thoughts and images from out of the way places
Forgotten America, Travel

Abandoned Reform School

Sun sets at deserted dorm at Stonewall Jackson

Warm late winter days that we occasionally experience in Western North Carolina are a wonderful cure for the cabin fever brought on by a long  cold winter.  The mild temperatures we enjoyed this past week brought a welcome opportunity to get out and take a short road trip to explore an abandoned reform school that I had read about.  Stonewall Jackson Juvenile Correctional Facility was first established in 1907 as The Stonewall Jackson Manual Training and Industrial School.  It was the first juvenile detention center in North Carolina.  Originally encompassing 290 acres, the present facility is down to 88 acres.

The need for a reform school became evident in the early 1900′s as boys as young as 10 years old were part of the NC prison system.  Some of these children could often be found working  in ‘chain gangs’ alongside adult hardened criminals.  An influential woman’s group, calling themselves the ‘Kings Daughters’ lobbied state legislature for years to get the school established.  Initially young boys were sent to Stonewall Jackson for offenses as minor as school truancy.  During the depression parents would often drop their young children off  at the school because they did not have the means to provide for them at home. The children would receive an education and learn a trade such as machine shop, barbering, and shoe-making.  Almost all youths worked on the farm that supplied the school with food.

chiseled by generations of boys

Most of the buildings I photographed were part of a series of dormitory style buildings that have been abandoned for almost 20 years. As I walked around the now empty campus I could almost hear the long ago voices of the boys whisper through the courtyard.  A narrow  hand-chiseled trough in a huge rock near the gazebo drinking fountain bespoke of a traditional punishment for boys that had misbehaved.  This chastisement served to drain standing rain water that collected on the rock as well as ‘teaching the boys a lesson’.  Near the end of my day at the school, I ran into a grounds keeper that had been employed there for many years. He remembered when the old campus was still open.  He said it had been a beautiful place at one time, mentioning that from time to time he sees old men, once students,  walking around the now empty campus.  When he asks if he can help them they usually reply that they have just stopped by for a moment to reminisce.  Some have good memories, some not so good; but all of them say they will never forget their time at Stonewall Jackson.

Sinks in basement of dormatory

Attic window, circa 1916

Daughters Cottage, probably named after the Kings Daughters.

Gazebo, a place for entertainment during the depression

Dressing room at one of the dormitory

Part of shower area

Door to living quarters.

Stairway to sleeping quarters

Office area

Communal area of a cottage dormitory

Front Parlor in a dormitory

One of several cottages

Old drinking fountain at the gazebo

Old sign points to a long deserted administration building

old pianos in main building

Old sign over roadway

Stairway to heaven….these steps lead to school chapel across the road

Nature reclaims building at Stonewall Jackson School

Doorway to sleeping quarters

This single bathroom served 35 boys

Old classroom

Old work log reports work done on a furnace in January 1994, just before this building closed down for good

Inspection for 1940 furnace

This porch has seen better days

Old porch banister

Resurrection fern

Stonewall Jackson Reform School

piano and spiderwebs

balcony and columns

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145 Comments

  1. I have read a lot on post here. But I can tell you that I know for a fact that Jackson is haunted! I work in the school late as well as the kitchen. Cottage 18 has more evil in it that words can tell. The dumbwaiter in the kitchen goes up and down on it’s own and gets stuck open until you get close to it. In the fall months when it’s foggy the fog forms a skull like shape around cottage 18 and you can see light inside but no power has been in there for years! The devil lives there for sure

    • I am an independent filmmaker and am putting together a documentary on the Stonewall Jackson School. Anyone who has any information, pictures, or would be willing to be interviewed, please contact me at sebtomacproductions.com/contact/. Thank you.

    • I am an independent filmmaker and am putting together a documentary on the Stonewall Jackson School. Anyone who has any information, pictures, or would be willing to be interviewed, please contact me at http://www.sebtomacproductions.com/contact/. Thank you.

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  5. Does anyone remember a boy by the name of Wayne Warf they called him king of the peewees around the 80s he is my dad an he watched a woman he called Moma named sue in the kitchen die from the dumb waiter he was standing beside her wit his head in it with hers they was trying to get a wedged pot that was stuck an he said the lights went out an wen they came bak on he seen it on her an doesn’t ever remember pulling his head out of the dumb waiter any question email at cherry1grl@yahoo.com or call at 8653603289 would lik to find sues daughter if anyone has any information

    • I don’t remember him but I know what your talking about. She was the head baker she worked in the basement that’s where the baking was done. I worked down there after she was killed in the dumbwaiter.

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  8. I have some pics yall might find interesting about the abuse..find me on facebook…lynn burris salisbury,nc

  9. Most often I use my wife’s entry to these websites because I am a recluse–mostly as a result of this lousy place. So I have an idea to shoot by my brothers of the death camp. (Oh, yes. Dozier School in Mariana, FL and Turner Farm in AR did not have the market on murder of its boys. More boys disappeared from Cottage 17’s jails than came back with the bloody wounds.)
    So let’s get right to the point. How do we get the place razed down to the ground? None of us want to see JTS glorified with stores or monuments and so forth after someone has made pithy little photographs to sell to the highest paying architect. Maybe as a park, a happy place with laughter and picnics and such. That’s so much more palatable to me.
    So we need to start figuring this thing out. I was a prisoner rights activist in the Federal prisons for most of the 8 years I was there. But don’t think that an activist is a leader. An activist is a facilitator. Two or three people come up with ideas, and the activist puts all of those ideas together, researches the feasibility, and presents them all as one to the larger body. The body decides what they want to do. He also gets everyone moving on the same ideas and solutions. Yes, I’m an activist, but I am a legal researcher, not a leader. I have never been a leader and I do not want to be. (Too many bullets!!!)
    Now I have offered my suggestion and it is up to you to decide whether you want to do that or do something else. One last suggestion: The way we talk to each other we think of each other as brothers in experiences. We should call each other that, our brothers. Got me, my brothers?
    Incidentally, some of our brothers are cannibalizing each other at the behest of the outsiders who are stripping us by taking pictures and making bids to other outsiders, to sell the area. It was our death camp, not theirs.

    • My father (William Calvin Butler b. 1928) and his brother were sent there because both kept running away from the “county home”. My father learned the smell of death at the county home. It was a place for the learning disabled, orphans, the aged, and terminally ill.

