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South Graded School – Throwback Thursday

Today’s Throwback Thursday article talks about a school that left us before its 100th Birthday.

Starting out as the North Carolina Military Institute by D. H. Hill and modeled on West Point, it was built in 1859 at what was that time just outside the city limits to the south on what would become Morehead Street at the corner of South Boulevard.  When the Civil War started in 1861, its facility and students took up arms and fought for the Confederacy.  During the war the building was used as  a hospital, prison and medical laboratory.  After the war, it served as the Mecklenburg Female College (1867-1869) and from 1873 to 1883 it served as the Charlotte Military Institute, a private school for boys.

In 1883 it was turned into an elementary school, known as South Graded School serving grades 1-10 (11th and 12th grades were added later) and served the growing southern suburbs of Dilworth and Wilmore .

South Graded School - 1920's.  Photo courtesy of the Robinson-Spangler Room of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.

South Graded School – 1920’s. Photo courtesy of the Robinson-Spangler Room of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.

But changing times, shifting population and the opening of schools in nearby neighborhoods including Dilworth, Wilmore and Eastover and the conversion of the building from a school to a maintenance supply warehouse spelled its doom as the building was torn down in 1954.  Now the Dowd YMCA sits on the site of the old school:

Dowd YMCA. Photo taken from Google Earth 03/05/15.

Dowd YMCA. Photo taken from Google Earth 03/05/15.

If you have a chance to go to the Carolina Room in the main branch of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library located on North Tryon Street at Sixth Street, please do as you will find a wealth of information including the story of the Charlotte Mecklenburg School System by former superintendent Harry P. Harding (Harding University High School in West Charlotte is named for him) as well as other sources for this article.  I also consulted the J. Murray Adkins Library at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (GO NINERS!) for some of my information. :

Information about the South Graded School: From the Mary Boyer Collection of the J. Murray Adkins Library of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. (http://digitalcollections.uncc.edu/cdm/ref/collection/p15483coll1/id/912)

The 1920’s Image of the school: Robinson-Spangler Room of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library (cmstory.org)

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Posted by on March 6, 2015 in Buildings, History

 

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Louis Asbury

People who have lived in Charlotte all of their lives may or may not have heard of this fellow Charlottean, but may have seen his work without knowing the person.  Well, let me introduce him.

Louis Asbury, born in Charlotte in 1877 and died in 1975 was one of the first full time, professionally trained architect licensed in North Carolina, holding license # 4 when North Carolina required architects to be licenced in order to practice in 1915.  A graduate of Trinity College (now Duke University) with additional training at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), he first started his practice in New York City and moved back to North Carolina in 1908.  His building style was influenced by a trip through Europe after graduating from Trinity, as evidenced by some of his work.

During his practice, he designed not only schools and churches, including Myers Park Methodist Church (he was one of the founding members) but also courthouses in Charlotte and Rutherfordton.  Here are some of the buildings that he helped design:

Parks-Hutchinson School now the Performance Learning Center.  Image courtesy of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission via Google Images.

Parks-Hutchinson School now the Performance Learning Center. Image courtesy of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission via Google Images.

Myers Park UMC.  Picture courtesy of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission

Myers Park UMC. Picture courtesy of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission.

 

Mecklenburg County Courthouse.  Picture courtesy of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission via Google Images

Mecklenburg County Courthouse. Picture courtesy of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission via Google Images

If you want to learn more about this visionary, please check out these sites (this is where I got most of my information):

http://ncarchitects.lib.ncsu.edu/people/P000449, written by William B. Bushong and Catherine W. Bishir with contribution by Dr. Dan Morrill and Charlotte Brown

http://www.cmhpf.org/ – This is the site for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission, which has a lot of information on Charlotte and Mecklenburg County history.

 

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2015 in Buildings, History, People

 

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School Days (or daze depending on your point of view!)

I work as a Teacher’s Assistant in the Charlotte Mecklenburg School System (CMS) at one of the oldest schools that is still using their original building (built in 1927, opened in the fall of 1928).  While the City of Charlotte still has a tendency to get rid of  buildings that are deemed “old”, CMS has tried to use their older buildings as much as possible.

Now while some of the older schools like North School, which was located on North College Street, Alexander Street and Myers Street Schools are long gone, there are still some school buildings still in use that pre-date the Great Depression. Several were designed by the late Louis Asbury, who was one of the first professional architects licensed in the State of North Carolina.  Two examples are the old Parks-Hutchinson School which was built in 1926 on North Graham Street (formerly known as Hutchinson Avenue), which is now the Performance Learning Center:

Parks-Hutchinson School now the Performance Learning Center.  Image courtesy of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission via Google Images.

Parks-Hutchinson School now the Performance Learning Center. Image courtesy of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission via Google Images.

A year earlier, he also designed Morgan School in the Cherry neighborhood, which is not being used by CMS, but is now a Charter School:

The former Morgan School now Community Charter School.  Image from the Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission via Google Images.

The former Morgan School now Community Charter School. Image from the Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission via Google Images.

Of course I cannot forget to show off the school that I work at, Myers Park Traditional:

Original Entrance to the school.  Image from myschoolrocks. com via Google Images

Original Entrance to the school. Image from myschoolrocks.com via Google Images

There is a high school building that pre-date the Great Depression that is still being used.  Central High School located in the Elizabeth neighborhood was built around 1923 and is now owned by Central Piedmont Community College and is used for classrooms as well as other college services.  Here is a picture dating back to the early 1950’s, when it also housed Charlotte College, which later became UNC-Charlotte:

Central High School, early 1950's.  Image courtesy of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission via Google Images.

Central High School, early 1950’s. Image courtesy of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission via Google Images.

There is also Middle School pre-dating the Depression still in use.  Piedmont Middle School (at the time it was built it was called Piedmont Junior High) was built in 1925. There have been additions made over the years as the student population has grown, but the basic bones of the building are still there:

Piedmont Middle School.  Image courtesy of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission via Google Images.

Piedmont Middle School. Image courtesy of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission via Google Images.

I will be exploring more old schools in future blog entries.  Please explore with me and if you know of a school that has kept their original building or hasn’t altered it too much, please let me know.

 
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Posted by on January 25, 2015 in Buildings, History

 

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