With a substantial African-American population, many of which were former slaves, the Carthage Board of Education practiced segregation and provided a school for black students starting in 1869 in several short-term locations. By 1880 representatives of the African-American community petitioned the board for better care of their school and the board's response was to build a new building. Land was acquired at the southwest corner of Garrison Avenue and High Street and a new school building made from locally-fired brick was erected. Opened for the 1881-1882 school year under the guidance of teacher B. F. Adams, the school was named Lincoln in honor of the late president. The building consisted of an entry hall way and two classrooms, originally one for boys and one for girls. Lincoln School continued at this location, being used for both elementary and high school classes, until 1915, when over crowding initiated the need for a larger school with better equipped classrooms for higher levels. (See Clio entry for Lincoln School #2, 601 South River Street.)
This structure is no longer a public building but private residential property.
Probably the most famous graduate of Lincoln School at this location was James Scott who is regarded in the ragtime music genre as second to the King of Ragtime and fellow Missourian Scott Joplin. Scott is often called the Prince of Ragtime and after graduation he worked in Charles Dumar's music stores in the downtown business district as a song demonstrator playing sheet music for potential buyers. Dumar was Scott's first music publisher, too. Scott eventually moved to Kansas City to pursue his music career.
The original Lincoln School property was sold in 1917 and served the community in various ways including housing the Murrell Potato Chip factory in the 1950s & 1960s. The building's brick facade probably was covered with stucco in the late 1920s as was common in Carthage, especially among churches, as a means to update older buildings. This structure was renovated again in 1989 by architect/contractor Elliott Hunter for his professional office but the building is now part of the Lincoln School Apartments complex.