which is also under development threat.)
This wooden one room schoolhouse is said to have been built by a popular local black farmer, named John Young. However, it is still unclear as to his overall involvement in the project. Nevertheless, his action in establishing this primary school for African American children is significant to the history of American education.
In 2005 the old schoolhouse which had long since resembled its original structure having served as a dwelling for numerous families through the years, was in jeopardy of being torn down due to development in southern end of Huntersville along Alexanderana Road where the school originally stood (13129 Alexanderana Road). The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Landmarks Commission saw fit to preserve the historic structure to a more protected site.
In June 2005 an agreement was reached with Rural Hill, Inc. and the CMLC to move the Bethesda Schoolhouse to Rural Hill as its permanent home. Both entities agreed to work together in preserving the structure through grants, donations, and volunteers.
On February 16, 2006 Bethesda School was sited on its permanent location and restoration began. Since then this historic schoolhouse has been going through restoration and preservation to take it back to its original appearance.
When restoration is complete the schoolhouse will serve as an interpretive center for teaching visitors about the educational system for young African American children in the 1890’s to early 1900’s.