Historic Markers Across South Carolina

Wilson School / Wilson High School

Marker ID: SCHM 21-31
Location: on S Dargan St at W Palmetto St (US 76), Florence, S.C.
County: Florence
Coordinates: N 34° 11.618    W 079° 45.961
  34.19363333    -79.76601666
Style: Free Standing **


Wilson School, later Wilson High School, was the first public school in Florence, and stood here from 1866 to 1906. At first a private school for black children, it was established by the New England Branch of the Freedmen´s Union Commission and operated by the Freedmen´s Bureau. Thomas C. Cox, its first principal, later served as Darlington County sheriff. The school became a public school after the S.C. Constitution of 1868 authorized a system of free public schools.

WILSON HIGH SCHOOL Rev. Joshua E. Wilson (1844-1915), a Methodist minister, was an early principal of what was long called “the Colored Graded School.” It was most likely named Wilson School for him. The school on this site, a frame building, was torn down in 1906 to make was for Central School. A new Wilson School was built on Athens Street. Wilson High School was on Athens Street 1906-1956 and on North Irby Street 1956-1982. It has been on Old Marion Highway since 1982.

Erected by the Wilson High School Alumni Association, Inc., 2010