Anderson High School

wigwam

Anderson High School has stood as a landmark of education for the city. The institution is known throughout the state for its participation in high school athletics and for the overwhelming exuberance of its fans. Through the doors of the school have passed the area's doctors, lawyers, merchants, politicians and the everyday working people who have formed an integral part of the Anderson community.

The first high school was organized in Anderson in 1873. The students met in churches or homes throughout the city.

In the winter of 1888, the school and its belongings were transferred to the opera house until the Main Street facility was erected. This was, however, not the school's permanent home; in 1890, the school moved again to the third floor of the Lincoln School on Twelfth and School streets sharing space with the grammar school. In 1898 the first high school building was erected at Lincoln and Twelfth Streets.

In 1910, the Manual Arts and Domestic Sciences Building was completed at a cost of $150,000 on Lincoln St. between Thirteenth and Fourteen Streets. The building housed the practical training classes, a 1000-seat auditorium, a gym and a swimming pool.

A new and separate gymnasium was constructed in 1925. A 1958 fire destroyed it. The new gymnasium, the 62,160 square foot Wigwam opened in 1961, along with a new cafeteria and Olympic sized pool.

In 1977, the City Planning Commission approved an expansion of Anderson High School to extend over the original 1890 school site. The expansion demanded the closure of West Thirteenth Street from Lincoln to John Streets. The expanded building was dedicated on November 11, 1979. The renovation located all classes under one roof and included an 840- seat auditorium.

In the mid-1990's, faced with a shrinking school population and deteriorating school buildings, the Anderson Community Schools decided to close one of its three high schools. It was decided to close Madison Heights High School and move Anderson High School to the old Madison Heights facility. At the end of the 1997 school year, the Anderson High School building was closed. The Wigwam continued to be the Anderson High School gymnasium and to be used for community events.

Plans for remodeling and reuse of the Anderson High School building were discussed and the Mansur Development Corporation acquired the rights to re-use the building for senior citizens' apartments.

On June 25, 1999, fire swept through the old Anderson High School building, destroying the upper stories. The Wigwam suffered only minimal damage and was saved from the conflagration. The origin of the fire has never been determined and the remains of the building were demolished.

Continuing budget problems prompted a major reorganization of the schools in the school system and in 2010 Highland High School became Highland Middle School, and Anderson High School became the sole high school in Anderson. The Wigwam was closed in 2011. Discussions about its ultimate fate have continued into the summer of 2014.