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

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)


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. (accessed April 14, 2015).

Origin - location: 



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.


I was there in Tufts cottage and moved to Frye in 1988 I believe. I believe I remember you.


I can remember being there in 1983-84 in tuffs I remember running away and being sent to Carroll hall...Wow! Memories..I wish I could make contact with an old friend named Shontelle...She was so special...However I did end up being a good guy...I'm a very successful dj at the moment..I really would like to thank Mr Floyd Mrs.rose, Mr Russell..etc...Made a big difference in my life...


I remember you Tommy in Carroll Hall. I was the handsome Filipino guy LOL. Shout out to Mr. Mack., Mr. Thompson, Mr Auman and Mr. Rose. Good to hear you became successful, many of us got a chance to overcome obstacles but many of us didn't either......


Can you please connect me with reference librarians at the NC Government and Heritage Library. I am seeking information about the years my mother lived in Samarcand Manor.


Hi Suzanne,

Thank you for visiting NCpedia and taking time to share your question.

The records for Samarcand Manor are currently administered by the N.C. Department of Public Safety and they are housed at the State Archives of North Carolina.

By separate email I am sending you contact information for both the State Archives and the Department of Public Safety with additional information about making your request.

I hope this helps,

Kelly Agan, N.C. Government & Heritage Library


I was at Samarcand Manor and graduated in 1969. I would love to hear from some of the girls who were there then. I didn't think it was a bad place and most of the counselors there was really nice people. If I hadn't been sent there I don't know what my life would have turned out like.


Hello Thelma. I too graduated from in 1969. Mrs. Mitchell was there at that time. I am grateful for my experience there.


Hi Thelma I was there 67-71 my name was Doniese I'm a black female. I was an honor escort. Until I started reading these comments I had forgotten all the names of the staff. When I first arrived something happened to me & I ended up in the infirmary after going to miss Mitchell's house to feed her cat. Every now & then I get memories about it but then I try to block them out. I am still haunted by it all. Do you think you remember me however there were several cottages & no way anyone could know all the girls that were there. I sang the solo in the Christmas performance every year...I wonder as I wander out under the sky, how Jesus the saviour did come forth to die. I can still recite that entire performance, song & narration.


Hello Doniese, I was at Samarcand during the same time, I think I recalled that you was in hairdressing, and did a really good job on all the sisters hair. I recalled the girl Rose and Carol the redheaded singer, we was in the same house down the hill, called Tuft Hall , I was next to the big house across from the ball field. I recalled movie nights and singing and this one girl name Christine that always wanted to sing This land is Your Land This Land is My Land, and the Christmas shows and if I am correct they built a pool there the year I left. The place saved me, because I learned so much there. and it put me on the path to thinking wiser. I have only good memories of the place.

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