Greenville, South Carolina Historical Schools List

Ellen Woodside
High School
1925 - 1965

    Ellen Permelia Charles Woodside was the daughter of Israel Charles and Pamelia Sullivan Charles.  Ellen, the third of eight children, was born on February 13, 1838 near Washington Church, on the road leading from the Ware Place to Pelzer.  Later, the family moved to the old Israel Charles place on Augusta Road - the two-story house with four chimney's, a mile north of the present Ellen Woodside Elementary School.

    At the age of nineteen, Ellen Charles married Dr. John Lawrence Woodside.  Ellen Woodside's eldest grandchild wrote that her grandmother had an orchard and that one particular apple tree had grown from a branch she used to spur her horse when she rode away sidesaddle on her honeymoon.  During the Civil War, when Dr. Woodside was away, Mrs. Woodside regularly treated patients who needed medical help.  Ellen and John Woodside had nine sons and four daughters.

    The project of building the Ellen Woodside High School building was conceived several years before the actual work began.  Several meetings of the citizens were held at different times and the building of a high school was discussed.  It was a long time before plans took concrete form and the district was able to finance the project.

    There was a consolidation of two schools districts, Sonoma and Oaklawn/Washington.  After the consolidation, bonds were sold to raise funds for the new high school.  The newly formed district acquired a bond for $13,000 but this was not enough to pay for the kind of high school needed in the community.  At this point Mr. John T. Woodside, son of Ellen and John Woodside, generously donated five acres of his home place acreage on Augusta Road and offered to pay one-half the cost of the first new school building.  With this money available the trustees felt they were ready to move forward with the construction of a building.

    Before construction began, a problem arose as to where to hold classes.  Again, Mr. Woodside came to the rescue.  Initially, classes were held in the Community Hall over the Woodside Store.  Mr. W. C. Hall of Iva, SC served as principal.  The first faculty consisted of three teachers: Mr. W. D. Hall, Miss Anna Prentiss, and Miss Ruby Badger.  Mr. Woodside was asked to serve on the building committee and rendered valuable service to making plans, awarding contracts, supervising the work, and advising the trustees in many of their problems.  Finally, 1924 the contract for the building of the school was let to Mr. J.R. Owen of Greenville, SC for the approximate sum of $30,000.  It was near the close of the first school year, about April 1925, before the building was ready for school purposes.  However, the first term of the High School was finished in the new building.

    After the building was completed and equipped, the trustees determined that they were $5,200 short of expenses.  The three trustees of the High School; Dr. J.F. Stoddard, T.W. Stansell, and A.W. McDavid, went to the Bank of Woodville and signed personal notes for enough money to pay off the debt.  Mr. M.C. Barton, County Superintendent of Education , also helped pay this obligation.  The trustees got the bank note paid without calling on the new school district for help.

    The "new" two-story Ellen Woodside High School grew from three teachers (including the principal) in 1925 to seven full time teachers ten years later.  The School continued to grow, change, and serve the community.  Through the years the school provided night classes for World War II veterans, a community cannery for canning vegetables, and a "potato house" for storing vegetables in the winter months.

    The original Ellen Woodside High School building was destroyed by fire in the late 1940's by a rumored unfortunate circumstance.  A "modern" one-story building was built on the original school site.  By 1966 the new Woodmont High School building was built in Moonville combining students from Ellen Woodside and Piedmont High Schools, and the former high school became the community elementary school.

email 8/13/2006 - updates and corrections will follow with the following information sent:

I am a 1956 graduate of Ellen Woodside High School.  The original Ellen Woodside constructed as you say "in 1925" was not destroyed by fire.  The building was destroyed by dozers about 1965 in order to build the contemporary version that stood on the site until two years ago when it was also bulldozed for the structure that now occupies that site.

My mother attended the original "Ellen Woodside High School" which was upstairs in a store building just North of and on the opposite side of the road from where the new two story structure was built from which I graduated.  That
store building was later a sandwich company that produced packaged sandwiches for market to upstate area businesses.  It did burn sometime in the mid 1940's.  The second floor of that building was removed after the fire and the lower floor was roofed over.  That building is still standing.  An adjoining structure has been removed.  At the time of that fire the two story Ellen Woodside in your photograph was very much intact and continued asthe lower district high school until about 1965/66 when the one story building replaced it.  The metal gymnasium that was constructed by Charley Daniel's Construction for the first two story structure also served the second
structure.  The gymn with it's southern pine bleachers and maple  gymn floor was destroyed without fanfare and over some objections in order to build the architectural monument with two roofs (one beneath the other) that is there now.

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