The Greenville Piedmont

Thursday, April 30, 1981

Greenville, S.C.


Memories of old school linger…


By Al Dozier

Piedmont suburban reporter


   The old brick schoolhouse on Main Street, Taylors, will close in the spring.


   Taylors Elementary School will move this fall across Wade Hampton Boulevard to its new facility on Reid School Road.


   But thousands of Greenvillians who received their primary or high school educations at the school will remember it as a downtown Taylors institution.


   Eastside families, who have been pushing for a new elementary school in the Taylors area for the past five years, are looking forward to getting the children into the new air-conditioned facility.


   The Taylors Fire Department will be glad to see a potential fire trap closed as a public school.


   And, teachers will no longer have the interruptions of trains whistling by their classroom windows.


   But for the alumni of the school, the forerunner of Wade Hampton High School, the closing means the passing of an era.


   Jean Flynn of Taylors is the most likely authority in the school’s history.  She has chronicled the development of the Taylors First Baptist Church, and the histories of the two institutions are intertwined.


   After consulting her meticulous history of the church, she found that the school first moved to downtown Taylors from nearby Chick Springs in 1880.


   “They cut the school room into bits and pieces and moved it with mules,” she said.  “It took the men of the community eight days to move it.”


   The church, which was also in Chick Springs, followed the school to the area in 1885, and the two stood side by side at the present site of the church on Main Street in Taylors.  It was rebuilt on the same site.


   In 1928 a new school building was constructed on the present site.


   Miss Flynn said Taylors School became a high school in 1908, one year after a state law was passed providing for high schools in the state.


   “They must have been progressive to want a high school as soon as the law was passed,” Miss Flynn said, “High schools were rare back then.”


   Taylors was a sparsely populated, rural farming community at the turn of the century, but the town took on a different character when the railroad and mill came in the early 1900s.


   Dr. Henry Howard, who came to the school as principal in 1922, said the P&N Railroad and Southern Bleachery contributed heavily to the tax base.


   According to Miss Flynn, P&N came to Taylors in 1913 and Southern Bleachery in 1923.


   “At the time, some thought we were better off financially than any other school district in the area,” Howard said.  “The taxes were low, but because of the business in the area, the school district had money.”


   The high school was accredited by the Southern Association of Schools.  In addition to the Taylors area, Howard said the school served Brushy Creek, Rock Hill, Reid School, and Fairview elementary schools.


   Howard, now 85 and still living near Taylors, recalled the wooden gymnasium on the rear of the school property, which the school shared with Southern Bleachery.  It was there that Lyle Alley, later to become Furman University’s basketball coach, began his coaching career with the Southern Bleachery basketball team.


   Another longtime Taylors citizen, Ansel Alewine of Taylors Lumber Co., recalled the special relationship the school and the community enjoyed with the mill.


   “Not like some others of the time, it was a good relationship,  he said.  “It wasn’t what you might consider your average mill community.  It was something better than that.”


   None of the oldtimers could pin down the date, but sometime in the 1940s, during a Christmas recess, the school burned down and had to be rebuilt.


   Taylors School discontinued high school grades when Wade Hampton was completed in 1960, but continued as an elementary school.