Classic Classrooms

We’re still a few weeks away from the start of another school year for most children in the area.  It seems like a good time to begin working our way toward the ringing of the first school bell. Let’s do so by dropping in on some Lee County schools from the distant past. We’ll stay outside the Sanford city limits this week and begin our adventure on the Lee-Chatham County border on the banks of the Deep River, in the village of Carbonton. The town itself was formed around 1850. Within a few years, the Carbonton Academy was founded, and it survived for over half a century. The picture at the top of the page is of the girls dormitory, shortly after the start of the 20th century.

If you were to travel downstream on the Deep River just after that time, you’d be close to two other schools. The Deep River School was founded in 1923, graduated its first class on April 29, 1932 and still serves the community along Old US 1, north of Sanford to this day, now as Deep River Elementary School.

The original Deep River building was in existence until 1990, when it was replaced by a new school on the same grounds. The Deep River Elementary Website has a lot more details you’re sure to enjoy, on this school’s nearly century old history. And a short distance away from Deep River School, for a short amount of time, was the Rose Budd School, pictured next and named for the daughter of a local physician.  Here we see the students that attended this school in its second year of existence, 1917.

In the southeastern part of Lee County, the community of Lemon Springs became home to Greenwood School in 1929. It’s another proud name in local education. This original school was replaced by a new building and a new name in 1990, as Greenwood Elementary School, where it presently teaches over 650 students.

Our final stop this week takes us to Broadway, for a moment in local history that was both devastating and inspiring. In January of 1963 the main building at community school in Broadway was the scene of a massive fire. Our final picture provides a view of the total destruction that took place on that day.  However, this tragedy also led to an outcome that speaks to dedication of our region. The entire community pulled together in the fire’s aftermath, temporarily relocated all the students in the nearby adjacent buildings, and built a new school in the same location. Students only missed 3 days of school due to the fire.

Editorial content, pictures and research background , compliments of Jimmy Haire and Images of America: Sanford and Lee County, by Jimmy Haire & W.W. Seymour, Jr, available here for purchase. All book proceeds go to Sanford’s Railroad House Historical Association, Inc.

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