Glimpses of the Past - Southside School

Rare photograph of the original Southside School that was originally located at the corner of Swift and Thaxton (Casewell Street today).

Southside School was rebuilt in 1920 near present-day West Main and Trent streets.

Southside 03
Original floor plan for Southside School near West Main and Trent.

Southside School (ca. 1922).

Old Durham school board records indicate two issues that reflected attitudes of the day... Should teachers who marry resign from the system? And, should students be allowed to dance together at the Senior Banquet? In 1929, "a member of the Teacher's Committee suggested that the school board consider passing a resolution in the near future to the effect that teachers marrying while in service will be considered as resigning their positions as teachers in the Durham School System." And, a 1930 entry from the School Board records states, "An informal request was made from an advisor of girls in the high school to allow the students to dance at their annual Senior Banquet. While the board had no regulation governing the matter, it had been an unwritten custom for a number of years not to allow dancing in the high school. After considerable discussion of the matter, it was a consensus of opinion of the board that no change in policy be made." (source: Wayne Smith)


First grade class at the original Southside School on Swift Avenue. Lewis B. Smith (first row, fifth from left) lived with his parents two blocks south of the school. Photo courtesy of Wayne Smith.

Southside 1949

Southside School (1949)
1st Row Left to Right: Margaret or Barbara Hawley (twins not sure which one), Sandra Allen, Eileen King, Betty Lou Couch, Barbara Ann Estes, Carroll James.
2nd Row Left to Right: Bobbie Jean Rigsbee, Becky Strayhorn, Margaret Echols, Jack Koontz, Silas Le Cates.
3rd Row Left to Right: Joan Parrish, Kathleen Hester, Jo Ann Penny, Martha Gerry, Dorothy Phillips, Wilma Johnson.
4th Row Left to Right: Eleanor Tripp, Janice Pulley, Patricia Avery, Paul Gooch.
5th Row Left to Right: Ann Moore, Bobbie Jean Purvis, Carolyn Rasberry, Carolyn Meachum, (unidentified), Martin Davis.
6th Row Left to Right: Barbara Jean Hicks, Jo Ann Wallace, Mildred Cates, School Principal Mr. C.R. Baucom, Joe James.

Photo Credit: Mildred Hester (special thanks to Strawbridge Studios and Ken Hogan)

EMS Side
Long-time resident and friend, Elizabeth Utley (front-center) provided many vintage photos for the OWDNA web site.

Mr. Baucom
Mr. C.R. Baucom, Principal (1958).

Mrs. Baucom

Upon the death of her husband in 1959, Mrs. Dorothy Baucom became the principal (and kept her husband's nameplate on their desk).

Bonnie Blue grew up in Monkey Bottom in West Durham on what he calls "the hillside." Monkey Bottom was near present-day Ninth Street, a neighborhood peopled by the poor who took textile jobs at Erwin Mills. Bonnie Blue's father worked in Erwin Mills. Bonnie took a job there as a doffer in 1942, a few months before he entered the war. He smoked his first cigar at age 5... "I was hoeing cotton and tobacco even before I could walk good," he said... He remembers his youth, when the mill released his dad early on Saturday afternoons. "Me and my father used to walk years ago, from where I told you on that hill. We'd get us some tow bags to put our fishing gear in. Then we'd set out in in the afternoon and walk across town to 751, below where the bypass is now, go down through the woods to a little spot on New Hope Creek, set out our turtle hooks and stay there all night long," he said... "In the morning, we'd have seven, eight turtles. Then we'd pack up and walk all the way back."... His mother would clean the catch, "throw in tomatoes, 'taters, carrots, everything you put in a Brunswick stew," and invite neighbors for the feast (source: N&O, 5/12/94).