      I am guessing that dad was sent to JTC in approximately 1940. Both my dad and his brother were removed by their granddad in 1942. Does anyone have rolls, records, or pics of this little slice of Hell?. Also, does anyone know the location of a or the “county home”.

      Thank you
      Jo Anne Butler Chrisco.

  10. Russell Dan Smith
    So let’s get right to the point. How do we get the place razed down to the ground? None of us want to see the place glorified with stores or monuments and so forth. Maybe as a park, a happy place. So we need to start figuring something out. I was a prisoner rights activist in the Federal prisons for most of the 8 years I was there. But don’t think that an activist is a leader. An activist is a facilitator. Two or three people come up with ideas, and the activist puts all of those ideas together and present them all as one to the larger body. The body decides what they can do. Yes, I’m an activist, but I am a legal researcher, not a leader. I have never been a leader. Now I have offered my suggestion and it is up to you to decide whether you want to do that or do something else. One last note: The way we talk to each other we think of each other as brothers in our experiences. We should call each others brothers. Got me, my brothers?

  11. So let’s get right to the point. How do we get the place razed down to the ground? None of us want to see the place glorified with stores or monuments and so forth. So we need to start figuring something out. I was a prisoner rights activist in the Federal prisons for most of the 8 years I was there. But don’t think that an activist is a leader. An activist is a facilitator. Two or three people come up with ideas, and the activist puts all of those ideas together and present them all as one to the larger body. The body decides what they can do. Yes, I’m an activist, but I am a legal researcher, not a leader. I have never been a leader. Now I have offered my suggestion and it is up to you to decide whether you want to do that or do something else. One last note: The way we talk to each other we think of each other as brothers in our experiences. We should call each others brothers. Got me, my brothers?

  12. After moving around through all of the websites on this subject, I have come to the conclusion that no one–not even the tortured boys who were there between 1940 to about 1969–wants to take the issue seriously. All they do on their websites is make fluffy statements to each other that sound like so many flirtations. These are not serious comments on the issues that could be covered. I believe now that I was too hard on Anna for hinting at these very serious. Yes, she was wrong in saying that everyone was lying about JTS, but she was dead on when she let it be known that she was not convinced. How could she believe any of them? They don’t have any serious discussions. All they are doing is crying on each others shoulders. I don’t want to take part in that.
    I am a serious writer. The Labadie Collection in the Hatcher Library at the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor maintains 2 1/2 feet (I don’t know what that means, either.) of my writings and lawsuits and records of my activist. I will likely put on file there the fluffy manner of the inmates. The conditions at JTS were placed on file there while I was at the U.S. Penitentiary at Terre Haute, Indiana in 1977.
    When I heard that there was a group focusing on JTS, I determined that I might be able to help the group with my unique background and skills. But fluff talkers remain fluff talkers and that never changes. I saw it when I started People Organized to Stop Rape of Imprisoned Persons. While I was trying to write my booklet on prisoner rape, one person always kept getting in the way. He wanted the attention to be on him. That is exactly what happened here. If I had come in speaking fluff, I would likely have been let into the groups.
    Who is this guy Ron Ruiter, anyway? He has nothing to do with JTS, but here he is giving commands to the alumni. I knew someone like that, too. He was a spy for COINTELPRO. At minimum people like that are on power trips and want only to keep serious people out. Someone like me would be a threat to his leadership. I don’t see anything good coming out of this.

  13. After moving around through all of the websites on this subject, I have come to the conclusion that no one–not even the tortured boys who were there between 1940 to about 1969–wants to take the issue seriously. All they do on their websites is make fluffy statements to each other that sound like so many flirtations. These are not serious comments on the issues that could be covered. I believe now that I was too hard on Anna for hinting at these very serious. Yes, she was wrong in saying that everyone was lying about JTS, but she was dead on when she let it be known that she was not convinced. How could she believe any of them? They don’t have any serious discussions. All they are doing is crying on each others shoulders. I don’t want to take part in that.
    I am a serious writer. The Labadie Collection in the Hatcher Library at the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor maintains 2 1/2 feet (I don’t know what that means, either.) of my writings and lawsuits and records of my activist. I will likely put on file there the fluffy manner of the inmates. The conditions at JTS were placed on file there while I was at the U.S. Penitentiary at Terre Haute, Indiana in 1977.
    When I heard that there was a group focusing on JTS, I determined that I might be able to help the group with my unique background and skills. But fluff talkers remain fluff talkers and that never changes. I saw it when I started People Organized to Stop Rape of Imprisoned Persons. While I was trying to write my booklet on prisoner rape, one person always kept getting in the way. He wanted the attention to be on him. That is exactly what happened here. If I had come in speaking fluff, I would likely have been let into the groups.
    Who is this guy Ron Ruiter, anyway? He has nothing to do with JTS, but here he is giving commands to the alumni. I knew someone like that, too. He was a spy for COINTELPRO. At minimum people like that are on power trips and want only to keep serious people out. Someone like me would be a threat to his leadership. I don’t see anything good coming out of this.

    • was you in there in 1977 april 17th when a mex.stabbed steve massingale he was comming out of the mess hallhe was into white power he was there with james lockage

      • No, I was there almost a decade earlier. But I can understand the whys and wherefores of it. When I was in the Federal Prison system, I was at the United States Penitentiary at McNeil Island in the Puget Sound in Wahington state. (It is now a State prison.) The place had a vast majority of Mexicans, most of whom were afiliated with the Mexican Mafia, now called the Eme (pronouned A-may). The Mexicans of other gangs were La Familia, and so forth. Eme will kill anybody. So will La Familia. The two are at war and I saw an Eme kill a La Familia right in front of a guard.
        If a white person is going to have tats showing neo-Nazi symbols, there is a virtual guarantee that he will be killed. UNLESS there in affiliation with the Aryan Brotherhood, or any of the copycat groups (Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, etc.) The Aryan Brotherhood is the strongest prison gang ever. They are guaranteed to avenge any of their own. They maintain a concept of if they cannot get to the person they want to kil, then they will kill his nearest next of kin. Of course, if they order someone to do something, such as kill somebody, you must do it or be killed yourself. I was at the U.S. Penitentiary at when the president and founder Barry Mills killed the Warden and a guard. It is the only way that a neo-Nazi can survive in prison, even in a “gladiator school”.

