CARGILE INSTITUTE BURNS

by John Harvey

This past weekend one of Monticello's old buildings burned.  To many it wasn't much of a loss, but then the history of the old building isn't well known to many today.

The old building g on S. Warren Street known as the "Old Legion Hall" began as the Cargile Institute.  It was built at about the turn of the century with funds secured from the Rosevald Fund in New York.  It may have been one of the few buildings built from this fund for the education of Black citizens that was still standing in the South.  At the time of its burning it was being torn down and the lot was being cleaned off. 

An article in the Monticello News in 1913 concerning the reopening of the Monticello Brickyard on Warren Street stated that the brickyard was "across the street and along the branch from the Cargile Institute which is located on the hill going South on Warren Street". 

According to some of the older citizens of Monticello, Jim Cargile, a carpenter and local artisan, went to New York where he secured the funds to build a school and returned to construct the building himself.  "Uncle Jim" as he was known to many older citizens in the 1930's was born in slavery.

He was still active as a carpenter and artisan in the early 1930's when he was 90 years plus.  He once told me when he was doing some cabinet work for my mother that he was six years old when the "Yankee" troops came through Jasper County.  Many of the older house sin town have cabinets, mantels and brickwork that he built. 

In the 1920's the county built a Jasper County Training School building on Mason Street and the old institute building was broken up into rooms for the unmarried teachers at the school.  Later it was broken up into apartments for rental.  After World War II, it became the Legion Hall and was used in that capacity until recent years.  Since then it had been empty and falling  into disrepair.

 

 

Additional Comments:
Transcribed by Suzanne Forte (suzanneforte@bellsouth.net) April 2005,  from copies of articles contained in the Monticello News. There articles were prepared by Mr. 
John Harvey and published in this newspaper during the 1970's and 1980's time frame. Some were under the title "Jasper Reflections", others "Bicentennial Bits".
Permission has been granted by Mr. Harvey for use of these very valuable and informative articles.

Copies of articles provided by Benny Hawthorne.

 

Copyright 2005 - Suzanne Forte