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. 


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 at samarcand in 1990 or 1991 cant remember .ther were boys and girls there then .i took classes in green house .i remember the pool and how you went to school for each subject at different levels like 6th grade reading or 10th grade math what ever you were in that subject .if anyone has any pics of school or no of anywhere online were i can see them please let me know


my name is shane davis i was at samarcand in 1990 or 1991 and i would love to see some pics of the places that saved my life.i remember the pool .i took classes on greenhouse work .there were boys and girls there then.i remember i had to stay in a place for 30 days before i got to go to school or anything.well if anyone has any pics of place or know any were on line i can look please let me know.thanks


Hi, Shane.

Thank you for sharing this information.

Mike Millner, NC Government & Heritage Library


My mother was there some time in the late 50s or 60, I would like to get some information from her time their! How can I find out about her!


I was at Samarcand and from 63-67. I loved being there. I was able to complete high school and did not have to worry about doing without clothes, food, a place to sleep safely,etc. I would love to see my records from my time there. Most of my time was lived in Ireland . Miss Tommie was our counselor and Miss Lanky was in the kitchen. Such wonderful women!!!


I was there then too 1966


1966 graduate here Addie B McFarland anymore out there that graduated same time? Liz ?


Still hoping there were only 13 of us in the 1966 graduating class still hoping to connect to one of YAULL Lol


Was there in 1962 or 63. stayed in a cottage that had a small pond by my window. You never heard such noise at night in the summer. Crickets, frogs, June bugs and so on. We would put a safety pin into the water with nothing on it and dozens of hungry fish would come at it. Felt sorry for them. There was a strawberry farm behind the pond. I worked in the laundry where there was not water fountain and in the summer it was sooo hot. I would work until I was ready to pass out and then they would take us back just in the nick of time. Not sure but did we get real milk from a nearby farm? We learned nothing there. Made a couple of friends. Would leave when I wanted to and they could not find me for a month or so. Then I would show up when I wanted to. I was not a bad kid and the workers liked me. There was another place that was by a mountain that use to be a milatary base or something that had classrooms in old wooden long buildings that were ugly but the place I stayed was nice and modern a short walk away but the classrooms were in the old series of wooden halls that were not very wide and there where house across the street. Anyone know what the name of it was?


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!!!

Add a comment

PLEASE NOTE: NCpedia will not publish personal contact information in comments, questions, or responses. If you would like a reply by email, please note thats some email servers are blocked from accepting messages from outside email servers or domains. These often include student email addresses from public school email accounts. If you prefer not to leave an email address, check back at your NCpedia comment for a reply. Please allow one business day for replies from NCpedia. Complete guidelines are available at