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Could you give a brief history of the original Bradley Creek Elementary School?

Gail Calloway
StarNews
This postcard shows the original Bradley Creek Elementary School.

This postcard shows the original Bradley Creek Elementary School.

Q. Could you give a brief history of the original Bradley Creek Elementary School?

A.The original Bradley Creek Elementary School was a one-story brick school built in 1926 that drew its students from the small, outgrown Sea Gate School. The new modern school had pot belly stoves and water pumps.

Three schools built during that time – Bradley Creek, Wrightsboro and Forest Hills – looked so much alike that it is sometimes hard to tell them apart in vintage photographs.

Bradley Creek Elementary, 6206 Oleander Dr. was an example of a much loved neighborhood school serving the Seagate and Bradley Creek areas. During WWII, a second story was constructed to accommodate the growing student population. Even today the school, teachers , and atmosphere is remembered fondly by the former students.

In 1978, the state Department of Instruction recommended it be closed, but it stayed in use.

Oct. 11, 1982, the school burned down. Between January and October in 1982, there were 17 confirmed acts of arson in the Seagate area. It was a frightening time. The school fire started in the second-floor bathroom and took off from there. There has been a lot of speculation over the years about who started it.

The school was only insured for one third of the rebuild cost, so after this fire the board changed to 100 percent replacement cost on school insurance policies.

The new Bradley Creek School was built in the mid 1980s. The original site is now home to the County Arboretum.

RELATED LINKS:

Why was there a sheriff’s deputy stationed inside the polling place at Bradley Creek Elementary on Election Day?

Who was the Bradley for whom Bradley Creek is named?

 

User-contributed question by:
Holly Reese

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One Response to “ Could you give a brief history of the original Bradley Creek Elementary School?”

  1. On September 22, 2013 at 12:05 pm Kelly wrote:

    I was 14 when Bradley Creek burned. My mom was a teacher assistant there before and after the fire.
    The night of the fire many people showed up and stood there watching and crying. After the firemen thought it was somewhat contained they let my mom crawl in a window and retrieve the class roster. She had to do it very quickly and left behind her scrapbooks of the NC Azalea Festival and one about the Cherokee Indians of NC.
    My dad and brother stood outside with me and a man wearing a green Army jacket approached us. He talked to my dad about the fire and asked about an explosion.
    A few days later the police came to our house and the man was identified by my dad in a series of mugshots. The man was arrested and spent some time in jail. Apparently he thought the gas tank outside the building would explode. A school custodian said later that she saw the man go into the auditorium, she assumed he set the drops on fire on the stage.
    Bradley Creek Elementary will always hold a special place in my heart, not only did my mom work there for 32 years but I was the very first Kindergarten class in Wilmington there in 1972 with Ms. Gary.



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