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Samarcand

By Research Branch, North Carolina Office of Archives and History, 2006

http://www.ncmarkers.com/

See also: Samarcand Manor (Encyclopedia of North Carolina)

Image of "Samarcand" highway historical marker near Eagle Springs, in Moore County, N.C.  Marker K-34, North Carolina Historical Highway Marker Program.  Used courtesy of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. Samarcand, the State Home and Industrial School for Girls, was established in 1918 as a correctional institute for young women. The concept of the school originated through the work of Presbyterian minister A. A. McGeachy, who believed the state needed a protective care center for delinquent juvenile girls, many of whom were vagrants and prostitutes. 

Named for a Persian city conquered by Alexander the Great, Samarcand was located on 230 acres that had been the Marienfield Open Air School for Boys. The school officially opened on September 17, 1918, and operated as a female counterpart to the Stonewall Jackson Training School in Concord. Dr. McGeachy was elected first president of the board of trustees and subsequently appointed schoolteacher Agnes B. MacNaughton as first superintendent. 

By 1919, Samarcand housed more than 200 females between the ages of ten and twenty-five. The school curriculum consisted of Biblical studies, music, science, and math. In addition, the girls received training in weaving, canning, and laundry preparation, as well as working on the chicken and cattle farm adjacent to the facility. In 1930, the administration opened an accredited high school on the campus, as well as a hospital. 

Discipline at Samarcand could be harsh. Corporal punishment, in addition to solitary confinement, was often administered to the young women who misbehaved. In 1931, sixteen inmates set fire to two of the dormitories. They were charged with arson, and twelve of them set fire to their cells in prison. Eight eventually saw prison time. A 1940 account of the disciplinary ward described mattresses on the floor with no beds and a single washbasin and toilet for nearly thirty girls. 

Samarcand survived the Great Depression and the loss of many male staff during World War II. The state officially renamed the school Samarcand Manor in 1974 and transferred it from the Department of Corrections to the Department of Human Services. Samarcand remained a rehabilitation center for delinquent children and began admitting male patients as well. In 2002, state officials decided to return Samarcand to an all female institution. Samarcand closed in 2011. 

References: 

Henderson, Ida B. “The Work at Samarcand,” The State, April 4, 1936.

News and Observer (Raleigh), October 7, 1928.

State of North Carolina, State Home and Industrial School for Girls, Eagle Springs, North Carolina (1946). William S. Powell, ed., Encyclopedia of North Carolina (2006)

Image Credits:

"Samarcand." Marker K-34, North Carolina Historical Highway Marker Program. http://www.ncmarkers.com/Markers.aspx?MarkerId=K-34 (accessed April 14, 2015).

Origin - location: 

Comments

Comment: 

Diana. Iam Rose. I was in the choir with you and Mrs. Albert. I was an honor girl that worked in mrs Mitchell's house. Omg. I use to sing solos too. Carol Allen did too. Red hair. This is unreal reading your words. You have a good memory. I was in charge of building the Amphi outdoor theater at the lake under Mrs. MITCHELL. Remember that. Remember singing the song I love little Willie I Do MaMa. In the Auditorium on our nites out. Please contact me. This is unreal.. Rose

Comment: 

I graduated valedictorian at Samarcand in 1962. Was there for a total of 4 years ending in 1962. Would love to hear from anyone there during that period.

Comment: 

Hello Donita,
I was there from 1962 to 1964. My parents were having problems at home and to protect me, the State placed me in the school. There was just no other alternative. I lived in Carol Hall the entire time I was there. I look back on that time as a blessing because it made me to be there person I've become today which is a successful business woman with a marriage that is 45 years young!!! I remember Mrs. Mitchell and Miss Harris. Not really sure what her function was. I was in the choir and of course, loved Mrs Albert. Mrs. Caulk was our house counselor and Mrs. Seegers was the cook. I cannot recall any bad personal experiences. I was in the honor group and and just like you, had very grades. I went to Mrs Mitchell when it was getting close to my time to leave the school. I wanted to remain there and graduate. At that time, we could skip 11th grade and go right from 10th to 12th. My situation at home had changed though. My Mother passed away and my Father remarried a very nice woman and there was stability. After I left, I continued to receive letters from Mrs. Caulk and Mrs. Seegers. Unfortunately, my Father no longer wanted me having communication from any counselors at the school. I would love to know about your experiences at the school, where you lived there and just whatever you would like to share.

Comment: 

How do I go about finding the records of this place? My great-aunt was here but no body living now knows when. My mother wants to know.

My great aunt's name was Viola "Dixie" Benge. She was born on February 17, 1914 and died September 3, 1970.

Thank you.

Comment: 

Dear William,

Thank you for visiting NCpedia and taking time to share your comment and question.

By email, I am going to connect you with reference librarians at the N.C. Government & Heritage Library.  A librarian will contact you shortly to help you with this question.

Good luck and best wishes,

Kelly Agan, NC Govt. & Heritage Library

Comment: 

I was at Samarcand 1966

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