Bellevue Avenue Colored School

This school was constructed in 1883 by the Trenton Board of Education for the city’s
African American children, replacing the 1872 Ringold Street school. The Bellevue
Avenue Colored School was erected after the New Jersey Legislature passed the School
Desegregation Act of 1881, which gave Black parents the option of enrolling their children
in previously white-only schools. The construction of the two-room Bellevue Avenue
school only two years after passage of the act reflected the reality of a segregated school
system for African-American children in Trenton. The school was expanded in 1888 and
renamed Lincoln School in 1891. In 1923, the building was replaced by the “new” Lincoln
School at Brunswick Avenue and Montgomery Street. By 1928, the population of the
Lincoln School was overflowing, and some students were moved back into the Old
Lincoln School. The school continued in use as a facility for Black children until the
public schools were desegregated in 1946.

The building was acquired by the King David Lodge in 1949. The Lodge, which is affiliated with the Prince Hall Freemasons, was formed in 1875 and met during the early twentieth century at the first Shiloh Baptist Church building on Belvidere Avenue. Thus, the building continues to serve the African American community as a Masonic lodge. The building was built in 1883 and added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 2, 1997.

Address: 81 Bellevue Avenue, Trenton, NJ 08618

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