Composite image from screen captures of panning shot from H. Lee Waters film, 17 Oct 1939. (State Archives of North Carolina.)
Sanborn Map, 1943
The West End Graded School was built in 1938, as a replacement for the West Hillsborough School that had stood on Bellvue Avenue. It was built on the site of the "Old Homeplace" noted on the subdivision map for West Hill - an older house that predated the neighborhood, and seems likely to have contributed the land for the formation of the neighborhood. The site is the peak of the 'West Hill' with an elevation of 605 feet.
Aerial view, 1955
The school consisted of a front hipped-roof block, apparently with dormer windows. Gabled wings extended north from the east and west sides of the buildings.
Like most of West Hillsborough, history has not been well recorded. Per neighborhood residents, the school was decommissioned in the early 1970s. I speculate that this was tied to integration, but do not know. It was evidently converted to apartments. Perhaps in the late 1980s, the main block of the building burned and was destroyed. Strangely, the tips of the gabled projecting wings were spared and are still extant as of 2016. Along with the remaining stone perimeter wall and stairs, the impression is of a somewhat bizarre set of structural elements if one is unaware of the origin story.
02.13.16 (G. Kueber)
As of August 2016, the land was owned by Jim Mathewson. A notice was sent to people within 500 feet of the property for a neighborhood meeting in advance of a proposed rezoning for "single and multifamily project" in early August, termed "Bellevue Place." Although I support redevelopment of this land, this prominent location in the neighborhood deserves a high-quality project - and I don't know if Jim Mathewson will deliver that.