St. Matthews is one of just five remaining Rosenwald schools in Wake County; twenty-one were built in the early twentieth century. Julius Rosenwald, an owner of Sears, Roebuck, and Company, established a charitable fund to open schools for African American children across the South. St. Matthews was built in 1922 according to a standard building plan to accommodate two teachers. The small building has two classrooms; their dividing wall can be moved to combine the spaces. In the 1930s and 1940s, the school offered instruction for grades one through seven in the two rooms. In the evenings there were adult education classes and agricultural cooperative extension programs. In 1949, the county sold the school to St. Matthews Church, which rehabilitated the school in 1995.