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Gordon Parks Museum receives Plaza-Hawkins School Bookcase

Dec 7, 2022

John Dobbins, local Fort Scott, KS resident and long-time tutor at Fort Scott Community College, has donated a bookcase from the Plaza-Hawkins school.

A bookcase from the historic Plaza-Hawkins School was donated recently to the Gordon Parks Museum by Fort Scott resident John Dobbins, a longtime tutor at Fort Scott Community College.

Gordon Parks attended Plaza-Hawkins, the segregated school for grades kindergarten through eighth located at what was formerly 111 Hendricks St., situated on the east side of what is now the Fort Scott National Historic Site.

“This bookcase was part of the Plaza school in the 1920s when Gordon attended there,” Dobbins said in making the donation to museum director Kirk Sharp. “My parents bought in in the 1950s when the school closed and the furnishings were sold.”

In 1946, the school was renamed from the “Hawkins School” as a tribute to and in memory of professor E.J. Hawkins, a longtime educator, administrator and coach at the institution.

The school, a large, two-story building with a full basement, was razed in the late 1960s and early 1970s as part of the urban-renewal project under way at the time. A wayside memorial of the school is located in the Fort Scott National Historic Site recreational-vehicle parking lot behind the Chamber of Commerce building.

The bookcase, along with other artifacts from the Plaza-Hawkins School, is on display at the Gordon Parks Museum on the camps of FSCC.

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