The Neely School was built around 1908 by Julius Neely, a minister and farmer, and his wife, Katie Stokes McKenzie Neely. It is believed to be the oldest one-room, African-American schoolhouse surviving in Rowan County. It served more than 1,400 African-American children in grades 1 through 7 until it closed in 1948. Mr. Neely built the one-room school from lumber sawn from his own trees and not much in the way of purchased materials. There were no interior finishes and a simple white wash on the exterior. The vacant school had been vandalized over the years and time had taken its toll on the building.
In 2011, the Historic Neely School Foundation was founded by the Neely’s grandchildren to restore the school. The renovation, completed in 2015, retained as much of the original fabric of the building as possible while stabilizing its structure. This architecturally simple but elegant schoolhouse is well worth the short drive to visit.