Samarcand

By Research Branch, North Carolina Office of Archives and History, 2006

http://www.ncmarkers.com/

See also: Samarcand Manor (Encyclopedia of North Carolina)

Image of "Samarcand" highway historical marker near Eagle Springs, in Moore County, N.C.  Marker K-34, North Carolina Historical Highway Marker Program.  Used courtesy of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. Samarcand, the State Home and Industrial School for Girls, was established in 1918 as a correctional institute for young women. The concept of the school originated through the work of Presbyterian minister A. A. McGeachy, who believed the state needed a protective care center for delinquent juvenile girls, many of whom were vagrants and prostitutes. 

Named for a Persian city conquered by Alexander the Great, Samarcand was located on 230 acres that had been the Marienfield Open Air School for Boys. The school officially opened on September 17, 1918, and operated as a female counterpart to the Stonewall Jackson Training School in Concord. Dr. McGeachy was elected first president of the board of trustees and subsequently appointed schoolteacher Agnes B. MacNaughton as first superintendent. 

By 1919, Samarcand housed more than 200 females between the ages of ten and twenty-five. The school curriculum consisted of Biblical studies, music, science, and math. In addition, the girls received training in weaving, canning, and laundry preparation, as well as working on the chicken and cattle farm adjacent to the facility. In 1930, the administration opened an accredited high school on the campus, as well as a hospital. 

Discipline at Samarcand could be harsh. Corporal punishment, in addition to solitary confinement, was often administered to the young women who misbehaved. In 1931, sixteen inmates set fire to two of the dormitories. They were charged with arson, and twelve of them set fire to their cells in prison. Eight eventually saw prison time. A 1940 account of the disciplinary ward described mattresses on the floor with no beds and a single washbasin and toilet for nearly thirty girls. 

Samarcand survived the Great Depression and the loss of many male staff during World War II. The state officially renamed the school Samarcand Manor in 1974 and transferred it from the Department of Corrections to the Department of Human Services. Samarcand remained a rehabilitation center for delinquent children and began admitting male patients as well. In 2002, state officials decided to return Samarcand to an all female institution. Samarcand closed in 2011. 

Average: 4.2 (5 votes)

References: 

Henderson, Ida B. “The Work at Samarcand,” The State, April 4, 1936.

News and Observer (Raleigh), October 7, 1928.

State of North Carolina, State Home and Industrial School for Girls, Eagle Springs, North Carolina (1946). William S. Powell, ed., Encyclopedia of North Carolina (2006)

Image Credits:

"Samarcand." Marker K-34, North Carolina Historical Highway Marker Program. http://www.ncmarkers.com/Markers.aspx?MarkerId=K-34 (accessed April 14, 2015).

Origin - location: 

Comments

Comment: 

There were many things wrong with Samarkand but there were some good. Most of the counselors and social workers were good at controlling the environment. As for the school part, I didn't go for more than a week because, when I took the IQ test, I scored above 120 so I had to take the GED test because they told me they had no curriculum for me. When I passed the GED test they decided I would become a "cook".

Being a "cook" meant that scrubbed pots and pans and cleaned up the eating area after each meal. I didn't complain because the real cooks were nice to me and I got paid 10 cent an hour. It was enough to buy me cigarettes. As far as the cigarettes, I had no visitors so I depended on a counselor to purchase them for me but he would take 4 packs of the ten for his trouble.

Eventually, I got transferred to Jackson. The director wrote me up for removing the stripes from my shoes. He said it was a health hazard. I appealed and won. (The appeal went through the school principal and a social worker (Mr' Franklin) but then the director decided to have a hearing (he controlled due process). During the hearing, he wanted me to agree it was a health hazard. I wouldn't and later that night I was woken up and sent to Jackson.

Went to Jackson's Willie M cottage but I got out in 4 months. I was never violent, just didn't like putting up with people who abused their authority. At Jackson, they had enough violent people to put up in that cottage than having to deal with me and during that time, they finally banned tobacco in the juvenile facilities. I was ok, because my job was maintenance worker. I would be in the back of a pick up and jump out and pick up trash for 15 CENTS and hour. A whole lot better than killing myself cleaning up those eating area's!!!

Comment: 

I was at Samercand in 1975 for several years. because i would not go to school.I was 11years old. there was no boys there at this time. matter of fact you could not say the word boy"at one time. i stayed in all the cottages. worked all the jobs. . my last joy there was top of school . I worked at the Manor. II ran errands for the women who worked there. ran the canteen . done all cleaning there.ON Sunday the girls who had visitors i took name of them 2 the cottage they lived in. and escorted them back 2 the Manor for there visit. things were not going good in my home. no food . clothes to wear to school. at a time when it is important to girls. As i look back in time . i am 71 years old now ha . parents should have been there not the kids. if any of you old Lady's like my self think u remember me.would love to hear from u

Comment: 

Samarcand was recommended to me as a strong option for shooting my short film late fall. I would love to know if you can give me an email contact to reach someone who is able to give permission to access the property for such a reason.

many thanks,
rebecca

Comment: 

Samarcand is being rebuilt into a training academy for the Department of Public Safety. they have torn down most of these buildings and rebuilt them into other things.

Comment: 

Dear Rebecca, 

Thank you for visiting NCpedia.  I believe that Samarcand is under the admistration of the N.C. Department of Public Safety.  You may want to contact that agency with your question.  Here is a link to their webpage, where you can locate contact information: https://www.ncdps.gov/es/About-DPS/Sections/Administration/Samarcand-Tra...

I hope this helps!

Best wishes,

Kelly Agan, NC Government & Heritage Library

Comment: 

Hi, I think my aunt was at Samarcand around 1940.Her name was Juanita Hargrove. she would have been 16 or 17. Any info in her would help. thank you . Loretta Houk.

Comment: 

i was in samarcand manor 1959 - 1960. like to hear from anyone who remembers me.

Comment: 

Hey my name is Jennifer I was at Samarkand in 2002 but i have a strange question for all that has been in Samarkand did any of you ever experienced anything weird there like spirits I'm not trying to be funny but I have a friend who works there now and co-workers seem to be going crazy an some vehicles have been wrecked mysteriously

Comment: 

My son was a resident at Samarcand in the late 70's by order of juvenile court in Wake County. It was a good experience and he never complained. At that time there was a reward system that allowed residents some control over how long they would stay. I think by this time harsh punishment was no longer so common. He behaved much better there than at home and I was thankful for the resource.

Comment: 

I was a teacher at Samarkand Manor from 1985-1994. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life. Though it's been 30 years ago It will always be in my heart. I know the history and culture of the place like the back of my hand. I would love to hear from anyone with a Samarkand memory to share.

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