|South Carolina Department of Archives and History|
|National Register Properties in South Carolina
Grays Consolidated High School, Jasper County (U.S. Hwy. 278, Grays)
|Left Oblique||Main Entrance|| Main Entrance
|Dedication Plaque||Left Elevation|
| Left Elevation
| Rear Ell
|Right Oblique||Rear Elevation|| Interior
The Grays Consolidated High School is significant as an example of school architecture typical of small American towns in the first half of the twentieth century and as a relatively intact, distinctive and tangible representation of the movement toward consolidation of schools in rural areas of South Carolina and the South, first begun in Jasper County in the 1920s. By the 1920s, due to the devastation to Southern cotton production caused by the boll weevil and the effects of the agricultural depression on the economy, children were no longer needed to work on their family farms, and more of them were attending school than ever before. Many small one- or two-room schools, often with only one or two teachers, were consolidated into larger elementary or high schools. Constructed in 1927, the Grays School was essentially rebuilt in 1931, after an arsonist's fire ca. 1929 gutted the building, leaving the walls essentially intact. The school was designed by James Hagood Sams, a prominent Columbia architect. The original building's facade consists of three projecting pavilions, the central one being a gable featuring decorative rafter tails and seven knee braces that accentuate and frame a two-part limestone inlaid plaque. To either side of the entrance bay are banks of six windows of the same size and configuration as those flanking the entry portal. Directly above each of these window banks is a small gabled roof ventilator. At either end of the original section of the building are projecting pavilions with hipped roofs and banks of five windows of the same configuration as others on the building's facade. In 1931 the building was expanded on its south side with a large classroom wing extension and rear ell extension to the west, all with identical brickwork, window and roof eave treatment. The site also includes a contributing outbuilding, a brick boiler room/storage room, likely built contemporaneously with the main school building. Listed in the National Register September 21, 2007.
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