Leroy Pope Elementary School (Grant-Pope Elementary School; Grant School)

Status: Demolished; delisted Nov. 9, 2007

Address: 190 Chelsea Avenue, Memphis

Built: ca. 1908; additions in 1921, 1930 and 1961

Architectural Style: Beaux Arts

Leroy Pope Elementary School was placed on the National Register on Sept. 25, 1992.

History: The building was designed by B.C. Alsup (photo above taken 1910-11). It was known as Leroy Pope Elementary (at 190 Chelsea Avenue, for white students) until 1960 when the school board switched its name with that of Grant Elementary (at 500 N. Seventh Street and Auction Avenue, for black students); the two schools swapped “faculty, furniture, books and students.” After the name change, black students would attend the new Grant at 190 Chelsea, while white students switched to the new Pope at 500 N. Seventh. This switch had been recommended in 1952 to “serve much better the boys and girls in this area of the city,” and it emptied the former Grant School on N. Seventh of black students while opening it to white children from the neighboring new white housing project of Hurt Village. As part of a Multiple Property Listing, the school at 190 Chelsea was nominated to the NR in 1982 under the name “Grant/Pope” Elementary (thus acknowledging its origin as Pope School), but that nomination failed. The school continued in use until June 1991. However, after it closed in 1992, this property at 190 Chelsea was nominated (for the second time) to the NR and was indeed listed later that year under its original name of Leroy Pope Elementary School. In 2010 a student artist at Memphis College of Art painted the silhouettes of students on their way to class, now barely visible, onto a wall running along the sidewalk and onto the stairs leading up to the former grounds of this first-Pope-then-Grant-then-Pope School. The other school, the first-Grant-then-Pope Elementary at 500 N. Seventh, remained in use until 1975.

 

City Council District: 7

Super District: 8

County Commission District: 8

DON NEWMAN