A History of The Building

Groundbreaking for Lincoln Heights commenced in 1923. Originally, the building served as a County Training Center, and the name Lincoln Heights can be traced back to a former member of the school board, Ruben White, who stated that it would “encourage students to reach the heights of Lincoln”.  Like many Rosenwald schools, the original building forms the shape of a capital “H.”  Upon construction, the building consisted of six classrooms, a principal’s office, a storage room, and an auditorium with a stage. The property itself totalled 19 acres of land which allowed for expansion of the school over the years.  The school originally taught grades 1 through 11; however, a 12th grade was added in 1943.  Eight additional classrooms and modern bathrooms located underneath the porch were constructed sometime between 1920 and 1950. The school store and additional classroom space were housed in an agricultural building located on the school’s property. In 1939, a gymnasium for Lincoln Heights was constructed.

A high school, lunchroom, and agricultural building were added onto the property in 1956. This which led to the demolition of a building previously used by the band (two additional classrooms were also once located in this building). The high school underwent renovation in 1960, which led to the creation of two additional classrooms and new bathrooms for the facility. Two years later a gymnasium and tennis courts were added to the high school’s grounds.

Desegregation began in Wilkesboro during the 1965-1966 school year, and the high school was subsequently shut down after the 1966-1967 school year.  Elementary grades were taught in the high school building until the closure of Lincoln Heights at the end of the 1967-1968 term. The Wilkes County Board of Education assured the community that the building would be made available for continued community use. The following year. The  Lincoln Heights Recreation Board was formed.  The Board’s purpose has been to find a lasting use for Lincoln Heights.  Since its closure, Lincoln Heights’ original building has been used for multiple purposes including a daycare and an automotive and technical repairs shop.  The building was slated for demolition in 1984 until a former teacher, Elizabeth Ann Parks Grinton, stood in front of a bulldozer to halt the destruction of the community’s beloved school.  The building was saved and sold for the sum of $1 on January 23, 1986 to the African American citizens of Wilkes County.  Lincoln Heights then entered into a study conducted by the North Carolina Historical Preservation Foundation and is currently recognized as a tax-exempt non-profit organization under chapter 42 of the Internal Revenue Code.1 

While the building no longer serves as a school, it continues to bring the local North Wilkesboro community together by hosting various events throughout the year, such as BBQs and fundraisers. Three rooms are currently being rented out by the Wilkesboro Freemasons (Liberty Masonic Lodge #45 and the North Wilkesboro Masonic Lodge #407).2


[1] Brenda Adams Dobbins, “Wilkes County Training Center/Lincoln Heights School 1924-1968,” (2015). 

[2] A.L. et al, “Lincoln Heights Use and Involvement Plan and Current Use Description”, December 7, 2015.


A History of The Building