  14. First let me say that ANNA is a devastatingly hostile individual who may be called a such-and-such little thing, except that I do not believe in censorship. The tortures that Anne refuses to believe in and which flies in her face, stopped about 1970 when the powers-that-be in Raleigh found out about it. At that time there were no girls and when I was there they had no idea about racial integration. All that came up in 1966 and after. People like ANNA said the same things about rape in prison in and before 1980. I was the person who stopped that gossip. You don’t believe that? At the bottom of the Wikipedia page named Stonewall Jackson Youth Development Center it saya–and I quote–about JTS “Notable inmates: Russell Smith, prisoner activist and 1980 founder of People Organized to Stop Rape of Imprisoned Persons (POSRIP), later called Stop Prisoner Rape, Inc.” The organization now-called Just Detention International works to help rape victims in the prison setting. On their Wikipedia page they call me the founder of the organization, seeing as that is what I did in 1980 when I was released from the U.S. Penitentiary at Leavenworth, Kansas and after 7 1/2 years. I also fought the rapes, trying to organize victims (whether Gay or straight) into fighters against rape. I even gave an example of fighting when I slashed one of them’s throat. Those are my credentials. I’m not ashamed of them; I’m proud that I am man enough enough to stand up in the face of adversity. ANNA should listen to those of us who know what is going on. Why would we lie if these things didn’t happen. We’re not lying and we don’t care about those who are too ignorant to listen.
    Meanwhile, here is my information on just some of the terrible things I was sunjected to:
    I was there 1963 – 1965 in Cottage 13, Mr. Thompkinson (Ku Klux Klansman) and worked in the plumbing shop, Mr. Burris (Freemason). Thompkinson enjoyed beating us. He had a thing called “Prayer Meeting” where each of us lined up. His two P.C.’s would be first in line. I had incurred his wrath to such a degree that he always put me at the rear of the line. As for the 25 give-or-take others, they ran up to vie for a place as close to the front as they could. The first boy got one whack. The second got two. (By the way, P.C.’s were simply glorified snitches.) By the time he got to me, he forgot any count at all. Of course, I was not going to let him know it hurt. I would lay on that table without a word or a move. Some boys would tell me that he would hit me so hard that it would lift him off of the floor.
    When my bunk neighbor wet the bed, Thomkinson would rub my face in the urine-filled sheets for not waking the boy up at midnight.
    Some of us believe that boys were buried between the bottom of the cliff and the railroad tracks at the top of which was the chapel. (Don’t believe it? Bodies have been dug up at Doziers Boys School in Marianna, Florida and Tucker Farm in Arkansas. I suspect that these murders have been much more common than most people think.)
    Often a boy would be taken to the “Disciplinary Committee” where he would be beaten by three men from the top of the head to the bottom of the feet. We all knew about that and most of us saw the after-effects. That was done in Cottage 17 way out on the farm. The cages were there. It was also where the certain boys disappeared from. That place was horror scary.

  15. I was there 1963 – 1965 in Cottage 13, Mr. Thompkinson (Ku Klux Klansman) and worked in the plumbing shop, Mr. Burris (Freemason). Thompkinson enjoyed beating us. He had a thing called “Prayer Meeting” where each of us lined up. His two P.C.’s would be first in line. I had incurred his wrath to such a degree that he always put me at the rear of the line. As for the 25 give-or-take others, they ran up to vie for a place as close to the front as they could. The first boy got one whack. The second got two. (By the way, P.C.’s were simply glorified snitches.) By the time he got to me, he forgot any count at all. Of course, I was not going to let him know it hurt. I would lay on that table without a word or a move. Some boys would tell me that he would hit me so hard that it would lift him off of the floor.
    When my bunk neighbor wet the bed, Thomkinson would rub my face in the urine-filled sheets for not waking him up at midnight.
    Some of us believe that boys were buried between the bottom of the cliff and the railroad tracks at the top of which was the chapel. (Don’t believe it? Bodies have been dug up at Doziers Boys School in Marianna, Florida and Tucker Farm in Arkansas. I suspect that these murders have been much more common than most people think.)
    Often a boy would be taken to the “Disciplinary Committee” where he would be beaten by three men from the top of the head to the bottom of the feet. We all knew about that and most of us saw the after-effects. That was done in Cottage 17 way out on the farm. The cages were there. It was also where the certain boys disappeared from.
    That place was horror scary.

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  17. I guess I was lucky. I was here around 1981 and didn’t want to leave! At 15 years old I was spiraling out of control and this placed really turned me around. They had men and women working there that really wanted to see you make something of your life and not become a statistic. Most had been troubled youth themselves and could relate to whatever you were dealing with that got you there. I can’t remember names, but I’ll always remember the encouragement from the counselors and teachers.
    It was a co-ed facility, and I think the ratio of boys to girls was 20 to 1, you better believe the girls had plenty of “admirers” so to speak. Hell, you could even smoke cigarettes with signed permission from parents, who also had to supply the smokes, imagine that at 15 years old! Try that at a state juvenile detention facility today.. Man that really makes me feel old.. LOL
    Back its early days I can see this place being plagued with all types of abuses, but during my 9 months there I didn’t experience or witness any beatings or rapes, spent months in 3 different “cottages” and no hauntings. And as far as the fighting goes, they had a nice new building out back which contained “B-wing”, for those who just couldn’t control themselves, and it gave them plenty of private time to reflect on their behavior.
    The state really had a jewel of a facility for juveniles dealing with minor criminal and behavioral issues, it was a beautiful place.
    I’m sure the new “prison for kids” they’ve replaced it with is nothing like it.

  18. I happened upon this place the other day while driving down 29 and stopped because I couldn’t resist. I have been looking up information online tonight because I wanted to know more because I too couldn’t resist taking photos. Your photographs are hauntingly beautiful.

    The architecture is gorgeous but the stories, sadly aren’t. Anna, I believe it is possible that not everyone suffered. I am not so convinced that no one else did however. These kind of places beckon to sick minded souls that want to be in charge of children and have loosely checked authority over them. I am so sorry for all the pain that children went through there and if it’s any help, I’ve said a prayer several times while reading these posts.

  19. Husband was in JTS in the 60′s. He has no pictures of his younger years and was wondering if they took photos or have info of when he was there that could be seen. Anyone have any idea who to contact?

