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Wednesday, August 14, 2013


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Billy Jones

When I was growing up that was the site of Bessemer High School and later Bessemer Jr High School where I attended for 1 year. Across the street, behind Bessemer United Methodist Church, next to where Wendover runs was the Bessemer Community Center built by 3 churches, Bessemer Methodist, Bessemer Baptist and the Presbyterian Church on Phillips Ave. The community center was larger and better equipped than any community center the City of Greensboro operates today with the exception that it had no pool. There were athletic fields, basketball courts open 24/7, outdoor kitchens, a giant picnic shelter, young children's playground... Often, 3 or more large groups would meet at the community center at the same time without bothering one another.

The huge 2 story brick building remaining today is used by a church and most of the property is grown up and not well maintained. And the reason there were no downtown "riots" back then could have been in part the fact that every weekend the Bessemer Community Center held dances for all the teenagers,

That is, except for some of the really strict Baptist families who didn't allow their kids to listen to Rock-n-roll or dance... But some of those kids lied to their parents and danced anyway. ;-)

Bessemer High School was the center of the community, a pillar and its deliberate destruction at the hands of the City of Greensboro and the bulldozing of East Greensboro's successful commercial districts marked the beginning of the end of our neighborhoods here in what we now call East Greensboro, an area that went south from McConnell Road to roughly White Street and east from Summit Ave to roughly where Burlington Rd merges with Wendover Ave, about 1/8-1/4 of the City of Greensboro.

You'll notice that unlike other elementary schools, Erwin has a gym-- the last vestige of Bessemer High School and a community destroyed so Greensboro's precious downtown could prosper.


School Days All over the country they start today. So much to get ready. New backpacks, school supplies, new shoes...Another year.

Jane T. Mitchell

Reading Billy Jones' commentary, I can't help but wonder if he knew my friend Aliee Moore who also attended Bessemer Elementary and High School, although she transferred and graduated at Curry School. She, too, had fond memories of her childhood in the Bessemer neighborhood.

Roger Green

Gotta say - that bush in front of the sign is really bugging me!
But a nice story and comments.
ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Billy Jones

Can't say as I knew Aliee Moore but I'm sure I knew someone who did.


Billy: You so much about East Greensboro. Im going to drive back out there and try to find all of those churches you mentioned. Originally, wasnt Bessemer 1st-12th? Do you know what year Bessemer was built and what year it ceased being Bessemer? Is that the exact building with just a new façade? 

Ill bet you knew the Moore Family. They lived on Elwell. She had a brother.

As always, thank you so much for your comments. 


Janis & David

Eleanor Jean Clapp Lambert died at the age of 80. Her obituary is in the News and Record today. She was a graduate of Bessemer High School, which evolved, over time, into Erwin Montessori.

Reader Wil

What a great tribute to Clyde Atkinson Erwin. I once worked at a Motessori school during my studies.
Thanks for sharing this post.
Wil, ABCW Team

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