Free Hill, Tennessee

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Free Hill, Tennessee
Unincorporated community
Free Hill is located in Tennessee
Free Hill
Free Hill
Coordinates: 36°33′44″N 85°29′32″W / 36.56222°N 85.49222°W / 36.56222; -85.49222Coordinates: 36°33′44″N 85°29′32″W / 36.56222°N 85.49222°W / 36.56222; -85.49222
Country United States
State Tennessee
County Clay
Free Hills Rosenwald School
The old Free Hills Rosenwald School at Free Hills Community Park
Location Free Hills Rd., E of TN 52, Free Hill, Tennessee
Coordinates 36°33′45.5″N 85°29′12.7″W / 36.562639°N 85.486861°W / 36.562639; -85.486861 (Free Hills Rosenwald School)
Area 1 acre (0.40 ha)
Built 1929
Built by Smith, Samuel L.; Julius Rosenwald Fund
Architectural style Rosenwald School Plan, Other
NRHP Reference # 96001360[1]
Added to NRHP November 15, 1996

Free Hill (also called Free Hills) is an unincorporated community in Clay County, Tennessee, United States. It is an African American community established before the Civil War.

The original inhabitants were the freed slaves of Virginia Hill, the daughter of a wealthy North Carolina planter. After purchasing 2,000 acres (8 km2) of isolated hilly land, Hill freed her slaves and turned the property over to them. Folklore suggests that the original residents included Virginia Hill's own mulatto children.[2]

At its peak the community had about 300 residents and included two grocery stores, three clubs, two eating establishments, two churches, and a school.[2]

Free Hills Rosenwald School[edit]

The settlement's Rosenwald school was one of 354 schools for African Americans built in the early 20th century with financial support from the Julius Rosenwald Fund. The Free Hills Rosenwald School was used from approximately 1925 to 1949. The structure, which is believed to be one of only about 30 Rosenwald schools still standing, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1996.[1]

Recent years[edit]

A small number of residents remain in Free Hill, whose population has declined since the 1960s. In September 1993 the state of Tennessee placed an historical marker on Tennessee State Route 53 to identify the community and commemorate its history.[2]


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