  20. I am hoping to purchase the cottages, church the Admin building and additional buildings, restore them, and open them for positive memories for the future. Trying to get the state to sale them. They are not currently for sale. I don’t want to see someone bulldoze them down, and build a development or business. I have only see pictures not seen the property in person. They need to be saved, what people have experienced there needs to be shared. I ask about visiting the property and was told you could be arrested for Trespassing.

    • Frankie,
      Dont know if you will be able to purchase the site, as it is still used as a State run correctional facility. The old buildings are towards the street front (I live 5 minutes away from the school), and behind them is a juvenile prison. It looks to be pretty much a Maximum security place. Here is the information, in case you want to call them and inquire about the Stonewall Jackson site.

      Juvenile Justice Delinquency
      1335 Old Charlotte Rd , Concord, NC 28027
      (704) 788-2941

  21. I’ve been in recently with friends and i felt spirits if that’s not enough we experience objects missing and or in a different area police caught us once and told us to be careful from old ruble at times the floor near the entrance seems unsteady & to top it off we thought one of our friends was possessed, because he wanted to go down to the basement so bad and repeatedly said it over again i’m scared to share to much information, but i believe there is still a spirit left behind as a result i did see a ghost and not only I have just seen something, but my hole crew.

    • I myself have experienced spirits there. I saw on 6 yr old boy manifest in a laser grid. One teenage boy about 15 came at me with blackened out eyes saying “I dont belong here!” and one older man. One of the investigators with me got EVP recordings of all 3 of them.
      We could physically hear with our ears a child singing then screaming his head off in the now burnt down cottage 4.
      I was visited at home by the little boy who wanted me to go back and move them on into the light. He told me the older boy was mad at me and wanted me to come back. Sounds crazy i know.
      I also have a shadow picture of a man standing at the top of the stars by the front door of the Daughters Cottage taken on my Iphone. I got an EVP that has a deep voice that says his name is ‘Allen”
      I had the feeling someone was up there watching and snapped off 2 photos.
      The place is definitely haunted.
      We were up on the top floor of one of the cottages and came upon a split level door off of a room with a fireplace.
      I was drawn to the room and placed my hand on the ledge of the bottom part of the split level door and it got pulled out of my hand from behind the door as if someone was standing behind the door pulling the door open. The ones who entered the room, my self and one other person, got and instant headache and nauseous. We then left and used a smudge stick to clear ourselves. I am a spirit medium and i would not go back.

  22. I had always heard of Jackson Training school and knew it was a place that no one wanted to go to. Other than that, I knew very little about it. I just finished reading the article in today’s Charlotte Observer about his place. My heart goes out to each and every child that had to endure living there. I am sickened and embarrassed that I contributed to this horror by spending 50+ years paying taxes to the state that supported this place! Saying “I’m Sorry” from all the taxpayers in NC is not enough.
    If anyone has not read the article, please do.

  23. how do i help these boys

  24. Ok, I don’t know where half you people who are commmenting here were but it wasn’t Stonewall. No mention of the rapes, the queer instructors that preyed on the kids. The fights, to listen to you all it was like running off to college. Well I was there from 14 to 16 in 1970. I was in cottage 10 went through at least 4 sets of cottage parents in that time. You ever witness someone you thought was your friend rape somebody. Well let me tell you it gives you trust issues big time. To this day I don’t trust anyone outside my immediate family. I learned to fight and cut hair. I was so good at cutting hair they asked me if I wanted to go to baber college. I said know because the college was like 85 % black. And after dealing with them at Stonewall I had no desire to go to school with them. Receiving cottage was the Hendersons, cottage 8, meanest sob i ever met. Cottage 10 parents weren’t bad but then most problems weren’t with the cottage parents it was some of the instructors and then the older boys. Cottage 17 held the biggest boys at the time, it also held segregation. They use to get the boys from cottage 17 to help catch run aways. I know one time they were chasing down a boy and he was in the middle of jumping a fence when the guy chasing him hit him in the ribs, cracked 3 of his ribs. So you set there and tell me about how this was such a loveloy place. I could tell you stories that would make your skin crawl.

  25. I know that place is haunted…….I got attack there 2 times. The first attack was so bad they almost had to take me to the ER. Now because of that place I keep having nightmares about it.

    • Hey, I was there in 1979 and I think you guys are just making up stories. It was not a bad place. The cottage leaders were caring people and so were the teachers. I have nothing bad to say about it. I learned alot there and have lots of actually great memories. I was in the girls cottage and if I’m not mistaken it was cottage 17.

  26. My father lived at Stone Wall Jackson in the
    late 40′s, early 50′s. As children, he would
    take us to visit, especially at Christmas. I can’t
    remember the name of the husband and wife
    who lived and worked there, but they were very
    dear to my daddy. His name was David Lee Collins

  27. Eli I was there for a lil over two years in the late 80′s. Aside from bad boys being bad boys it was not that bad of a place. I was only 11 when I was sent there and probably did not weigh 80 pounds but I learned how to tap box and could hold my own against kids 14 and 15. The only bad thing about the school I hated was when it was shower time. Having to stand in line naked. That was degrading as hell. Lol…I loved sneaking to the store while in school though. I was fast as hell and could start running as soon I stepped out of print shop and not stop til I arrived at the store. Funny thing about it, I would only go so that I could buy a bag of candy. Cottage 4 ruled in those days. Mrs. Boss was my favorite and I loved her to death. By the wag, for all of those talking about having to fight every day, you were not saints when you went there and nine times out of ten most of you were even bullies, so why cry now when you talk about having to fight daily? Lol…I guess it was no fun hitting someone who would hit back. rob.april2009@gmail.com is my email and 717-919-3009 is my number. I love answering questions and talking about it. My name is Robert Graham.

    • I heard that the extremely disobediant kids were strapped to a bed. Is that true?

      • no it is not.

        • Yes it is you was there late r years you should of been there in the 60s or before that or been one of the first girls there where there was gang rapes with the cottage parents also

          • Yeah I was later sent to Eastern Carolina Training School which was a sex rape madhouse.

