WEST END GRADED SCHOOL (SECOND)

WEST END GRADED SCHOOL (SECOND)

111
,
Hillsborough
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1938
/ Modified in
1970
,
1988
/ Demolished in
2022
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
,
Type: 
Use: 
,

The primary graded school for West Hillsborough from the 1930s to the 1960s

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  • Sun, 06/05/2022 - 2:01pm by sevy

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111
,
Hillsborough
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1938
/ Modified in
1970
,
1988
/ Demolished in
2022
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
,
Type: 
Use: 
,

 

Composite image from screen captures of panning shot from H. Lee Waters film, 17 Oct 1939. (State Archives of North Carolina.)

 

Sanborn Map excerpt, 1943

 

The West End Graded School was built in 1938,  as a replacement for the West Hillsborough School that was on Bellvue Avenue. It was built on the site of Cadwallader Jones's "Old Homeplace" noted on the subdivision map for West Hill - an older house that predated the neighborhood, and 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 with dormer windows. Gabled wings extended north from the east and west sides of the building.

The school was decomissioned in the late 1960s, perhaps as part of changes to schools with integration. In 1970, the school lot and building were purchased by Everett Kennedy for $325,000 and converted into 17 apartments, which he called the "Kenwood Apartments."

On February 20, 1988, the apartments/former school burned - two young boys (brothers aged 3 and 4)  and a man were killed in the fire. The fire "burned through the building in 20 minutes" per the fire chief. Only the wings of the U-shaped structure were salvageable, as they had been built later and were separated from the rest of the structure by fire walls. 

School after the fire, Durham Morning Herald 02.21.1988

 

The main section of the former school was demolished, leaving only the three apartments in the wings on a large parcel of land. 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.

View north east, August 2012 (via Google Streetview)

View south east, August 2012 (via Google Streetview)

View north west, August 2012 (via Google Streetview)

View north, 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.

The rezoning of this property failed, and as of 2020, Mathewson is still trying to sell the land to a developer to redevelop the property.

As of 2021, Mattewson's owner group began to market invidivual lots for sale, and these lots began to sell in early 2022. In May 2022, the last remnants of the West End School were demolished.

05.04.22 (G. Kueber)

05.04.22 (G. Kueber)

05.04.22 (G. Kueber)

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