Historic schools of the Charlotte region

Historic school buildings exist all around the Charlotte region. Some are imposing buildings in the center of towns, while others are humble buildings in rural areas. Here’s some information about the structures in this photo gallery:

Pleasant Retreat Academy was chartered in 1813 and built between 1817 and 1820. The building is the earliest brick structure in Lincolnton. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this significant, early-19th century academy for boys counted some of the county’s most famous figures among its students. These included Maj. Gen. Robert F. Hoke, Maj. Gen. Stephen Dodson Ramseur, Georgia Gov. Hoke Smith, N.C. Gov. William A. Graham, and Texas Gov. James Pinckney Henderson. The building was dedicated in 1908 as the Confederate Memorial Hall, and the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) leased it as a facility to store Civil War artifacts. From 1925 to 1965, the building was a public library for Lincoln County residents.

Lincolnton’s South Academy Street Public School, was built on Academy Street around 1914. Now it’s used for Lincolnton city government offices.

The original Caldwell Station School was built before 1895 near Huntersville in north Mecklenburg County. The current building replaced it and was built in 1925. Just two years later, in 1927, the Mecklenburg County Board of Education voted to consolidate small area schools and stop using the Caldwell Station School. During the 1930-31 school year the sixth-grade students from Caldwell Station began attending the unified Huntersville School. Now it is used as a preschool, The Children’s Schoolhouse. It was designated a Mecklenburg County Historic Landmark in 2010. Here’s a link for more information.

Smithville Rosenwald School was built in the early 1920s in the Smithville neighborhood of Cornelius. It has Town of Cornelius historic designation (2006). Rosenwald Schools were built in the early 20th century throughout the Southeast to benefit African-American children. Here’s a link for more information on other Mecklenburg County Rosenwald Schools: McClintock and Newell. Here’s a link for more information on the national Rosenwald School Building Program.

The Siloam School off Mallard Creek Church Road in Charlotte, on the grounds of Mallard Glen Apartments, is a Rosenwald School placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007. It was designated a Mecklenburg County landmark in 2006. Here’s a link to more information.

New London Colored School is a Rosenwald School on the National Register of Historic Places study list in Stanly County.

Norwood Black School, built 1917, is now part of Bennetsville AME Zion Church.

The Western Carolina Male Academy, built in 1855 by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Mount Pleasant in Cabarrus County, now houses the Eastern Cabarrus Historical Society and its museum.

Old Lincolnton High School, built in the 1920s, is now used as a Lincolnton Campus of Gaston College.

Old Albemarle High School, opened in 1924 and renovated in 2007 to become Central Elementary, won a 2008 award of merit from Preservation North Carolina.

Badin Elementary School, originally built as The Badin School, was opened in 1916. When opened, it housed seven primary and four high school grades. The mascot (the Badin “Watts”) comes from the influence of hydro-electricity in the town’s development as an aluminum manufacturing center.

Want to know more about some of Charlotte’s historic schools? Try these links:

Sugaw Creek School House, built 1837, in Charlotte.

Parks Hutchison School, built 1926, Charlotte.

Second Ward High School Gym, built 1948-49.

Photos by Nancy Pierce