Samarcand, 1918-2011: Evolution of a Correctional Institute

On September 17, 1918, Samarcand, the State Home and Industrial School for Girls, was established in as a correctional institute for young women in Moore County.

The concept of the school originated through the work of Presbyterian minister A. A. McGeachy, who believed the state needed a protective care center for delinquent juvenile girls, many of whom were homeless or prostitutes.

Intended as the female counterpart to the Stonewall Jackson Training School in Concord, Samarcand offered a school curriculum that focused on Biblical studies, music, science and math, though the girls received training in weaving, canning and laundry preparation, too. The girls also worked on the chicken and cattle farm adjacent to the facility.

Discipline at Samarcand could be harsh. Corporal punishment and solitary confinement were often administered, and a 1940 account of the disciplinary ward described mattresses on the floor with no beds and a single washbasin and toilet for nearly 30 girls.  In 1974, the school was transferred to what’s now the Department of Health and Human Services, remaining a rehabilitation center for delinquent children.

The state closed the facility in 2011, and it is now the site of a training academy for corrections and law enforcement officers.

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