“Rock Hill’s dream of a Presbyterian High School comes to fruition but fails. Winthrop’s Training School is born.”
City Directories and History: Pages of information and hundreds of images of Winthrop Training School’s (WTS) faculty and students could be easily posted on this page of Roots and Recall. However, most of the items are best secured at the WU Pettus Archives and we suggest looking at images and additional information there and enjoying the ones shared here on R&R.
The Herald reported on March 16, 1892 – “A great deal of work has been done on the Presbyterian High School building during the past month. It is confidently expected the work will be completed by September 1, when the first session will commence.”
The Herald reported on Sept. 22, 1892 – “A large congregation was on hand for the dedication of the Presbyterian High School. The Rev. Alexander Sprunt preached, the school opened with thirty students.”
The Herald reported on Dec. 5, 1896 – “Prof. D.B. Johnson, Rev. O.G. Jones, and Dr. T. A. Crawford comprise a committee to raise funds to remove all the debt on the Pres. High School. They have raised $1,000. and need to raise an additional $1,000.
The Herald reported on Jan. 4, 1896 – “Monday is the date set for the sale of the Presbyterian High School property.” The paper also reported May 6, 1896 – the auction sale in York in Bankruptcy Court the, “Pres. High School was bid by W.B. Wilson for the mortgage.”
The Herald reported on June 6, 1896 – “There is a movement to re-open the Pres. High School. Some people are proposing the new school be under the control of Davidson College.”
The Herald also reported on June 17, 1896 – “A mass meeting will be held at First Pres. Church to consider re-opening the Pres. High School. Supporters are raising funds so it can re-open this fall.”
The Herald reported on July 1, 1896 – “Members of the executive committee of Davidson College and Pres., Dr. Shearer met in Rock Hill last Friday and agreed to reopen the Pres. High School under the direction of the college.”
The Herald reported on June 26, 1901 – “That Professor J.A. Boyd, will leave Rock Hill and go to Huntersville. He has been conducting the Rock Hill High School with Prof. Banks. The school will reopen this fall.” (This is the former Presbyterian High School and was operated as Rock Hill High School for a few years.)
The Herald reported that Prof. A.R. Banks will leave Rock Hill to teach in Kershaw. On Aug. 20, 1902 the Herald reported that Rev. J.B. Shearer, V.P. of Davidson College, was in the City yesterday to complete negotiations for leasing the high school property in Oakland. Some renovations will be need, but they are confident the school will operate this year. It is proposed that Professor, A.N. Dickinson, of Va., a graduate of Hampden Sydney College and the Un. of Virginia will be the headmaster. He taught for five years in Shelbyville Tenn., and is coming from Lexington, Ga., also Professor Thomas G. Wilkinson of Bishopville, a graduate of S.C. College and Cornell will teach. He recently taught at Blacksburg, S.C. Both men are single. They hope the new school will come to fruition by September.
August 23, 1902 – An ad was run for Rock Hill High School, a classical school for boys and young men, to open Sept. 16, 1902 with C.N. Dickinson as principal. (In the same issue the Herald reported that Mr. Dickinson has a lease from Davidson College on the High School building for three years.)
The Herald reported on Sept. 17, 1902 – “The high school has opened under Prof. Dickinson with an enrollment of 20 students. This is expected to double within the next week.”
The Rock Hill Herald reported on Oct. 28, 1903 – “There are 47 students at the Catawba Male Academy, including eleven borders. The boys are drilled daily and professor Crosby (Cosby) is the drill master.”
The Rock Hill Record reported on April 4, 1904 – “That at a meeting of the Rock Hill Commercial Club, had a presentation on the Catawba Male (Military) Academy. The program reported on the first year of operation. The school had a successful start and they plan to enlarge the faculty and increase enrollment. Scholarship donations were requested from the club. The presentation was made by: D.J. Brimm, J.C. Smith, J.D. Cosby.”
The Yorkville Enquirer of Nov 6, 1906 – “At a meeting of the stock holders of the Catawba Military Academy it was decoded to sell the property to the RH School District. Dr. D.J. Brimm had resigned as headmaster. The property is within the city limits almost opposite Winthrop College and it is said by engineers of the railroad to be on the highest point on the line from Charlotte to Augusta. The property contains a handsome school building, dormitory, and parade ground. It is probability that the building will be continued as a city high school. The price paid was $12,500. The Catawba Military Academy will end operations at the end of the term in June.”
The Record reported on Jan. 21, 1907 – “A bill was passed by the S.C. House to provide a practice school building at Winthrop College. Also – “Dr. D. J. Brimm former supt. of the Catawba Military Academy was elected principal of the Yorkville Graded School.” (This is the end of the Catawba Military Academy)
The Record reported on March 18, 1907 – “The Catawba Military Academy will close its doors at the end of this session and Rock Hill will have no high school for boys or girls.”
One March 21st 1907 the Record had an editorial comment supporting the efforts of W.S. Cherry, Esq. to establish a new high school for Rock Hill.
The Rock Hill Record reported on May 16, 1907 – “J.M. Cherry has had work done on the road adjoining his farm back of the CMA Ground (Catawba Mil. Academy), he has had the street running between his farm and that place laid off and graded from the corner where the road enters his plantation down towards the home of W.B. Wilson, Esq. He is also putting in drains, the work is being done under the supervision of Frank Adams who is in charge of the Cherry farm.”
