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May 16-17, 2023

Camden, SC

Cleveland School


100th Anniversary


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Cleveland School was a rural South Carolina school that was constructed circa 1908-1909. The school was two stories and contained 3 classrooms. Prior to the fire, nearly 100 students were enrolled at the school. The school was located in Kershaw County, just a few miles east of Camden.

The fire occurred during the annual play that signified the end of the school year. This program was special as well since it was the last one that would be conducted at the Cleveland School. The school was set to be consolidated with three others, moving to the Charlotte-Thompson School.

That night nearly 300 people were estimated to be present on the second floor assembly area when fire broke out. As the only exit, a single stairway became jammed with people, many jumped from the windows to survive. 77 people lost their lives due to the Cleveland School Fire. This fire impacted local, state, and national codes regarding school safety.

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May 16, 2023

6:00 pm

Seminar covering

the tragedy and how the

community and state recovered

Camden Rev War Visitors Center

May 17, 2023

10:00 am

Recognition service at the

memorial site, processional to

follow to the mass grave site

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