We are currently in pre-production on a documentary about the Stonewall Jackson School for Wayward Boys, (or the Stonewall Jackson Training School). This school was founded in 1907 in Concord, North Carolina by newspaper owner James P Cook. Mr Cook witnessed an orphaned 13 year old boy sentenced to a prison sentence of 3 years and six month of hard labor after stealing $1.13. He devoted the next 17 years, to starting a training school for boys to help educate them and provide them with skills needed to succeed in life after their release from the school. He then spent the rest of his life ensuring the success of that school.
Through the efforts of several woman’s organizations, money was raised to erect the first two buildings on 300 acres of property in Cabarrus County, and over several years the school continued to grow. Additional cottages were built to house the boys, along with industrial facilities, farming facilities, and a printing press; all to help train the boys and provide them with the beginnings of successful jobs once they left the school. there was also a gymnasium built on the property, complete with a swimming pool. The school, which originally housed 30 boys, would eventually become home to more than 500 boys.
In the mid 1970s the school was converted from housing vagrants, runaways, and “feeble minded” boys to housing more violent offenders, and in the mid 1990s, a smaller, more modern detention area was built in the property. Though the site is on the National Registry for Historic Places, the majority of the buildings on the property have been neglected and have fallen into a state of disrepair. Though many local historians and activists hope to see the buildings renovated and put into use, the State of North Carolina seems content with simply letting them rot away
There are many stories surrounding the Stonewall Jackson Training School. We hope to tell some of those stories. We are currently on the search for both former residents and employees of the school who can share some of their experiences while at the school.
We are also working with local historians from the Historic Cabarrus Association, Inc. to help us to tell these stories accurately.
Anyone who has any pictures or information about the school, or have personal experiences involving the school are asked to contact us so that we may tell as accurate stories about this historical place as possible. If you or someone you know can help, please go to our Contact Us page, and thank you for your help.
See the short SLIDELY video of the property by clicking this link: http://slide.ly/view/bc7ef909ec22ada400f5de6b87ec337e