Dunbar Elementary School in was built in 1912 and originally opened as a kindergarten-eighth grade school. It is centrally located in the heart of the Jeff Vander Lou neighborhood and was designed as the " Negro District" in the 1800's. Jeff Vander Lou was one of the few areas in the city of Saint Louis where African Americans were permitted to own real estate. As a result, prominent African Americans such as ragtime composer, Scott Joplin and Negro League Baseball player, James Cool Papa Bell resided here. Needless to say, the quality of education in this area was once very competitive. As post war and over crowding factors lessened the restrictions on African American real estate purchases, other African American communities sprouted up. Most importantly, the future is still bright for Dunbar.