Coulter Memorial Academy Historic District

National Register Listing
Street Address:
Rougly bounded by Powe Street, Front Street, Second Street, and Kershaw Street, Cheraw, SC (Chesterfield County)

NRHP Nomination

Record Number:
Description and Narrative:
Coulter Memorial Academy Historic District is significant at the local level in the areas of Education and Ethnic Heritage: Black as a private and later segregated public school for African Americans. The seven structures that make up the Coulter Memorial Academy Historic District date to the early-to-mid twentieth century and are also locally significant under Architecture. The district’s importance to African Americans in Cheraw is rooted in the founding of a local Presbyterian mission in 1881, with the period of significance (1924-1970) covering the construction of the earliest extant building through the desegregation of the Chesterfield County school system. Coulter Memorial Academy (previously, Coulter School or Coulter Academy) opened as a small day school for African Americans during a period when white leaders in South Carolina worked to limit educational opportunities for African Americans. Under the leadership of Reverend George W. Long, Coulter Memorial Academy came to include middle school, high school, and junior college levels by the mid-twentieth-century, as well as a special curriculum to train elementary school teachers. After World War II, Coulter Memorial Academy transitioned from a private school to become one of the few Black public schools in Cheraw’s history. Coulter closed in 1955 amid state efforts to preserve segregation by consolidating and improving public schools for African Americans. After Coulter’s closure, the Chapman Training School building continued to operate as an educational facility for African American children as the Barbara Lawrence School. The contributing buildings have at different points housed educational facilities, church buildings, and a restaurant, and they represent several architectural styles including Late Gothic Revival, Classical Revival, and Craftsman. Listed in the National Register September 26, 2022.
Period of Significance:
1924 – 1970
Level of Significance:
Area of Significance:
Ethnic Heritage: Black;Education;Architecture
National Register Determination:
Date of Certification:
September 26 2022