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The History of Charles M. Brandon School

Charles M Brandon School, East Florence Alabama

The Charles M. Brandon School stands as a testament to the dedication of local citizens and the importance of education in Florence, Alabama. The story begins in 1898, when a local resident, Wiley F. Freeman, envisioned a new school "between the Cotton Factory and the Wagon Factory" in East Florence. This grassroots effort, fueled by local community subscriptions, caught the attention of the city council who allocated funds of $2,500 for a school for white children in the Sixth or Seventh Ward. Another $2,500 was also set aside to build a school for black children, the Slater School.

The new school, initially called the "7th Ward School," opened its doors in 1899 on the corner of Ironside Street and Cole Avenue in East Florence. Maud Lindsay, whose free kindergarten program found a home in the school's basement played a prominent role in the dedication ceremony. The school's first principal was Calvin P. Anderson, who led it through its early years.

By 1903, the need for a larger facility became apparent. The school board honored a local philanthropist, Charles M. Brandon, by naming the school after him. Brandon, a businessman and strong advocate for education, left a lasting legacy on the community.

In 1920, the original school building was replaced with a larger brick structure to accommodate the growing student population. This second building served the community for decades. In the 1960s, a third building was constructed, reflecting the continued growth of East Florence.

Sadly, Brandon School eventually closed its doors and was torn down about ten years ago. However, its impact on generations of students remains deeply woven into the fabric of East Florence's history. The school served as a cornerstone of the community, providing educational opportunities and fostering a love of learning for countless young minds.