north carolina highway historical marker program
North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program
 

 
 
 

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Essay:
     A new charter in 1870, approved by the legislature and local voters, established Greensboro as a city instead of a town. A provision therein authorized graded schools within the city limits. Funding was to come from a school tax levied on Greensboro citizens by the state and, if necessary, city money would provide additional support. It was another five years before graded schools opened.

      On January 6, 1875, the White Department of the Greensboro Graded Schools announced that the first session of school was “free to all white children within the corporate limits of the city of Greensboro” and would commence on January 15. However, the institution had to delay its opening until February 1. Two weeks later, 130 students had enrolled.

      Lindsay Street School’s opening marked the establishment of the first permanent graded school in North Carolina. The African American graded school that started almost a month earlier on January 4 met in one room at a church. A permanent black graded school (Percy Street School) was not erected until 1880.

     The school was designed to hold 200 pupils. However, local historians have provided different accounts of the design of the original facility. In 1904 James W. Albright wrote that the city enlarged a one-room brick school building into a two-story structure with five classrooms and a chapel. Ethel S. Arnett in 1955 stated that a two-story rectangular brick building was erected “with one large room and two smaller ones downstairs, and a center hallway and stair(s) that led to two large rooms upstairs.” Later, Gayle Hicks Fripp claimed that the school had six rooms.

     To bolster their public education system, Greensboro voters in May 1875 overwhelmingly approved a school fund tax. In August 1886 the Charleston earthquake badly damaged Lindsay Street School. Under the leadership of school committee chairman David Schenck, a new brick Lindsay Street School was completed around 1887. The new structure had a seating capacity of 583. By 1889 around 300 students attended the school. Two rooms were added in 1890 for primary grades. The institution closed in 1925.


References:
James W. Albright, Greensboro, 1808-1904: Facts, Figures, Traditions, and Reminiscences (1904)
Ethel S. Arnett, Greensboro, North Carolina: The County Seat of Guilford (1955)
Gayle Hicks Fripp, Greensboro: A Chosen Center (second edition, 1983)
Gayle Hicks Fripp, Neighborhoods (1998), volume 2 of Images of America: Greensboro
Greensboro Patriot, January 6 and 20, 1875; February 3 and 17, 1875
Sallie W. Stockard, The History of Guilford County, North Carolina (1902)     
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