College of Education, Sport, and Human Sciences

History of the College

Winthrop Training School

Withers/W.T.S. Building is a building with important historical significance on the local, state, and national levels. The site on which the building sits is geographically and archeologically significant as the highest point in the city and was a quarry and workshop for Indian artisans and hunters for thousands of years. The east wing of what is now Withers/W.T.S. Building was originally occupied by Presbyterian High School, founded in 1891. This school was an important landmark of Rock Hill and had an outstanding academic program serving students from several states.

The university purchased the property in 1910 and established the Winthrop Training School (W.T.S.), a model K-12 school which was used by the Winthrop education program as a teaching laboratory school. Inspired by English Tudor-Eclectic architecture, the building was constructed largely with funding from J.P. Morgan and from contributions of Andrew Carnegie, the Peabody Fund, the state legislature, and private individuals. It was completed in 1912 at a cost of $125,000. The Winthrop Training School has been a landmark in Rock Hill and a source of pride for many Rock Hill natives who have attended it. It had one of the best academic programs in the state for decades, exposing a wide variety of social and economic groups to innovative educational environments.

The Winthrop Training School had the most progressive teacher training program in the southeast during its early years which continued through its existence. Examples of innovations include the Macfeat kindergarten program which was a pioneer in applying theories of leading child psychologists of the time, the athletic program which set a model for other schools, and the ungraded primary school experiment in the 1950s.