Noble Hill Restoration Project

The project to restore Noble Hill Rosenwald School as Noble Hill-Wheeler Memorial Center was much like the Rosenwald School’s beginning. It was an idea whose time had come. Dr. Susie Wheeler was told that a third cousin, JoAnna Hamilton, a school teacher in Thomasville, Georgia, planted the idea of the possibility of a school for blacks in the Cassville community. Her mother lived in the area. C.W. Williams, principal, then pursued the idea to its reality.

The idea of restoration possibilities was advanced by Justice Robert Benham because of his interest in the history of the area. Justice Benham knew of a similar project in Clarke County, and discussed the idea with several citizens. Finally, they approached Mrs. Bertha Wheeler, owner of the property, offering to purchase the building for restoration. After some thought, she decided to donate the property in memory of the builder, Webster H. Wheeler, and her husband, Bethel Wheeler, who assisted him. Representatives from a cross-section of the community met at Mrs. Wheeler’s home to discuss the restoration of the school. Justice Benham chaired the first meeting and brought with him many ideas. Later, he had to curtail activities with the committee because he became a judge and this position held some restrictions.

Assistance was requested from the Department of Natural Resources, the Coosa Valley Regional Development Center, and other local resources for the project.

The school was deteriorating and was filled with rubbish. The committee members and other volunteers worked on Saturdays to clean up the premises. As in the 1923 days, the ladies brought refreshments. The committee had no funds but planned fundraising activities in order to employ workers to restore the building. The architect and historian from the Department of Natural Resources made a site visit and outlined steps to be taken in the restoration process.

The committee sought to locate an historic preservationist who could guide the restoration of the school into a heritage center, preserving for future generations much of the significant past. In preparing a replica of a small rural school from the first decade of the 1900’s, pictorial and written histories of black schools in Bartow County and Cartersville through the early sixties were researched to uncover facets of political life, civic involvement, economic and cultural life, farm life, religion, recreation, social activities, and information on elected officials of that era. This information has been developed into displays for the center.