Laing School located here from 1868 to 1953 was founded in 1866 by Cornelia Hancock, a Quaker who had served as a nurse with the Union Army during the Civil War. First housed in Mount Pleasant Presbyterian Church, Laing Industrial School was named for Henry M. Laing of the Friends Association for the Aid and Elevation of the Freedmen. The 1868 school destroyed by the Charleston Earthquake of 1886 was replaced by a school which stood here until 1954. Early instruction at Laing with its motto “Try to Excel” combined academics with instruction in industrial, farming and homemaking skills. A new Laing Elementary opened at King and Greenwich Streets in 1945; the high school remained here until a new Laing High opened on U.S. Hwy. 17 North in 1953. Laing High closed in 1970 with the desegregation of county schools. That building later housed Laing Middle School when it opened in 1974.