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Lincoln School: Historical Sketch

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▶ Lincoln School History

- from "Souvenir Program, Dedication of the New Lincoln High School, Wheeling, W. Va., Sunday, December 5, 1943."


Lincoln School was founded in 1866 by Dr. Hupp and John Jackson. It was among the first public schools established for Negroes in the United States. A two room house was secured at the head of Twelfth Street. The West Brothers of Mt. Pleasant, Ohio, were placed in charge and about 14 or 20 pupils were instructed in the rudiments of education. The next principal was a woman whose name was Miss Carter. Then came William Gaskins, also from Mt. Pleasant, Ohio, who served well until called by death in 1882. The next principal was a man who became an outstanding character in the field of education and leader among his people. He was James McHenry Jones. During his administration, the school was raised to a high standard of efficiency. He remained as principal until 1900 when he was appointed as the president of West Virginia Colored Institute at Institute, W. Va.

In 1875, the school was moved from Twelfth Street to the present site at Tenth and Chapline Streets. The building had formerly been used by the white children of Madison District which included the Island and the territory between Ninth and Twelfth Streets. It was called the Second Ward School. After the school was given over to the colored pupils, it was called Lincoln School in honor of the Immortal Abraham Lincoln. In 1892, this building as burned to the ground and in 1893 the present building was constructed. Thus, it has served the pupils and colored people of this community for 50 years.

James McHenry Jones was succeeded in 1900 by his brother, Flem B. Jones, who held the position until 1908. J. W. Hughes was next appointed principal and remained until 1914. The High School Department was established in 1900 and in 1908 the Manual Training and Domestic Science Departments were added.

In 1914, the present Principal, J. H. Rainbow was appointed. Athletics and other extra-curricular activities were added to the Program. The Manual Training and Domestic Science Courses were expanded and intensified so that full time teachers were employed. Within a few years, the enrollment increased from 168 pupils and 7 teachers to 450 pupils and 20 teachers. In 1914, there were only 11 pupils in the Senior High School. The Principal and the late Mrs. Laura Grayson-Morison taught all the classes in the High School. Today, we have an enrollment of 202 students and 10 teachers devoting full time to this work. Although laboring under great handicaps, nevertheless, because of superior trained teachers, Lincoln High School has achieved high honors in competition with other schools in Athletics, Literary and Declamatory Contests and other activities. Lincoln's graduates have been able to enter the various outstanding colleges of the country and make excellent records in scholarship and leadership. Now, with this most modern and well equipped edifice, we hope to turn out boys and girls well prepared to do the work of the world and the practical things of life.


There are now 14 classrooms, including a model apartment with dining room, living room, kitchen and laundry; two large rooms; rooms for industrial arts courses; a well-equipped library and science rooms. The large assembly room, where the opening exercises will be held, will seat 200 people. Plans call for the post-war addition of an auditorium and gymnasium. When the third floor and auditorium have been added, the old red building will be entirely eliminated, as space will be inadequate to take care of the entire colored school population.

Classes are being conducted this week in the new structure, which is considered one of the finest color educational institutions in the state. There are 200 students in the six-year high school being trained by ten teachers under the supervision of Principal Rainbow. The first six grade are still being taught in the old adjoining red building having 174 pupils, while 90 are enrolled in elementary classes at Dunbar school, Triadelphia.

The building and equipment cost $300,000 and leading concerns having a part in the construction were: Phillip Faris, architect; the Byrum Construction company, general contractor; William M. Clark and Company, Inc., heating, ventilating and plumbing; and Lawrence Electric company, electrical contractor. Beautification of the surrounding land was in charge of the Wheeling Landscape Commission.

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