Winthrop’s Withers Building, home of the Richard W. Riley College of Education at Winthrop University and the Winthrop Training School, marks its 100th birthday this year.
A celebration to commemorate this milestone will be held on Saturday, Nov. 10 in the Withers Building from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.
Winthrop Training School attendees and graduates, Macfeat Laboratory School attendees and graduates, Winthrop University alumni and current students who have attended school in the Withers Building, as well as interested members of the community, are invited to take a stroll through the building, enjoy old photos, visit with friends, and attend a fashion show of clothing from Winthrop’s past.
Withers has for 100 years now, been a landmark in Rock Hill and a source of pride for many Rock Hill natives who attended. Situated on the highest point of land in Rock Hill, Withers’ architectural majesty was inspired by eclectic Tudor Gothic style.
Long a pride of the locals and recognized by the National Register of Historic Places, this beautiful building is ever a reminder of the tremendous vision of the first Superintendent of Columbia County Schools, David Bancroft Johnson, who went on to become the founder and first president of Winthrop. Johnson was an advocate for women’s education and dedicated himself to securing a location and building for higher education where women could pursue their dreams of teaching.
His dream included a kindergarten to twelfth grade school for local youth that would serve as a training laboratory for young teachers. In 1912-13, at a cost of $125,000, Johnson’s dream of a new and suitable home for Winthrop Training School (W.T.S.) became a reality.
Until it’s closing in 1972, W.T.S graduated more than 1,500 students who have fond memories of their school days in the building. In 1969 the Winthrop Training School building was renamed the Withers Building after Sarah Withers, the school’s first principal and a graduate of Winthrop College.
At that time, the Withers became home to Winthrop’s College of Education. The Macfeat Laboratory School relocated to Withers/W.T.S. in 1986.
Walter Hardin, a former W.T.S. student who currently serves as associate vice president for facilities management at Winthrop writes: “The land and buildings were bought and developed with a vision of ‘what can be’. The quality and style were designed and built to endure. The programs have been leading edge throughout the rich history and now it is associated with one who is synonymous with vision, innovation and quality.”