Request to Demolish Historic Charleston School Denied

July 12, 2018, 9:57 am EST | Share:

CHARLESTON, SC (BILL BURR, WTAT-TV) — A brick building on Charleston’s East Side is a throwback to the 1930’s. Henry P. Archer School is a cornerstone of the community. It taught African-American students during segregation.

“My mother and grandmother attended the school,” said resident Genea Galloway.

She explained how two generations of her family walked through the doors of Archer School.

“There may be a monument or there may be something that is in our community that represents hope and progress. And Henry P. Archer is that for many people,” she said.

That’s what several supporters of the school told the Board of Architectural Review Wednesday afternoon.

Members of the BAR talked about a request from city officials to demolish the building so the Nassau Street property can be redeveloped.

“All my family members have attended that school. So it’s very sentimental,” said resident Latoya Gamble.

She also has close ties to Archer. She thinks city leaders are doing a disservice by wanting to tear it down.

“If I’m a homeowner and my house is historical, I think the city should be held to the same standard as a homeowner. If the building is historical, we should preserve our historical buildings,” she said. “I just don’t think we should go for the quick fix.”

After a brief discussion, members of the B.A.R. voted against demolishing the building. School advocates believe the decision will unlock a new future for the aging neighborhood.

“We just have to embrace history. Good, bad, or indifferent,” Gamble said.

The B.A.R. agreed it was okay to take down a 1960’s-era building still on the property because it may not meet historical criteria. But members say they want to research it more before making a final decision.

Several people who want to save the school believe the building should be turned into affordable housing.

They say the former Immaculate Conception School at Coming and Morris Streets is a good example of what to do.