Georgia Work Day Engages Volunteers and Saves a Community Hub

Posted on: March 18th, 2009 by Guest Writer 3 Comments
:  Mr. Robertson, son of a teacher at Mary Ray School, works hard to clean up the building. (Credit: Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation)

: Mr. Robertson, son of a teacher at Mary Ray School, works hard to clean up the building. (Credit: Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation)

The Mary Ray Memorial School, one of The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation’s 2009 Places in Peril, was the site of a community workday this past Saturday, March 14th. The Georgia Trust has been engaging this year’s Places in Peril with spotlight events. “Each spotlight event has been different, as the needs of each endangered property have been different,” said Georgia Trust President, Mark C. McDonald.

The Mary Ray Memorial School has been the hub of the Raymond Community for a century now and although it had fallen into disrepair in the late 1980’s there is a strong grassroots group working on the building’s comeback. Deeded to the trustees of the people of the town of Raymond in the early part of the 20th Century the Mary Ray School was used as a School until the late 1940’s thereafter becoming a community center.

The workday began with volunteers arriving and being greeted with Paula Stanford’s homemade sausage and biscuits. After a few moments of conversation and organizing of ladders and tools the volunteers were gathered together by Allen Robertson, President of the Mary Ray Schoolhouse organization. Allen greeted everyone and discussed the projects that would occur throughout the day emphasizing that the point of the day’s activity was not only to work but also to have fellowship and enjoy the day. Mark C. McDonald thereafter announced The Georgia Trust would be awarding a matching grant to the Mary Ray Memorial School as part of its Partners in the Field Program for the amount of $10,000 for the restoration and stabilization of the building. In announcing the grant, Mark said” The volunteers of the Mary Ray School embody the very spirit of preservation and it is an honor for The Georgia Trust to be working with this group.”

Volunteers, ranging in age from 90 to 7, accomplished a lot in just one day. A bathroom addition was removed and recycled. The porch was painted and large sections of recycled trim pieces were scraped and prepped for future installation. A large section of flooring was replaced as well as a section of beaded ceiling. Debris was removed from the pockets behind wainscoting and other areas in the interior. Volunteer Cindy Eidson said, “The whole experience was wonderful and I really feel as if I have a vested interest with the building now.”

-- Jordan H. Poole

Jordan H. Poole is the Field Services Manager for the The Georgia Trust.

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3 Responses

  1. Erin Hammerstedt

    March 18, 2009

    Wow! This is a great idea! I can think of a building that I’m working with where this would be a great approach – to get some work done, and increase community support for/investment in the project. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Diane Poole

    March 19, 2009

    Mike and I really enjoyed working with the community people of Raymond in restoring this unique old school building. We are proud of the Georgia Trust staff and all their efforts in this project. Thanks for allowing us to help in the preservation of Mary Ray Memorial School. Mike and Diane Poole

  3. Anita Keith

    March 24, 2009

    The Mary Ray Workday on March 14, 2009, was a very special experience. Thank you to everyone who gave and who continue to give time, energy, and support to the Mary Ray Memorial Schoolhouse Project.