History of Columbia Schools hits the market
The first history of Columbia schools was released this week at the Richland One school board meeting, Tuesday, March 9, 2010. Dr. Warner M. Montgomery completed Columbia Schools, A History of Richland County School District One, 1792–2000, after 10 years of exhaustive research.
The idea originated in 1998 when Montgomery presented Superintendent Don Henderson with a list of questions about the district for a story in The Columbia Star . When his staff was stumped by such questions as “Who was the first black school board member?” and “What was the first school in the district?” Dr. Henderson said, “Apparently we don’t have a very good memory. Why don’t you write a history for the centennial in 2000?”
Montgomery agreed and plowed through the school board minutes, administrative records, and libraries at every school. He missed the 2000 deadline because of the vast amount of information. The 181–page book (plus CD) was completed in 2003 but publication was held up due to changing superintendents and administrative problems.
Columbia Schools tracks the history of Richland One from the creation of the Columbia Academy in 1792 through the bond referendum of 1996 and the capital improvement program of 2000. Montgomery describes Columbia’s first schools; the early administrations of E.S. Dreher, W.H. Hand, and A.C. Flora; annexation and consolidation; growth and crisis of the 1960s; desegregation of the 1970s; innovation and corruption of the 1980s; Board of School Commissioners, 1881–2000; superintendents, 1883–2000; and exemplary teachers, 1883–2000. The CD included with the book contains a history of 131 schools that once were or are now part of the district and an extensive appendix that includes budgets, student enrollment, and schools by opening and closing dates.
The book is available at the Historic Columbia Foundation Museum Gift Shop at the Robert Mills House (Taylor at Henderson), The Columbia Star (723 Queen Street), and The Five Points Bookshop, 718 Santee Avenue, Columbia, SC.