Printer-friendly page


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: 



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!!!


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


I was there in 1965-1966 I'm 69


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,


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.


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:

I hope this helps!

Best wishes,

Kelly Agan, NC Government & Heritage Library


Hi, Kelly - pardon me for stepping in, but I noticed that you are with the NC Government & Heritage Library. Do you happen to know where the records from Samarcand were sent after they shut down?


The best place to check to learn about the records is the State Archives of North Carolina. Some may be restricted. Their website is 

Thanks for using NCpedia!

Michelle Underhill, NC Government & Heritage Library


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.

Add a comment

PLEASE NOTE: NCpedia provides the comments feature as a way for viewers to engage with the resources. Comments are not published until reviewed by NCpedia editors at the State Library of NC, and the editors reserve the right to not publish any comment submitted that is considered inappropriate for this resource. NCpedia will not publish personal contact information in comments, questions, or responses. If you would like a reply by email, note that some email servers, such as public school accounts, are blocked from accepting messages from outside email servers or domains. 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