This Georgian Revival school building in downtown Greenwood was completed in 1926 and received its first students that September. The high school’s opening marked the first time that Greenwood students in the lower and upper grades attended separate schools. After the Greenwood Public School System was formed in 1891, the county’s white students initially gathered in a building that belonged to a former private school, which then burned in 1903. The school district built the Magnolia Street School in 1904, which served students in all grades. As the student population at the Magnolia Street School grew over the next two decades, the school district decided to build a new school for its older students and began construction in 1925.
From the early 1900s until 1926, when Greenwood High School was completed, seven other schools were built in the area, including three schools within mill villages and two schools for African-American students. When Greenwood High School opened, its auditorium was still unfinished but soon completed. The gymnasium was added to the campus during the 1929-1930 school year. The school building served as the Emerald Junior High School from the 1970s until 1982. The building was slated for demolition in 1983 but due to strong public opposition, those plans were canceled. Shortly afterwards, the original Greenwood High School was converted into apartments.
The Old Greenwood High School is listed in the National Register:
Construction of the Old Greenwood High School in 1925-26 represented a major advancement in the history of education in Greenwood and Greenwood County. For the first time since the Greenwood Public School System was established in 1891, the upper grades and the grammar school were taught in separate buildings. The high school was built primarily to accommodate the city’s rapidly growing student population, but it attracted students from the county as well. The Old Greenwood High School is a complex of three brick buildings – the main building, the auditorium, and the gymnasium – each of which is in the Georgian Revival style and form a Palladian configuration. Each of the three buildings has a monumental portico supported by six Tuscan columns. Stone is used for water tables, columns, quoins, decorative panels, fascias, window sills, and keystones. The school was a collaborative effort between Greenwood architect James C. Hemphill, senior architect Charles Coker Wilson, and the prominent Columbia firm of Wilson, Berryman and Kennedy. The main building was opened on September 22, 1926, although the auditorium building was not finished, and the grounds were not ready. Formal dedication of the buildings took place in January 1927. The complex was completed with construction of the gymnasium building in 1929-30.