The engraving on this cornerstone reads “Florence Graded School 5892″. While the correct interpretation of the numbers is still somewhat of a mystery, it is safe to conclude from the engraving that this stone served as the ceremonial cornerstone of the Florence Graded School. The Florence Graded School building has long since been demolished, but we do have record of it’s location and various uses over the years (see Timeline below). Cornerstones, like the one pictured above, were typically set in a prominent location on the outside of a building, with the inscription on the stone facing outward to indicate the construction dates of the building and the names of architect, builder and other significant individuals.
The Florence Graded School was the first brick school building constructed in the city of Florence. At the time of the building’s construction, it was considered to be the nicest school in Florence. Before the FGS was organized in the early 1890′s, the children of the Pee Dee attended various small schools located within their specific communities. These schools met in smaller wooden buildings not unlike the Henry Timrod School that is still standing today in Timrod Park.
Pictures of the Florence Graded School
FGS Building Timeline
Chronology based on information obtained from History of Florence, Henry E. Davis
Prepared by Stephen W. Motte , May 4 , 2012