The Old Boone Trail School in Mamers has been declared a “total loss” after a weekend fire gutted the historic structure.
A news release from Brian Haney, assistant county manager for Harnett County, said officials are “asking the public to stay away from the former Boone Trail High School” as what’s left of the building following the fire is “at risk of collapsing.”
As of Monday morning, smoke was still evident at the site, which had been roped off with caution tape. But images from Monday make clear the building is beyond repair and are even somewhat heartbreaking to history buffs – especially in comparison to how it looked less than a year ago.
When news of the fire broke Saturday night, multiple posts on social media showed its size and intensity, leading to an outpouring of emotion from many who had attended the school as children. It was open from 1928 to 2010.
The school was located at 8500 Old U.S. 421 in the Mamers area of Harnett County. After sitting vacant since 2010, it had been scheduled for demolition last year. That led to an effort by the surrounding community to preserve part or all of the building. A Sunday report in the Fayetteville Observer indicated that progress had been made on that front in the months since:
“In 2017, the County opened the Boone Trail Community Center & Library in the media center and gymnasium,” Haney said. “The County was in the process of engaging Preservation NC to market the vacant portions of the property for redevelopment.”
Preservation North Carolina is a private nonprofit historic preservation organization that seeks to protect historic properties, it says on its website.
All well and good, but where was the preservation effort for WB Wicker all these years. Not to cast a cloud on Boone Trail, but Wicker has much more of a historical presence. Generations of Black Americans have passed and walked those hallowed halls.
Um. There was a preservation effort in the mid 2000s that led to that campus being used by CCCC for several years, and it’s now literally being renovated and expanded for use as the county’s newest elementary school.