      • I was sent to the Fla School for boys at Marianna,Fla in 1956 & held there till 1959.Was told I would be sent to N.C. to live with relatives but instead they shipped me to Stonewall Jackson where I began planning my escape.Had them take me to the hospital where I beat the guy that took me there with a board making my escape.They caught me a few days later sending me to Jax,Fla juvenile hall soon sending me back to Marianna School for boys for another year.It was downhill from there.Prison (3 times)Thanks reform schools,it was a stepping stone to bigger & better things in my screwed up life

        • no Roger, you decided to continue living badly. Beat someone with a board? You’re better than that.

      • I never saw it nor heard of it, but I wouldn’t put it past them.

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  29. I worked there in 1976 in the food prep area.

  30. how do you get permission to access a property like this just for pure personal interest? i love old hospitals asylums and prisons.

    • It wasn’t a hospital or aslums nor a prison. I was there till I was 16 and it truly was not bad. If it weren’t for that place I would have probably been dead by now

    • No need for permission. You can just go visit it. Me and my friends went today so I could take some picture for a project. It’s a historical site now and it gets many visitors.

      • Hey, I was just there today and I had security ask me to leave, so I think it may have changed a little since you were last there. The guys were actually pretty nice and let me take a few more pictures though. Pretty interesting place.

  31. My grandfather went there in the twenties and was there from age 6 to 16. He turned his life over to Christ several years later and wrote his testimony about the place. Brings me to tears but he went back in the 60s to visits the young men there. He said that 50 of them after hearing his testimony recived Christ that night. And after that he never regretted being there if it for that reason.

  32. I was there for 6 weeks in April/may 1975..got my driving license and GED from Rowan tech on my 16th birthday..had been at swannoah for 6 weeks prior..I was sentenced for truancy and runaway

  33. The Old School is located of Old Charlotte Road in Concord NC. Just off of Hwy 49.And if on Hwy 601 you can get on Old Charlotte Road.

    • Is this miss bost who worked at the ladies house. If it is I wanted you to know you really touched my life. You were the nicest one there.

      • This Ms. Bost was an elderly lady working in the cafeteria area. I never saw it but I was told that she could knock a boy off his feet with one hand. You must have known her daughter.

  34. I took a tour with my CJ class at RCCC of the new Stonewall Jackson in the back of the old school, this one was just built a few years ago. NC has changed its look on how to deal with juveniles, they have gone to a
    rehabilitation type of school. Now they only house 94, what they call students and its more like a boarding school than a YDC. they had xbox’s and tv’s in there like dorms. The longest that you would normally stay there is 15 months. It wasn’t as bad as i thought.

  35. My friend and I visited there for the 1st time early this morning in the dark. Going on a rainy, foggy night was the worst idea. I can’t wait to go in the day time. I’m quite curious about more history behind the place.

    • There is now a modern juvenile detention facility behind the old buildings. My mom works there and talks about how the inner city boys get so nervous when they pull up to the center because all they see are these old creepy buildings.

      • I went there back in 1995 and 96. Each time I stayed there for 6 months. Man you talking about something that was hard. There was a fight breaking out just about every day. People would be in the school building shooting quarters (gambling) off the wall trying to make extra money. Needless to say that was how most fights started. When I was there they still had just one of the old cottages or dorm (what have you) opened. Cottage 17. That is where I stayed. It used to be funny because the guys would act like they was some type of gangsters, but let a thunderstorm or something like that come through and you see them get scared. Like if it thunders real loud you’ll see them jump and duck. It used to be real funny. But yeah they have new cottages in the back Kirk North and south. McWhorter North and South. A, B, C, Wing. B wing is lock up. I learned alot from my experience there, and I tell you I hated every minute of it. BUT… it does hold a part of my childhood, even though I was there against my will. I miss those times… Creepy enough. Jeez, never thought I’d say that.

  36. Never been there, but your pictures are awesomes! Congratulations! #1 (bathrooms) is my favorite!

  37. The history and architecture of this place really interests me. I’ve been by there twice within the last two years while it’s been abandoned. Most of the cottages are opened or accessible, same with the main building. Do you have a high def copy of the classroom photo, I remember writing my initials on the chalkboard and am curious if there are still there in your photo?

    My friend and I have taken some photos of the place, some from just a few weeks ago. Our first trip there a little over a year ago nobody seemed to care we were walking around. This past trip however (Dec 2012) was on a weekday afternoon and a man approached us on a golf cart and said he was the grounds keeper and he asked us to leave. So keep that in mind. I remember the cottages were slightly more up dated with an early 90′s vibe to most of them, but the main admin building is very old school and in some places the floor is giving way. Recently it seems a few people have sprayed graffiti on the walls and taken the metal radiators for scrap. You can still see the path they dragged them out by in the dust and dirt on the floors.

    To all the guys that shared your stories of being there, thank you. It gives the place a much more human perspective.

    • I forgot to add, and I’m sure this is a longshot, but does anyone happen to remember the combination to the walk-in wall safe located in the main building? Even though I’m sure it’s empty, I’d be very interested in popping that thing open.

    • Same thing happened to me. An older guy on a golf cart asked me to leave, he was pretty nice about it.

  38. I am getting old and life gets harder to look at. How does one see the larger size pictures of Jackson Training School or even get copies? I was incarcerated at JTS the last time 47 years ago and the place put a dent in my soul I will never forget. I live in Asheville now if you have some place close I can stop in and look at the prints.

    • John,
      Trying to learn some things about my father and perhaps understand him. Unfortunately has passed away but would be around age 61. he was sent to Jackson Training school for not wanting to go to school. He suffered horrific things at that place and was curious if you knew him?

  39. 7/22/84 girl was killed in a dumbwaiter I think her name was Sue

  40. Eli Belcher
    I was there in the mid eighties.There was a few very good people there that helped influence me to be a better person,but,for the most part…It was a violent nightmare where staff pitted inmates against one another and even sexually abused the young boys.Rape was common and physical abuse by other inmates a daily ritual.All in all,It’s been several years now but I still have nightmares.I’ve spent my life trying to forget the lessons I learned there as a teenager.The stories I could tell…I saw it all in the two plus years I was incarcerated there.I have since been in prison and i can say that while prison is no picnic,It doesn’t hold a candle to Stonewall.It was truelly a “gladiator academy”.

    • Eli Belcher,

      I’m working on a project about Stonewall Jackson School and am very interested in what you have to say or any stories you have to tell. Just reading what you posted was very powerful. If you feel comfortable participating in an interview please email heather.lgordy@gmail.com or call 336-671-0992.

