Mike Dixon, Historian
Hosanna School was the first of three public schools built in Harford County in 1867 by the Freedmen's Bureau after The Civil War. This organization’s main goal is to preserve and share this landmark and the history and culture associated with it.
Harford County's First Public School for African Americans
2424 Castleton Rd
Hosanna School, also known as the Berkley School, was the first of three public schools built in Harford County in 1867 by the Freedmen's Bureau soon after the conclusion of The Civil War. The building of these schools was mandated by law across all of the former slave-holding states for the purpose of educating the recently freed African Americans. The property upon which Hosanna stands was first owned by a free African American man name Cupid Paca. In 1822 Paca bought fifty acres of land running from Berkley into Darlington. When he died, his holdings were divided among his surviving children. In the mid-1800's Cupid Paca's son, James, sold 1/4 acre of his share of inherited land to be used as "a school house lot". The Freedmen's Bureau funded the construction of a two story framed building which was used as a schoolhouse, a community meeting place, and a church. In 1879 the operation of the school was assumed by the Harford County School Commissioners. In 1907 the school building was actually condemned for use as a schoolhouse for local African American children until 1946. In 1948, Hosanna Community House, Inc. was formed by African American men in the community so they they could continue to have a community meeting place. In the late 1950's Huricane Hazel sheered off the top floor of the building. The corporation, with its limited funds, preserved what was left of the building by placing a roof on the remaining structure. After these repairs, the building was once again uses as a community center, particularly by The Boy Scouts. In 1983 the corporation received funding from the State of Maryland to stabilize the building. Actual restoration of the remaining floor of the building began in 1993. A grand opening and dedication of the partially restored Hosanna School took place on September 10, 1994. Restroom facilities and a handicapped access ramp were added. In September of 2005, the final restoration of the second floor was achieved. After several stages, it now stands as the original two-story structure.
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