Early (20th Century) Education

Back in June, our column took a closer look at the original Sanford High School, the legendary W.B. Wicker School (soon to return to service) and the first dawning of what is now Central Carolina Community College.  With school bells ringing again, it seems like a good time to visit some of the earliest school buildings in the area.

Our first two pictures are of the Sanford Graded School.  This private school was a leading source of education for our area in the first part of the 20th century. It was located at the corner of Steele and Carthage streets and operated between 1906 and 1925. When the school was sold at public auction in 1925, its final graduating class held their ceremony at the brand new Sanford High School.

Around this same time, our African-American children were being educated at the South Sanford Graded School, a 2-story, 5-classroom structure. This school was on Washington Street.  In 1924, a new principal, William B. Wicker arrived at the school and the new school was constructed in 1927 (and named in Principal Wicker’s honor in 1954).

And down the road in Jonesboro, students attended the Jonesboro Graded School. The community built a brick building for its children in 1911 to replace the original framed building. Here’s a look at the school in 1935. In 1952 older Jonesboro students began attending the new Sanford Central High School.

Regardless of the size of the community, every town placed an importance on educating its children. It was common for each borough to have a school it called its own.  Here’s a look at the school in Broadway. It was built in 1926 and located right on Main Street.  Sadly, this version of the school was lost to fire on January 3, 1963.

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.