Mary Ray School set for Aug. 24 hearing about Historic Register
By W. WINSTON SKINNER
The Mary Ray Memorial Schoolhouse in Raymond is moving a step closer to listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
The National Register is the nation’s list of significant historical sites and districts. Mary Ray is located in the still-rural community of Raymond between Newnan and Sharpsburg.
Local historian Thomas M. Lee wrote the National Register nomination. The Georgia National Register Review Board is scheduled to consider the Mary Ray nomination on Aug. 24.
The hearing will be held at the Georgia Historic Preservation Division’s office on 254 Washington Street in Atlanta. Lee said HPD is “one block away from the State Capital building.”
Lee said hearings are usually held in the morning. The Mary Ray nomination is expected to be “one of a number of nominations considered” that day, Lee said.
A number of the volunteers are expected to attend the hearing, and the public will have the opportunity to speak.
In 2009, the school building was placed on The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation’s Places in Peril list. On April 20 of this year, the Mary Ray Schoolhouse group was presented with the Georgia Trust’s Chairman’s Award.
Mary Ray also received one of four awards given statewide for Excellence in Restoration at the Georgia Trust’s 35th annual Preservation Awards ceremony in Roswell.
In 2007 a group of former students and community members banded together to restore the building. Constructed in 1909, the building was part of the then new town of Raymond.
The Mary Ray project continues to be volunteer driven. Supporters clean the building and cut the grass. Allen Robertson, who was a student at the school and spent a lot of time working on restoration, said it will soon be time for a workday to keep the building in top shape.
Robertson said Buddy Stanford is among the unsung heroes in the restoration effort. “Buddy Stanford put so many hours into this – as much as anyone,” he said.
A group of volunteers visited the building earlier this week. Carlton Floyd looked around and – with satisfaction – said the century-old schoolhouse looks “a whole lot better than it used to.”