      Thank you for your time and consideration.

    • You got that right Rob. When I was there some of the same stuff was happening. Staff putting inmates on inmates and the female staff did try to have sex with some of the boys. And you definitely had to know how to fight

    • IO was there in 1979 and am so but none of that happened when I was there. I truly don’t believe that happened. The place was not that bad.

      • Anna, you are really a terrible person.

      • You sound like someone how doesn’t believe crap stinks until your nose is in it. In the early 70′s there were no girls at Stonewall,(SJ School for Boys) unless they worked there.

  41. Jerry Moore
    I was there in 1963-1964,Iremember severe cruelty.I was 11 yr. old,my cottage parrent’s name was Eudy or something like that.He would hit me in face whith fist kick me and even make me and the other boys get naked,hold our penis out while he slaped it with a rubber strap that came from a scrub broom.Wewould have to get on our hands and knees with pieces of wool blankets to wax and buff the wood floors,if you slowed down before he told you to he would kick you in the ribs or butt.He was probally the most creul of the people in charge but there were many who you could see were getting enjoyment from beating us.My name is Jerry Moore my email is paintme@att.net and my phone#is 828-669-5695

    • I was there in 1967 at the age 13 for car theft. I was there for one year and one day, in cottage 9. Mr Eudy was there for his first year. When I left I had 37 or so writeups. One away from the record. I worked in the bakery for most of the time. Mrs Bost was in charge of the cafeteria. I was abused plenty and had to fight a lot. We had what was called the Bear, the toughest fighter. I saw boys coming from cottage 15 where detention was. This was the workers for the dairy. These boys entire back sides and legs were black from the beatings. Corporal punishment has since beed abolished, but not when I was there. At the rate North Carolina is going they will start putting pad-locked tops on cribs as they leave the nursery. The place turned out a first class hood. Since then I have done an additional 15 years. It all ended when I left N.C

    • Jerry,
      My father Ronnie Fink was sent to this place in the 60′s as well. We think he may have been in Cottage 11. Do you remember him or know anything about him? He would have been about 61 years old but he has passed away. He also had a younger brother named Curtis Fink

  42. To the people of concord please dont let the boys be forgotten and Please tell the world what really went on there I know there is some left who worked there and know the truth or maybe your mom or dad tried to re-leave there mine and hearts and told you the story so please tell the truth and let the boys rest in peace and the girls also. You owe it to them.

    • George,
      So true! I have tried to understand things about my father before he died….and from learning about all of the horrific things he suffered from by being there in the 1960′s it is starting to make since. Did you know my father? Ronnie Fink

  43. Hello Everyone!!!
    I live just down the rd from Stonewall Jackson and use to work there approx 10 yrs ago. Stonewall is still up and running with the remaining old buildings and several new ones that were made all “within” the big 20ft high fence. Everything outside the fence by the rd is not in operation EXCEPT one of them that is right in back of the gazebo area which is used as a type of wor/trade building for students putting nuts and bolts together etc… Many of the buildings are very dangerous to enter and really not allowed to due to unsafe structure, bacteria, etc…issues!!! It is a very interesteing old place with lots of history behind it as well as some spooky stories.

  44. Not to hijack this thread, but I’m interested in seeing if I can have a short sale and I can’t figure out how to find a professional listing realtor… do you know anything about this realtor? They’re located in sacramento, 15 minutes from my office and I can’t find reviews on them – Becky Lund & Associates – Sacramento Realtors, 8814 Madison Avenue #2 Fair Oaks, CA 95628 (916) 531-7124

  45. We have just recently moved to NC and I just drove by the place today! I am fascinated by it. I can’t wait to get the courage to stop and see if someone will let me explore it. Thank you for this blog and all of the great pictures.

    • I was there in march of 1964 until march of 1965 .every boy that has been there has a horror stories to tell.Everyone wants to go threw it to see if there is Ghost well the answer is yes>If you really want to do something Save the school or let it alone.you want ot know about the school just close your eyes and imagine your son being beat and raped and treated like he isnt eaven human just because he did not have a home or missed school to many days. or ripped from a good home because of a childish prank then beat and raped and kicked and forced to do things a grown up would not do.imagine taking a sledge hammer and hitting a cow in the forehead if you killed it with a first hit you was rewarded if not you got a d merit and you have to watch the cow die slowly.this is just a small taste we went threw and im talking about 11 year old and 15 year olds and they wonder why some become criminals as adults. So go ahead take your pictures have fun at J T S but remember this you are being watched by all the boys who have passed and remember all the tortures YOUR granddads and mom put us threw. all the truant officers and Juvenal Judges and eaven teaches YOU did it and one day God will ask you why

  46. I lived in Jackson Park just up the road about 1/2 mile on Old Charlotte Rd and Green Street (1946 to 1963) We all heard stories about the boys getting wippings frequently. All of the kids in the neighborhood I believe were threatened by their parents that if they didn’t behave they would be sent there. I don’t think anyone that grew up there had a crimal record later on in life. Rocky Ridge Methodist Church is next door where most of us went. If I remember correctly there was a passageway/ tunnel under the roadway for the boys to travel to the other side.

  47. I was there in 1980 1981 1982 I really didnt like that place always got beaten up by the other students and my personal items got stolen(shoes pants shirts) I went to work for the cafiteria as a baker boy makein cakes and pies for the students did that to stay out of fights. I also did the theater there i was in 2 plays tryed to stay away from the other boys so i wouldnt get beatten up. I went home to visit my family in 2007 and found out it was closed down i was so happy and sad at the same time. As of today 2012 i found this page article so hears part of my story. I’m freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

    • I was there in 1979. I mcan’t fathom why all the bad stuff is being said. I was living in the girls cottage and interacted with the boys while there. There was none of what you guys are saying. Why do people have to make things up to get attention.

      • Anna, you’ve posted several times that you didn’t have a bad experience there in 1979. Yay, great for you but you need to learn some respect for others. You don’t know if these men had bad experiences or not so stop saying they are lying and trying to get attention. You are being very immature and rude.

        • Anna, I must agree, just because you did not experience such things consider yourself blessed. You are being very disrespectful towards all the others.