The Record for July 18, 1907 contained an advertisement for the RH High School – “Prof. George B. Pfeiffer is the principal and R.E. Griffen, a graduate of the Citadel is his assistant. The school will feature military discipline and is intended to prepare boys for college or a professional career. J.C. Cork is Supt., the school will open Sept. 11 and boarding in the dorm is available with the principal.”
The RH Record reported on Aug 8, 1907 – “The creation of Rock Hill High School was announced. The Rock Hill city school has recently purchased the handsome high school property, just across the street from Winthrop College. It will be a school for boys with military discipline.”
In 1908, the Rock Hill City Directory list George B. Pfeiffer as principal, listed at the West End of College Avenue. He was living at 824 College Avenue, Rock Hill, S.C.
The RH Record reported on May 26, 1910 – “On a controversy on the former sight of the Rock Hill High School. There is a court case and the property had already been sold to Winthrop College. However, the Rock Hill Land and Site Co., has the first right to purchase the property. It made an offer of $28,000. for the building and has offered $10,000. for the Oakland Ave., side of the property. These offers were signed by W.B. Wilson, Sr., On June 20th, 1910 – “Hearing at the Supreme Ct in Columbia will be held on the case of Winthrop College verses the Rock Hill Land and Site Company concerning this case.”
The Herald reported on Sept. 5, 1925 – “That WTS begins the year with 340 students. Dr. John H. Hoover, is Supt. and there are eighteen instructors.”
SEE ADDITIONAL NEWSPAPER DATA AT: WTS #2
WITHERS BUILDING HISTORY
Identifying common threads between the buildings and the cumulative history of midland South Carolina is one of the great strengths of the Roots And Recall web site. Following closely in the footsteps of infrastructure development, funded most often by government programs, comes shared public buildings including courthouses, churches, schools and libraries. Funding for these significant public resources come from many diverse sources including government, private, combination source (now known as Public-Private Partners) and in many instances through philanthropic sources.
A number of American businessmen including the financiers J. Pierpont Morgan, George Peabody and the Scottish-American industrialist, Andrew Carnegie, donated money toward the design and construction of schools, libraries and other public buildings in the US between 1883 and 1929. In 1910, through the efforts of its President, D. B. Johnson, Winthrop College was the recipient of several grants to supplement a community fund drive to raise $125,000 for the construction of a new training school. The largest grant, $25,000, was made by J. Pierpont Morgan. Andrew Carnegie, who had funded the entire cost of the Winthrop Carnegie Library in 1906, contributed an additional $15,000.
The Winthrop Training School would be constructed on the highest ground in the new Winthrop campus and would include an existing masonry structure which had previously served as the Presbyterian Boys High School and more recently as general educational facilities for high school age boys. Planning and organization by President Johnson insured design and construction of the new building would be by the most prominent architects and builders of the period.
Design of the new sections and incorporation of the existing building was awarded to the prominent Atlanta architect, Edwards and Sayward. The design, a three story masonry and stone English Tudor Eclectic with an “E” shape speaks to the importance of education on the Winthrop campus. Building materials were masonry, granite, marble, copper and glazed brick.
The construction contract for the Winthrop Training School was awarded to the J. A. Jones Company. In 1910, through the efforts of its President, D. B. Johnson, Winthrop College was the recipient of several
grants to supplement a community fund drive to raise $125,000 for the construction of a new training school. of Charlotte, North Carolina. Construction was completed for the 1913 school year.
In later years a new gym and significant modifications and improvements of the original building insured the success of the educational programs being developed and implemented at Winthrop College.
Prominent educators involved with the creation of the Winthrop Training School included Sarah Withers, James Kinard, Hetty Browne and Ida Dacus. One of the first students in the new building was the noted educator and writer, Marguerite Tolbert.
In 1952 the new WTS gym was added to the back of the East Wing. Designed by G. Thomas Harmon, Architect, of Columbia, the modern structure has masonry walls and pilasters and structural steel ceiling with a bow truss roof. Bleachers seat over 500 for the large, competition sized basketball floor. When the gym was added, the basement of the East Wing already had showers, locker rooms, and training facilities for males and females.
There have been many superficial alterations to the interiors of both wings of the Withers/W.T.S. Building, but they have not adversely affected its architectural integrity. Ceilings were sheet-rocked and fixed with suspended fluorescent lights, wood floors were covered with linoleum tile, and the heat system was modernized.
In 1972, after the building ceased to function as a model school in 1965, an office annex, designed by Paula Treder, Architect, of Rock Hill, was added connecting the East and West Wings. This modern masonry connector has a wide hall on each floor with small offices on each side. The halls connect with the original wood staircase landings on the East Wing and with the back wing corridors on the West Wing. The ground floor hall and steps leading up to the East Wing are laid with a fascinating square and diamond patterned brick tile.
Additionally Mary Leonard, Annie Bonham, Minnie MacFeat and Hetty S. Brown were hired as instructors for the newly established curriculum. For information on the educators passing through the halls of Withers/WTS we direct you to the writing of Ms. Louise Pettus. (Early Educators) Information on the Withers Building was written and contributed to R&R by John Withers in 2014.
Click on the More Information > links found below the picture column for additional data and pictures.
The SC Architects: 1885 – 1935, Wells and Dalton, 1992 reported, “the Withers Building was constructed in 1910-11 and was designed by the firm of Edward and Walter; architects Frank C. Walter and William A. Edwards, at a cost of $125,000.”
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