Tolson’s Chapel and School

OAH Member Lyn Causey, Ph.D., recently completed a National Historic Landmark nomination for Tolson’s Chapel and School in Sharpsburg, MD. NHL Nominations are one of several types of projects the OAH conducts under a cooperative agreement with the National Park Service. 

Tolson’s Chapel is owned and managed by the local non-profit Friends of Tolson’s Chapel, and is located within a few miles of the boundaries of Antietam National Battlefield. Built as a church in 1866 by an African American congregation, Tolson’s Chapel also functioned as a school for African American children in Sharpsburg for most of the period between its construction and 1899. The National Historic Landmark nomination documents the history of the building and the people who built and sustained the church and schools in the decades after the end of slavery. Drawing up on recent historical scholarship, the nomination also places the building in the context of African Americans’ dedication to forming their own churches and educating their children during Reconstruction.

Dr. Causey presented some of the major findings from her work to the park staff and public during two events at Antietam NB, and authored web content for the NPS website. That content and additional photographs of Tolson’s Chapel can be found here.