Students walking into Broughton
Students walking into Broughton

          Broughton High School                

A Young Architect’s First Major Commission

During the 1920s Raleigh’s center of population was shifting away from downtown to the new middle class suburbs sprouting up in the northwest precincts of the city.
Although a magnificent new high school had been erected near Moore Square in 1924, within just a few years the school system found itself burdened by the steep rise in high school aged students and the migration away from the city center. Thus, the board opened a design competition for a new high school to be built in the northwest part of town.
William Henley Deitrick opened his architectural practice in 1927, the same year he entered the design competition. Deitrick had worked for the school board since 1925 to supervise construction of the half dozen or so school buildings built in Raleigh in the mid-1920s.
The young architect’s bold proposal was unlike any other seen heretofore in North Carolina school design. Although a dozen well-seasoned architects vied for the commission, Deitrick was awarded the contract — despite the fact that “some architects complained about the selection of a young ‘newcomer’ architect.” (Elizabeth Waugh, “Firm In an Ivied Tower”)
The high school design received an award from the American Institute of Architects in 1930 and catapulted Deitrick’s career as a successful and respected architect.
He embraced the modernist aesthetic in the mid-1930s, and his firm became known for many of Raleigh’s finest modernist buildings, including the Nehi Building (1937), the Rex Hospital Nurses Home (1938), Carolina Country Club (1948, demolished), NC State Student Union (1950), and Dorton Arena (1950).

Broughton High School and …

The design of Raleigh’s new high school has been characterized as “Italian Lombard Gothic with Romanesque motifs.” The original building (many additions have been made over the years) is 414 feet long and 236 feet deep. It is built of steel and reinforced concrete, and is faced with Wake County granite.
The broad, symmetrical facade is punctuated by a 95-foot clock tower, which is flanked by an H-shaped classroom core, with auditorium and gymnasium wings extending beyond. It sits at the center of a 10-acre site. Architectural details include an orange clay tile roof, cast stone embellishments and massive wrought iron entry gates.
State Archives of North Carolina photo
This 1950s photo shows the massive granite walls and many of the building’s architectural details.
Known as Raleigh’s “New High School” for several years, it was later named in honor of Needham Bryant Broughton (1848-1914), a Baptist church leader, Raleigh businessman, member of the Raleigh School Board, and supporter of public schools.
This linen-finish postcard from the 1930s depicts Raleigh’s two (white) high schools as they appeared at the time. Hugh Morson was built downtown in 1924 and is characteristic of the design of public schools built in Raleigh from the 1910s into the 1920s. Broughton High School clearly shows the design break with the earlier mode.

… Its Legacy

For many decades Broughton has enjoyed a reputation as Raleigh’s premier public education facility. Many of its alumni have been recognized later in life as among the city’s prominent businessmen, politicians, developers and social leaders.
Even so, Broughton High School experienced a bit of national exposure during the early years of the civil rights movement when Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “Non-Violence and Racial Justice” speech there on February 10, 1958. King had been invited to Raleigh by the United Church, then located on Hillsborough St. The building was too small to accommodate the expected crowd, so arrangements were made to use the auditorium at Broughton.
State Archives of North Carolina photo
Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “Non-Violence and Racial Justice” speech to a packed crowd in Broughton’s auditorium on February 10, 1958.
Long a significant player in Raleigh’s history, Broughton High School has been designated a Raleigh Historic Landmark.
Of particular interest this week is that the talented and prolific North Carolina photographer Bayard Wootten took the photo of Broughton High School reproduced here on our featured postcard.
Wootten was a major regional photographer and perhaps North Carolina’s most significant photographer during the first half of the twentieth century. Her photographic collection is housed in the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, University of North Carolina Library at Chapel Hill.
Our Flashback Friday ‘white border’ halftone postcard this week was published locally by long-time Raleigh stationer and office outfitter Alfred Williams & Co. It was printed by Gray and Thompson Advertising of Chapel Hill.
“Flashback Friday” is a weekly feature of Goodnight, Raleigh! in which we showcase vintage postcards depicting our historic capital city. We hope you enjoy this week end treat!

