Prince-Carr Elementary School, US Highway 52, Cash: 1970s
For years, I remember driving by this old school in Cash wondering what it was and why it wasn't used anymore. According to the SC Picture Project website, the Prince-Carr Elementary School in Cash was built in the 1950s to provide a segregated elementary school for African-American children that was more on par in terms of quality with Caucasian elementary schools in the area. The school was likely closed in the 1970s when the federal government began cracking down on states that had yet to integrate all children into the same schools. I suppose it might have been used for a little while longer as an integrated school, but I do not recall seeing this school used while I was in public school, which was the late 1980s through the 1990s. It might have still been used at that time by Chesterfield County for some other purpose. Either way, I'm fairly certain it was no longer used as a public school by the 1980s.
The layout of Prince-Carr Elementary School is reminiscent of how the old Long Junior High School in Cheraw was built. That observation should come as no surprise because Long Junior High School was originally the segregated high school for African-American kids. Upon closer inspection however, Prince-Carr looks more similar to how Cheraw Primary School used to look up until the early 1990s. Both had classrooms with doors that were accessible to the outside, as opposed to the traditional indoor hallway, and the door of one classroom would face the door of the adjacent classroom only a few feet away.
Time, of course, has not been kind to Prince-Carr, which is overgrown with vegetation and appears to have been vandalized numerous times over the years. The buildings look to be in no condition to be used again without extensive repairs. I suppose the only reason the buildings still stand is because the county found it cheaper over the years to just leave them be as opposed to having to tear them down. Now it seems that Chesterfield County no longer owns this property, for according to this GIS website, the property was purchased for $28,000 in 2014 by Majeed and Farah Sanori of Springfield, Virginia. In five years of their ownership, the school buildings remain. Why buy the land and do nothing with it?
Because of the dilapidated state of the buildings, I never took more than a couple of steps inside them while taking pictures, although my curiosity kept prodding me to do so. The room with the small stage was likely the lunch room and auditorium, and the room next to it with the green ceiling appears to have been the kitchen. Although the busted television is old enough to have been used at Prince-Carr while it was still a school, it is also just as likely that someone simply took it out of his house sometime ago and dumped it off there.
The entire time I was there, I couldn't shake this feeling of unease. It could have been the dilapidation of the buildings. It could have been the constant squeaking noise that probably belonged to a rat or bat that I kept hearing in the lunch room. It might have been some of the graffiti I saw...no, not the picture I posted here with the funny grammatical error (in an old school building, of all places!). You know what? It was likely something I ate that day.