Goodnight Raleigh - a look at the art, architecture, history, and people of the city at night

High School, Raleigh, N.C.

Raleigh High School_web

Our Flashback Friday postcard this week depicts a rare view of a long-lost Raleigh landmark — Raleigh High School. This was Raleigh’s first public high school, and was erected on W. Morgan St. between the city water tower and First Presbyterian Church in 1907.

Raleigh High School_back_web

Notice the stamp position — Following a popular practice of the early 20th century, the placement of the stamp represented a coded message from the sender to the recipient. In this case, sideways, head to the left, signifies “I promise not to leave you.”

Feb. 27/11
Shall mail Betterment pamphlet this week. Have also a leaflet in preparation. Our stereopticon is a gem & is very popular in the rural schools. Know of $700 that has been made within last month at small schools. Love & good wishes.
E. R.

I wonder if ‘E.R.’ was a traveling salesman of the period, writing home to his sweetheart back in Ithaca, NY. A ‘stereopticon’ was an early type of “magic lantern,” or slide projector, fitted with double lenses so that one projected image appears to dissolve into the next as it is forming, thus producing a narrative visual presentation.


This ‘Phoenix’ stereopticon was made by the McIntosh Co. of Chicago.

American lantern and slide manufacturers, founded in the 1880s by the Civil War physician Dr Lyman D. McIntosh. The company, in later years trading as the McIntosh Stereopticon Company, manufactured medical devices and a wide range of sciopticon lanterns and school lanterns. They also offered gas-making apparatus, lantern accessories and slides. (1880s-1930s)



Raleigh’s First Public High School

Even after the establishment of the Raleigh public school system in 1876, secondary education could be obtained only through private schools. Realizing the need for college prep in the 20th century, the school board established Raleigh High School in 1905. They invited the respected local educator, Hugh Morson, headmaster of the private Raleigh Male Academy, to serve as principal. (Washington School, established as a private school in 1869, was reorganized by the school system in 1916 as the public high school for African American students.)

The imposing brick building seen in this week’s postcard was built on W. Morgan St in 1907. It consisted of eight classrooms, an auditorium, administrative offices and an extensive basement. The enrollment in 1908 was 500 students.

During the influenza epidemic of 1918-19, Raleigh’s public schools were closed, and the high school building was commandeered as a quarantine sanitarium for flu victims. Following its return to educational purposes, a large seven-room annex was added in 1922 to accommodate a rapidly growing student body.

A New Horizon

By the mid ’20s the school board realized the 20-year old Raleigh High School building could no longer accommodate the city’s high school-age student population. The board contracted with South Carolina architect C. Gadsden Sayre in 1923 to design four modern public school buildings, including a new Raleigh High School and a new Washington High School. Five years later they hired architect William Henley Deitrick to design a second high school facility for white students.

Raleigh High School was later renamed in honor of its first principal, Hugh Morson, and the ‘second’ Raleigh high was named Broughton High School, after local social activist and promoter of public education, Needham Broughton.

Sadly, after more than 40 years of service, Morson High School was demolished in 1966. In this century, Broughton High has been designated a  Raleigh Historic Landmark.

Morson + Broughton_web

This double-view, linen-finish postcard depicting Raleigh’s Morson and Broughton high schools was printed by Curt Teich of Chicago in the 1930s.


The Raleigh school board continued to use the old Raleigh High School building for educational purposes until it was closed permanently in 1929. For a few years thereafter, it was occupied by the Salvation Army as a dormitory. The aging building was ravaged by two fires in the early 1930s, and the remaining part was sold for $200. The NC Education Association later occupied the site until the early 1980s. Today, the site of Raleigh’s first high school is occupied by the entryway to First Presby’s parking lot.


Our Flashback Friday postcard this week was published by Raleigh stationer Edward F. Pescud. It was printed by the Albertype Co. of Brooklyn, NY.

The Albertype Co.  1887-1952
205 (260) Adams Street, Brooklyn, NY

Adolph and Herman Witteman had worked as printers and publishers since 1867. They first started printing postcards under the Albertype trademark in 1890. Their collotype cards were printed in the United States. They went on to became a major publisher of view-cards, ultimately producing about 25,000. Their postcards were not numbered; the Albertype name appears within the stamp box on their early cards. When the divided back postcard was federally authorized, the Albertype company created a line down the back of their cards with the words Post Cards of Quality, and later with The Finest American Made View Post Cards. Many publishers printed cards though the Albertype Co. They were purchased by Art Vue Post Card Company in 1952.


“Flashback Friday” is a weekly feature of Goodnight, Raleigh! in which we showcase vintage postcards depicting our historic capital city. We hope you enjoy this week end treat!