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Jim Kirkland sent this article.............
Wednesday, February 04, 2004
It is a cold February night with Broughton girls upstairs rushing to put the last finishing touches on their makeup with their dates waiting patiently downstairs, corsage in hand. Alumni parents of Broughton students remember fondly when they were in the same position as their children on the night of the Queen of Hearts dance, and some students even have grandparents who can recall memories of this festive occasion.

But just what is Queen of Hearts? Someone outside the Broughton community may look to Queen of Hearts as being just another high school dance, with typical prom dresses and decorations. Their first assumption may prove to be true, however, it is just a scratch of the surface on the dense history that lies beneath the Queen of Hearts tradition.

“Just another high school dance” would be an extreme understatement of this sixty-two year affair, with the first dance being held in 1941 when the student body elected the first Queen of Hearts, Lydia Moore. The “Latipac” and “Hi-Times” databases are filled with feature stories on past Queen of Hearts, with pictures of past Queens, assemblies and the night of the dance. Journalism classes sponsored the voting process, and each student paid one cent per vote they wished to cast. The money from voting went to help publish the “Latipac.”

The names appearing on the ballot were those of senior girls passing all of their classes. The first nine Queens were elected this way, with the voting charge eventually being raised to ten cents and going to the war effort. During the time of World War II, the Broughton community came together to raise money in an effort to aid our troops overseas. All of the money raised from Queen of Hearts, including the ticket sales, went to this effort.

The 1950 Queen of Hearts dance was the first time underclassmen, in addition to seniors, were allowed to have representatives on the court. During this time, Broughton was home to grades eight through twelve, and each grade level had two representatives on the court, with the eighth graders having only one representative. The two members of the court from the senior class went on to serve as the Maid of Honor and the Queen of Hearts. The Queen was chosen much in the same way she is chosen today, with the senior collecting the most votes crowned as Queen.

The 1950 Queen of Hearts also marked the year when the senior class took over the dance as one of its class projects. Seniors were in charge of decorations, refreshments and entertainment preparations. The senior class president also served as the Queen’s escort.

Broughton has also seen those involved with Queen of Hearts go on to become successful celebrities. Clay Aiken, who as a child served as a mascot on the Queen’s court, is perhaps the most famous of the group. The 1955 Queen of Hearts, Faye Arnold, won the title of Mrs. North Carolina after she graduated and advanced to the spot of third runner-up in the Mrs. America pageant. During the 1978 festivities, Broughton student Sharon Lawrence provided the entertainment for that year’s Queen. Lawrence has gone on to be a successful actress, acting in TV’s “NYPD Blue,” “Caroline in the City” and the Broadway production of “Chicago.”

The style of formal attire over the years has varied greatly. During the 1950s, the Queen wore a full-length white dress with Elizabethan style collar and a net train with embroidered hearts. Dressing for Queen of Hearts has also become more expensive over the years. In the 1980s, a typical tuxedo cost $25, and most girls spent no more than $100 for their dresses. In recent years, the Queen has traded in her Elizabethan collars for an elaborate white wedding dress, and girls will dish out as much as $300 for a dress.

“I love everything about Queen of Hearts, except for how much I have to spend on a dress that I will wear for one night,” a senior girl said.

The Queen of Hearts tradition has certainly been passed down within the Parker family. Susan Parker, the 1970 Queen, went on to have two daughters, Macy Parker, and Hannah Parker, who attended Broughton. Both Macy and Hannah served on the Queen’s court. Susan Parker believes that the dance has become much more extravagant since she served on the 1970 court. During her years at Broughton, Parker remembers putting together “minimal decorations” the night before the dance. .

“An effort has been made to include and involve more of the student body,” Parker said about the planning efforts of the current senior class, which began in mid-October.

The senior classes of the past have indeed come together and successfully put on dances with themes such as “Alice’s Wonderland,” “Dorothy’s Emerald City,” “Kind Arthur’s Camelot” and “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” In 1967, the senior class even managed to have the popular band, The Embers, play at the Saturday night dance. With only minor setbacks, such as a leaking reflection pool at the 1986 dance, the senior classes have always worked hard to put on a successful assembly and memorable dance every year.