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Former student remembers South Potomac Junior High

July 24, 2013
  • Vickie Layton of Hagerstown submitted this postcard of South Potomac Junior High School. It later became Bester Elementary School. A new Bester Elementary School is being built behind the old school.
Submitted photo

Vickie Layton of Hagerstown said she has been watching, with great interest, the recent activity at Bester Elementary School on South Potomac Street in Hagerstown.

A new Bester Elementary School is being built behind the old school.

On July 17, the crest was removed from the entrance to the school. It will be incorporated into the interior entrance of the media center at the new Bester Elementary School, which is scheduled to open in August 2014.

Layton said the school was originally built as South Potomac Junior High School and since workers removed the “Bester” sign recently, passers-by can see the words “South Potomac Junior High” beneath it.

It was built as a junior high school in 1930 on the 5-acre site of Willow Lane Park Baseball Stadium.
Hagerstown’s Class D minor league baseball team played there when the team was part of the Blue Ridge League.

When the school was built, the stadium was relocated to its location on Memorial Boulevard.

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Vickie Layton’s father, Lawrence Martin, attended seventh, eighth and ninth grades at SPJH in the late 1930s, and Vickie Layton attended seventh and eighth grade there from September 1965 through June 1967.

Vickie Layton wrote a feature about the school for the Maryland Cracker Barrel magazine a few years ago.

When she was writing it, she was searching through some old photos of her dad’s, and she found a postcard of the new South Potomac Junior High  School, complete with the turrets above the front door (now gone) and some other interesting looking work on the roof.

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