The Jefferson's Home Scene, 1968
Behind the Scenes
This portrayed the home of Arcella Jefferson and her family. The scenes depict:
Newt and Jappy, looking for Arcella, are walking from the north corner to her home, but her mother tells them she is not there.
Newt and Jappy then walk toward the street corner to the north, past a red house, and stop to talk. Arcella is walking from the west and meets them. Jappy walks away, while Newt talks to Arcella.
During filming, this scene took place at a home that was located on the corner of Blair and Hendricks Avenue, which is now part of Fort Scott National Historic Site. After filming completed, the houses were removed for urban renewal in the 1960’s/1970’s.
The location of this scene is approximately 150 feet north of the Fort Scott National Historic Site RV parking lot, past the gate.
In the background of these scenes you can see buildings that date back to the 1840s.
The filming of Arcella’s family house was approximately 150 feet north of the Hawkins/Plaza School.
The Hawkins/Plaza School was the same segregated school that Gordon Parks attended from K-8. Gordon graduated from the school in 1927 with a class of 12 students.
The Hawkins School was razed during urban renewal soon after the filming of the Learning Tree in 1968.
During filming at this location, the house that portrayed Arcella’s home, the red house beside it along Hawkins School, and all of the homes and downtown business known as the Marketplace were torn down, due to urban renewal that was taking place at the time. The original Old Fort Buildings were all that remained.
It was suggested that Gordon preferred to film in this area, because the houses closely resembled the time period of the film. Plus they were already empty along with most of the homes and buildings in the area being prepared for demolition.
Homes, schools, and downtown businesses were all built on the original Historic Fort Scott property, established in 1844. A campaign took place to re-establish the historic Fort and reconstruct the buildings and fort area to its original state. The historic fort soon became a National Historic Site after opening in 1979.
During the filming you can see the original Historic Old Fort Officer Quarters buildings painted white in the far right background along Blair Ave, when Arcella is walking down the road to Newt and Jappy and when Jappy is walking up the road on Blair. The buildings are also visible in the background behind Newt when walks up the same road and turns around and speaks with Arcella.