Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Goldston, Chatham County, North Carolina

My Grandmother Hatch (Ola Mae Marley Hatch) graduated from Goldston High School in 1925. While on our trip through North Carolina, we decided to try to find where the high school was located. We had no idea where it was, just that it was in Goldston. So when we arrived we decided we should probably ask someone for help directions. Goldston is not very big. Population, according to Wikipedia is only 268. The downtown area is quaint but small. We were limited on where to go to seek someone's help.  

We saw a little local diner and figured there might be people there that could help us. We went in and scoped out someone that looked like they might be a local who would know the area. There was a very nice lady sitting there, who looked like she was quite comfortable in the setting, so we walked up to her and asked if she knew the location of the high school. She was so nice and proceeded to tell us that she could give us directions to where the school used to be! What? It wasn't there anymore? Another one of those disappointing moments along the trek we have embarked upon.  The sad thing was, she seemed very disappointed that the school had been torn down.  She said the community was not happy about the teardown, but it was not in good enough shape to leave standing.  

Some of the old buildings in Goldston, NC.

When we arrived at the location she had given us, there was not a trace of the main building.  We had a picture which kind of gave us an idea of the setting and there was a big smokestack in the background that could serve as a landmark, but that was gone too.  

Goldston High School.
Picture from the 1948 Gold-Stone Yearbook. (1)
We drove around the block a couple times before we found the actual site and the way we found it was the rock retaining wall that ran along the road in front of the building, as seen in the picture to the right. We got out and walked around the property.   All we could find was where the cafeteria had been (next to the current fire station) and a path that led to it.  The skeleton of the awning that ran between the school and the cafeteria was still standing, giving us an idea of how it was laid out.  

Original retaining wall in front of
what was the old Goldson High School.

The sidewalk that led to the front of the building was still visible, which is sort of visible in the middle of this picture, above the road, behind the wall.    

At the time of the picture of the school, there were very few trees in the front but the area had grown up a lot.  The location was just outside the downtown area and sat at the crossroads of several towns.  It is a beautiful area.  There wasn't a lot out there either, which made it a great location for a school  

Before the high school was torn down, they converted it from a high school to an elementary school.  

The High School was changed into an elementary school
before being torn down.  You can see the
smokestack is still in the background.
We left Goldston with a slight sadness that the school was no longer there.  We were finding that many things are not as they were in the time our family lived in these small little towns.  But we weren't going to let that deter us. We headed off to find our next landmark, which was Bear Creek Primitive Baptist Cemetery and Harpers Crossroads, home of my Great Grandparents.  What would we find there?

(1) From the Gold-Stone High School Yearbook of 1948, The Graphic Press, Inc., Raleigh, NC. From the Classmates.com website.

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