The Tileston School complex is located in downtown Wilmington occupying the 400 block of Ann Street. The original two-story brick building, circa 1872, still stands in the center of the complex. There have been several additions; the Neo-classical front center on Ann Street in 1910, designed by J. F. Leitner and recessed additions added in 1937, designed by Leslie N. Boney. In 1919, H. E. Bonitz designed the wing and stair hall to the south of the original building.
The Tileston Building was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1974 and received a local historic designation in 1983.
Tileston Normal School
The Tileston Normal School was one of the first public schools established after the Civil War. It was funded by Mary Tileston Hemenway, a generous contributor to free education in the south, and run by Amy Morris Bradley from 1872 to 1891. When Mrs. Hemenway died in 1891 the school's operations ceased. In 1897, the school re-opened as Wilmington High School and was deeded to the City of Wilmington in 1901. Tileston became an elementary school when New Hanover High opened in 1922. It also served as a junior high school. It remained a public school until 1986, when preservationists lost the fight to keep the state's oldest school building in continuous use from closing.
In October of 1989, the St. Mary Parish purchased the Tileston complex from the City of Wilmington and agreed to use the property for cultural, social, educational and recreational programs for children and adults.
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