The proposal for a new high school in Edenton is currently being discussed and suggestions are being made as to the best proposal for the Town of Edenton.

Today, as I was taking a walk on Broad Street in Edenton, I looked at the facade or front elevation of the John A. Holmes High School and I was reminded that the original core building of the school was designed by Frank W. Benton, a noted architect for many buildings in eastern North Carolina.

Edenton is fortunate to have two schools designed by him: John A. Holmes High School and Douglas F. Walker School, both built circa 1950.

From my research of the Benton brothers’ architecture, it appears that only three schools are standing in North Carolina designed by these brothers, two of which are in Edenton, and the other in Lenoir, NC.

An idea popped into my head as I was looking at the school – what if the original facade of the Benton designed John A. Holmes High School was retained and the rest of the building removed?

Reconstruction of the new school would be added behind the original facade. I have seen this done with a 1930s school in Winchester, Va., and it worked very well.

Saving the front elevation would at least retain the circa 1950 facade by noted architect Frank W. Benton, as well as save a piece of Edenton’s architecture and history.

Joanie Evans


Staff writer Miles Layton can be reached at