A Brief History of Lawrence Peter Hollis
In 1916, Pete was named the Superintendent of Parker District Schools, a collection of 14 mill schools scattered amongst nine of the Upstate’s mill villages and, eventually, included Parker High School (now Legacy Early College). Though Parker High School closed in 1985 with the withering textile industry, Pete’s legacy lives on in street names, memorial statues, and by sharing his efforts to improve the lives of mill families through educational, athletic, and community initiatives.
To name a few of his accomplishments, Pete is credited with organizing the first Boy Scout troop and bringing basketball to South Carolina, organizing the game for mill families and creating competition between mill villages. He was known for providing plowing, seeds, and fertilizer for mill family properties, offering vocational education in cosmetology, auto mechanics, typewriting, carpentry, and it must be said, with a majority focus on textile manufacturing; he hired teachers without professional training to study the textile industry at, what he named, the ‘Parker Institute’ and created adult night school for internal advancement of mill workers Pete launched a ‘People’s College’ with the slogan “All kind of classes for all kinds of People” and, among many other things, spearheaded the first mobile library called the ‘Pathfinder’.
Pete’s Legacy Today
For his service from 1923 to 1951, his vocational training facility on the Parker High School campus was named the Hollis Building and was the subject of recent renovations by CGD. The second floor renovation maintains the rich history of the building and the influence of the textile mills with large high, wood timber ceilings, wood floors, exposed brick walls and expansive windows. The space provides a landing spot for Legacy’s advanced students to learn and collaborate when they are on campus. There are classrooms of various sizes, study rooms for students to work in small groups and common areas where their scholars can work in a more leisurely environment. The College Center, dining hall and library were all designed to create the atmosphere students will encounter on a college campus. This intentional design is aimed to demystify the college experience and ready Legacy’s students for post-secondary education.