West Bemis Elementary is believed to be the oldest Rosenwald School in Tennessee. It was built in 1916 to serve the families of the Bemis Mill Co. cotton mill town. It was built with help from a fund created by Julius Rosenwald, a part owner of Sears, Roebuck and Co. established the fund in 1912 to help educate black children in the South. The fund helped build more than 5,300 schools, shops and teachers’ houses in 15 states. Rosenwald Schools were awarded National Treasure status in 2011.