You’re most likely thinking of the Hemenway Hall fire of May 16-17, 1971. The massive fire, which started on a Sunday night and continued into Monday morning, destroyed the 60-year-old former school building which housed the headquarters of the New Hanover County public schools.
Damages ran into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and school records dating as far back as the 1890s were destroyed. These included records for Williston High School, the county’s historically black high school., which closed in 1968.
The fire occurred during a period of racial unrest, and arson was suspected.
Date posted: January 24, 2011
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