      • Anna, you’re proving your ignorance. Okay, I would first like to congratulate you! You loved it, congrats. You should get a certificate and a cardboard cookie! You think that you’re the authority on this place. I guess you’ve lived there under multiple identities of male and female. Just stfu. And congratulations again!

      • Fathom?

      • I was there for 9 months in 1980 got in a few fight but never witnessed the brutality that I’m reading. There were a inside swimming pool, we went to movies offsite, even went to a NASCAR race in charlotte. I was in cottage 17, 10, and 4, cottage 5 was for girls at the time. I’m not saying brutality didn’t exist there I just didn’t see it. They also had a base ball team. I remember coach Smitty.

      • You are a moron, or insane, And a lying bitch.. 1979 It was a holiday Inn. You, pile of crap…I was in cottage#7 1953 to 1956..Mr. Mrs. Eller, ran the cottage.(I was ten years old)

  48. I have become interested in genealogy in the past few years and research every little piece of information that I come across. Today, I was checking the 1930 Census for my grandfather’s famiy and discovered that his younger brother was an “inmate” at an institution in Township 11 Cabarrus, NC. He was 15 at the time. Undoubtedly, that would have been this facility. He never got his life straight, I’m sorry to say.

    • I was there Everyone is interested in J T S but as always no one does anything I was in cottage 3

  49. I was there 1n 1980. IN THOSE DAYS YOU WHERE ON A POINT SYSTEM YOU HAD TO CARRY AROUND A POINT CARD AND GET POINT OR LOSE POINT BY YOUR ACTION. IT WAS SO BAD ONCE YOU GOT PASS YOUR FIRST TWO WEEKS AND COTTAGE 17. THERE WERE ALSO GIRLS THERE WHEN I WAS THERE.

    • 17 use to be the Jail

    • I was there in 1979 and part of 1980. I didn’t have to carry around anything. and the food and people were great.

      • OMG.

        • Dear uncompassionate, uneducated Anna…. I do believe in the freedom of speech but not when it comes to it harming others. I believe you should be banded from making one more comment on this site. Shame on you for you actions here. May God in Heaven bless you with all that you have put forth into this world…..ten times fold.

  50. This blog site has got a lot of really useful information on it. Thanks for helping me!

  51. Went there today. Cottage 17 (the worst for abuse I believe) had new dead bolts on all doors. Cottage 7 was open and we explored first and second floors pretty empty…third floor we didn’t go to but had lots of junk per Cori. Want to go back sooooooon.

    • Hi! I was wanting to go to this place for a shoot for school and I think with the B&W film I have it would be perfect….do you know the address?? Thanks!

  52. I was there in February of this year.My girlfriend and I took a roadtrip down from MA so she could work with a few models in the area(shes a photographer) I had found Stonewall before we drove down here while I was researching abandoned places for her to shoot in.We were conveniently staying in Charlotte so it was only a 30 minute drive.We ended up going twice,once to scout the place out and another for her to shoot her model.Most of the buildings are wide open on the lower level(lockers/showers/storage) surprising didnt see any real vandalism for it being so accessible.I took tons of pictures you can view here

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/rewildyourmind/sets/72157629269710384/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/rewildyourmind/sets/72157629634512411/

    a few shots She took

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/nicolophobiaphotography/6851003818/in/photostream
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/nicolophobiaphotography/7001764725/in/photostream
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/nicolophobiaphotography/6879268832/in/photostream

    i believe those were taken in the large building with the columns

    • not only take pictures do something to save the school and and remembe r not all the boys who went there where bad some didnt have homes or parents some may of missed to much school or some may have brke a window by mistake and the parents didnt have money to pay your fine , Or do research did any Boys die the I am 3000 miles from there I got as far away as i could but i still cant get rid of the memories.So all you who live in Concord do some real research dont just use the school for your own amusement help the boys who where tortured there tell there stories and post that online Do some good for the boys and the school let the world know what really happened there

    • Hi, did you ask permission to go into these buildings? im interested in doing a report, for my nc history class and would like to go in but i dont know who to contact for permission

      • I doubt you can get permission but security is pretty much non existent. I went today and was there for about 2 hours before someone asked me to leave and it was the grounds keeper, he was really friendly and even let me take a few more pictures before I left. You can drive right up to the place, there are really no fences

  53. I was there from 87 til 89. It was not as bad as most try and make it seem. I was in cottage 4 and remember Mrs. Boss as if it were yesterday…sweet memories of such a lovely lady. If anybody has questions about it hit me up @ rob.april2009@gmail.com

    • when i was there in the fifties mr and mrs cheek had cottage #4 if you had been there then you wouldnt say it wasnt that bad .it was bad then. iwas in cottage #5 and cottage #9 mr and mrs miller was also super nice .theywere older people honeycutt had #10 mrs honeycutt was the prettiest woman down there . i saw in the paper last year where her husband wade had died .mr and mrs hinson #1was the meanist two people down there back then .boney bill and his old wife also mean #5 faggert (farm )was mean too and mullis too so you say what you wont to but you was not there in the old days .you call me and i will tell you more

      • thank you Ronnie for sharing part of your story.

      • wow ronnie i wish my memory was as good as yours. Was Mr Lewder in cottage 3 there then and in the fifty’s was most of the masons they where in 64 and 65 my I think some of them liked to see if there could leave the emblem of the mason ring on your face when they hit you and was the cripple man in the bakery there i cant remember his name

      • Ronnie,
        My father’s name was Ronnie Fink. He has passed away but would be around age 61. he was there in the 1960′s in cottage 11. Did you know him?

    • Robert, Thank you for sharing. I’m glad you had a good experience there with people that cared for you.

      • You’re welcome Melanie. Most people fail to realize that a person was sent to Stonewall Jackson for being bad. Why do they feel the need to cry because every other kid there was sent for the same reason and as a result it turned into a bad place for them. Surely it wasn’t going to be a walk in the park, however, its nothing as some are making it out to be.

        • IO agree with you fully I was there in 1979 and iI learned so much and the people were great.

        • Mr. Graham,
          with all do respect….your stupidity is forgiven! My father was sent to this school because he didn’t go to school. His family was sick and with four sons they needed their sons to work and help pay for the family. So please be mindful of the stupid things you post….use a filter!

