South Carolina Education - Cherokee County

Year County Established

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Cherokee County


Founded in 1845 as the Limestone Springs Female High School by Dr. Thomas Curtis and his son Dr. William Curtis, distinguished Baptist clergymen. The school thrived until falling on hard times during the Civil War and Reconstruction. In 1881 the institution was revived by New York benefactor Peter Cooper as Cooper-Limestone Institute. Renamed Limestone College in 1898.

[Note - when the Limestone Springs Female High School opened in 1845, it was in the town of Limestone Springs in the Spartanburg District. In 1879, the town of Limestone Springs was renamed to Gaffney. In 1897, Cherokee County was created and Cooper-Limestone Institute was now in Gaffney, the new county seat of Cherokee County.]

On February 21, 1898, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to require the County Treasurers of Spartanburg, Union, and York Counties to transfer certain appropriate public school funds to the recently-created Cherokee County.

This is the original location of Granard Graded and High School, also known as Granard Street School. It was built here between 1905 and 1914 and included the first black high school in Gaffney. The first high school graduating class numbered two students in 1923. J.E. Gaffney served as Granard’s principal for more than thirty years. A new Granard High, a brick building, was built on Rutledge Avenue in 1937.

The 1937 Granard High School included grades 1-11 until 1947, then added grade 12. Standard courses for grades 8-11 were supplemented by industrial and home economics courses, sports, music, art, and other activities. Granard High School organized its first sports team in 1928 and its first band and chorus in 1947. The school closed in 1968 when Cherokee County schools were desegregated.

This Classical Revival building, built in 1913-14 and designed by Arthur W. Hamby, was one of 14 public libraries built in S.C. between 1903 and 1916 with funding from Andrew Carnegie and Carnegie Foundation. A 1938 addition compatible to the original design doubled its size. It served as the Cherokee County Public Library until 1972 and has housed county offices since that time. The building was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2000.


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