In the early 1930s, fire destroyed a small wooden schoolhouse in the Mock Circle area of Davidson, North Carolina. In 1935 the Mecklenburg County Board of Education requested funding from the Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works Administration (P.W.A.). Part of the funding was for $18,000 for one "negro school." Contracts for the Davidson Colored School were approved at the School Board’s June 25, 1937 meeting, and by the October 5 meeting construction had started.
Despite the difficult economic times, a teacher at the school, Mrs. Ada Jenkins and P.T.A. President Logan Houston, with the help of other community members, raised additional funds to build the brick schoolhouse that is now the main building of The Ada Jenkins Center. The school, then named the "Davidson Colored School," opened in the 1937-1938 school year. Mrs. Jenkins died in 1944 and the name of the school was changed to the Ada Jenkins School in 1955.
Around 1958, a gymnasium, a classroom wing and a freestanding cafeteria were added.
In 1966, when the schools in Davidson were integrated, the school was closed and the students transferred to Davidson Elementary School and the Torrence Lytle High School in Huntersville. Under a Title 1 program, the school reopened as the Davidson Child Development Center in 1967.
In the 70s, 80s, and early 90s, the building served as a community center, with various educational and human services, including a food co-op, a dance studio, and an after school program.
In 1994, members of the community gathered together and volunteered to renovate the building and establish The Ada Jenkins Center in its current form. The grand opening was held on November 8, 1998, with Ada Jenkins' daughter and granddaughter in attendance.
Since then, the Center has grown rapidly to become a well-respected model for community centers in the region, broadening its services to the entire Lake Norman region. Recently, the Duke University School of Divinity has recognized The Ada Jenkins Center as a "Model Organization for Building Communities of Caring."
Who We Are Today
Today, The Ada Jenkins Center houses 21 programs and has 20 members on our Board of Directors. This dynamic and enthusiastic group volunteers its time and efforts, always keeping the mission and focus of The Ada Jenkins Center at the forefront.