    • Robert you was either one of the suck asses or you r full of sshit what about when it went co ed and and they ley 21 year old boys work there and run the cottage go you the concord news papers in the late 70s i thnk thats when it was and look at all the sex parties they had and 2 of the boys working there was let go. God to facebook and type in Jackson training scool and talk to some of the boys who was there

    • Robert you was either one of the suck asses or you r full of sshit what about when it went co ed and and they ley 21 year old boys work there and run the cottage go you the concord news papers in the late 70s i thnk thats when it was and look at all the sex parties they had and 2 of the boys working there was let go. God to facebook and type in Jackson training scool and talk to some of the boys who was there

      • A suck ass? Not! I stayed there for over two and a half years when I could have been out in 3 months. All of my life up until 2000 I have been a thug. Hardcore and always ready to fight or start something. In my time there I had more infractions than anybody in my cottage. Stonewall Jackson was just a walk in the park. On the flip side, you must have been one of the kids who was sent there for committing a crime against your parents or beating up girls or something. I remember guys like that. They were bad as hell until they walked through the door and realized that there were other guys who were bad asses and ready to prove it and as a result you crawled into a corner and shook in fear anytime someone looked at you.

    • lol at this guy comparing his experience in the late 80s to those who were there in the 50s and 60s.

      • Don’t that drive a person up the wall, I hope when the last buildings fall on this evil ground that these morons are under the rubble. They, never suffered
        the hell like we did in the 1950′s.I,Didn’t want to comment on JTS..But, When that Anna… A’hole started shooting off at the mouth.That’s right I’m little bitter And, I have the right too be.

  54. Thank you for this article. I might also like to express that it can possibly be hard if you are in school and simply starting out to create a long credit rating. There are many learners who are just simply trying to make it and have a long or positive credit history are often a difficult factor to have.

  55. Hi, do you have the name and the cell # if this person this is really important. May you tell me how you met the person and did she let you in alone or did that person went with you? Please answer this questions as soon as you can.
    Thank you.

    • just looked at those pictures. they look bad, but that was abad place to be was there in 1958 1959 1060 .was a two timer .cottage #5 first time cottage #9 second time it was always 2cottage parants. they were both mean.mr&mrs miller #9 was real nice people but #5 parrish they were both mean .she could hit you as hard as he could .both of them were boney and had boney hands .use to be a bell on the rock beside the zebo i use to have to ring it all the time morning noon evening ,cottage #5 in front of the bell.parrish was in charge of it the bell in still there in the new part i saw it a couple of month a go .never let any one tell you it was agood place itwas bad place to be i could tell a lot of stories about the place

  56. Hello, I recently visited the Reform School, a friend on mine told me about it, and I took a few pictures. I would love to roam the premises because I’m really interested in the history. I was just wondering if that staff member is there frequently…? I would just love to go inside and take pictures!

  57. Hi, I just recently went over there, a friend of mine told me about this place, and I took a few pictures. I’m really interested in the history of this place, and would love to roam the premises, do you think that the staff member is there frequently?

    • I’m not sure how often that staff member is there. When I stopped by there were people working when I first entered the gate. Good luck!

  58. Hello, I love abandoned places. Especially if they have history. Actually, my husband and I are looking for an abandoned dream that may come with purchase rights. You wouldn’t know of anything like that would you ??? In the south. With land would be nice.
    I look forward to hearing from you.
    Catherine

    • Catherine,
      I have always had a love for abandoned places. I’m not sure of any places for sale, but if you end up with one let me know! I’d love to hear how it goes for you!

      • Most of the cottages at Jackson are for sale check into it and please keep the school alive dont let the boys be forgotten

        • Hey George, I’ve been reading your posts on here and if you don’t mind talking to me about your experiences I’d be interested to hear more. I went to Stonewall Jackson this past weekend and had never heard of it since I’m new to the area. I’ve been hearing about the horror stories of the place and I’m one of those that would like to make a difference, but wouldn’t even know how to start. Do you know where the cottages are listed? I am very interested in historical preservation and the facts behind a place. Please feel free to email me if you still check this thread. (iwouldhireme@gmail.com)

          • I was there in 1979 and it was a great place. these people are full of crap. Nobody died or got molested. There were some great people who worked there.

          • Really Anna? STFU. You don’t know what their experience was. Unfortunately the Internet gives fools like you a platform.

        • We walked around it last saturday. The guy that asked us to leave told us it was on the National Register of Historic Places. I was sad to see that quality of architecture rotting away but after reading this and learing what a horrific place it was; i think it should be bulldozed to the ground by the boys that suffered such indecency there.

        • Hey George ,im just curious. My dad told me stories,and he said he was there when he was 14 to age 18,and he was born in 1951. My father was a great dad ,always worked hard to provide for me. Some of the stories i heard were horrific. My father passed in 2011. There is alot of things that always seemed to bother him he refused to talk about. He always held his emotions inside of himself till he exploded. He would wake up in the middle of the night sometimes in what would seem like heart pounding nightmares.We had a great father son relationship that took place towards the end of his life. His name was James Bobby Giddings. Im just curious to see if there is anyone who knew him. He was simply born into a poor family ,he told me stories of my grand mother walking to work at plant 7 field crest cannon. He had an older brother Leo Giddings Jr who was a marine in the war of vietnam, who made it home and hung himself. Two weeks later my grandmother took the same death as him in the very same tree. There is so little i know of the reality of what took place ,but i know it scared my father for life.We would often take a detour to avoid driving by Jackson training school. Imjust curious to see if you knew him or id like to learn more about it.

  59. Is there an address, or how do I get to the school? I would love to go photograph the school. I currently live in Charlotte, so its nearby?

    • It is on Stonewall Jackson Road in Concord NC. It’s a really cool place!

    • Hi Cindy. This old school is in Concord on Stonewall Jackson Rd. There is still a working reform school behind it, so you have to be careful not to drive beyond the older buildings. I was lucky enough to find an administrator when I stopped by and he let me look around.

  60. Are the buildings you went inside unlocked usually? How did you get inside?

    • Hi Sarah. These buildings are usually locked, but I lucked up a staff member and got permission to enter the buildings.

      • Hey! Just wondering–who’d you contact to get inside? A friend and I are looking to make a short film and we haven’t been able to find any information on who to contact. If you have any info on that, I’d be most grateful. Thanks. :)

    • When I went it was all unlocked and barley any doors so you could walk right into most of the buildings

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