Jerome Elementary School No. 22

Constructed in 1930, the Jerome Elementary School No. 22 is an example of an early twentieth-century school building in the once vibrant town of Jerome (Drew County) in southeastern Arkansas. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places on September 28, 2005.

Settlement in the Jerome area began around 1900, and the community was first known as Blissville. The local economy based on timber and cotton farming quickly grew, and the town was incorporated in 1908. Herman Moeller operated a sawmill in the community, calling the local company the Jerome Hardwood Lumber Company in honor of his son. The name became associated with the town, and Blissville reincorporated as Jerome in 1920.

Various businesses operated in the town, and the population peaked at 391 in 1920. With a growing need for educational facilities, city leaders decided to construct a new school to relieve some of the pressure placed on the existing building. Few details exist about the construction of the building. The cost and contractor are unknown.

The building is a single-story red brick structure with Craftsman details resting on a concrete block foundation. The bricks reach to the ground with crawl vents added for access. Built in an L-shape, the building retains its original hardwood floors. It is topped with an asbestos shingle roof with exposed rafter tails. An addition was constructed soon after the building was complete for the inclusion of restrooms. The addition was the only major modification made to the structure.

The building faces south with a centrally located front entry porch. Two brick columns support the gable. Two separate plaques are installed on the front of the building above the entryway, one reading “JEROME SCHOOL” and a smaller one reading “1930.” Four doors are located on the porch, with two leading directly into classrooms and two into storage spaces. A low brick wall extends along the edge of the porch, which is accessible via concrete steps or an added ramp.

Other details include Craftsman-style brackets beneath the eaves and original wood-frame windows. Replacement windows include aluminum frames, and the rear addition is topped with a metal roof.

The building effectively served the Jerome School District for two decades. During the 1934–35 academic year, the district enrolled 317 students. A building boom in the area accompanied the establishment of the Jerome Relocation Center in the early 1940s. This Japanese American incarceration camp, along with a similar one built in Desha County, eventually housed some 16,000 Japanese Americans forcibly removed from the West Coast during World War II.

The population slowly decreased after the end of World War II. The depopulation of the area led to the consolidation of the Jerome School District in 1950. Although the town is located in Drew County, the schools consolidated with the nearby Dermott School District in Chicot County. The original wood school building was moved to Dermott (Chicot County) and used as a school for African American students, while the 1930 brick building was abandoned.

The Dermott School District sold the building to the Jerome Improvement Association for ten dollars in 1970. Restoration efforts to the building led to a second life for the structure, and the community uses it for various events in the twenty-first century.

For additional information:
Gibson, C. C., III “Jerome, Arkansas: Some Personal Recollections and a Brief History.” Drew County Historical Journal 18 (2003): 24–33.

“Jerome Elementary School No. 22,” National Register of Historic Places registration form. On file at Arkansas Historic Preservation Office, Little Rock, Arkansas. Online at (accessed April 30, 2024).

David Sesser
Southeastern Louisiana State University


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