Stonewall Jackson Academy

Touring the porch
Last weekend I got severely lost on my way to a baby shower. I’m not sure how these things always happen to me, but on my way to nowheresville (and showing up an hour late to the shower) I found something that made the detour worthwhile: Stonewall Jackson reform school. While I was driving down the road I honestly stopped looking in front of me, transfixed by this collection of condemned dormitories and schoolhouses.

Here’s what I can gather about the place. It was the first juvenile correctional institution in North Carolina, established in 1909. A group called the “Kings Daughters” fought to build it, and the name seems to have been a ploy to get some old confederate soldiers to approve the project. The facility provided an education to the inmates, as well as training them in a trade, such as shoemaking, printing, barbering, textiles and agriculture. The older buildings were condemned in 1994, and are on the National Register of Historic Places. There is still a large juvenile correctional institution on the grounds, surrounded by an impressive 15 ft. fence. On a darker note, boys were often the victims of rape and other violence while imprisoned here, a pretty big activist against rape in prisons was an inmate here.  More info.

Unfortunately the sun was setting by the time I was able to get here and take a few pictures, but I plan to return in the morning and get a few more. After my research I’m a little scared of the place; the whole rape history freaks me out, the boys behind the fence who have committed violent crimes freaks me out, and a specific site of vandalism now freaks me out. The King’s Daughters helped establish the institution, and there is a dorm building named after them. The sign says “Daughter’s Cottage” but the first part has been damaged, so I assume the word “Kings” was sawed off, and I suspect Charlotte’s own “Hidden Valley Kings” gang would have done that. So now I’m afraid of gang members hiding out in those buildings.

The site is really interesting, there’s a lot of fun vandalism in rooms, such as a line of chairs in front of a broken-down piano with another pew jamming closed the door. It’s obviously a favorite spot for local kids to scare each other. I found a ouija board made from sharpie and poster board out on the porch.

more to come!



About kodakkerouacs

Kodak Kerouacs is mostly about photography and travel, though notsomuch travel photography. KodakKerouacs is about living free and loud then telling everybody else about how awesome it is to be free and really, really loud. Written by two girls who love coffee, film, and the open road. View all posts by kodakkerouacs

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