Tribute to the Past
Every wondered what to do with those old high school memorabilia that you just can't bear to toss in the trash? And you know that's exactly what your children will do with it when you've shuffled off this mortal realm.
Well, a number of Aberdeen High School graduates (and others who attended the school) have found a home for their treasured items -- the Aberdeen High School Museum.
The museum, located in the old depot in downtown Aberdeen, houses everything from old lettermen's sweaters to scrapbooks and trophies.
Former Aberdeen High School Red Devils John Sloan and his wife, Harriet, got the ball rolling when they took some of their memorabilia to a reunion back in 2002.
"Several people suggested that we needed to start a museum," says Harriet Sloan. "Betsy Mofield, who was the mayor at the time, offered us a little nook in the depot."
Local banker Johnny Burns, who graduated from Aberdeen High, credits the Sloans with the success of the little museum.
"John and Harriet were part of the reunion committee," he says, "and they just continued their efforts with the museum."
The Sloans began by stocking the museum with their personal collection, but as word spread among those that had attended the school, more and more items arrived.
The museum was initially located in the back room of the depot, but has recently moved into two rooms in the front.
"The model railroad club will be moving from Campbell House in Southern Pines, and they are going to use that space," says John Sloan. "We got a little more space out of the deal."
Front and center in one of the new rooms is a rug on which is painted the school's mascot. The artist is Mary Campbell "Cam" Cline, the Sloans' daughter.
Among the items displayed is the basketball goal that was on a pole in the school parking lot.
"John had dragged that home and put it under the house," says Harriet Sloan.
An unusual donation came from the W.H. McNeill family. They had acquired a wooden science lab desk (circa 1925) that was used at the school.
"We were really excited to get that," says Harriet Sloan.
Mildred Hill Campbell has donated a girls' basketball uniform from the early 1920s, and a cheerleader's uniform from 1960 is also on display.
Photographs, old programs, and other memoriabilia line the walls of the two rooms.
"Aberdeen Elementary School called to tell us that they had some old annuals," says Harriet Sloan. "So we have almost all of the yearbooks."
Anyone who wants to make a donation is encouraged to do so, says John Sloan.
"We'd be happy to have photos, uniforms, scrapbooks or anything relating to the school," he says.
The frame school building constructed in 1909 was replaced by a brick school in 1913. That school housed first through 11th grades (until the early 1940s, there was no 12th grade in North Carolina schools). In 1922, a new school was built on U.S. 1 (the current Aberdeen Elementary School) to house the lower grades,, and the old brick building became a high school. Eventually the elementary school moved to the old school, and the high school took over the U.S. 1 site. The old brick school was destroyed by fire in 1949. The last high school graduating class was in 1969.
"We open the museum at an agreed-upon time when various classes hold reunions," says John Sloan.
To donate items or to arrange a visit to the museum, contact the Sloans at 944-1342.
Faye Dasen may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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