Secrets of the WFS Building: Exposed


Katie Bryan, Features Writer ‘24

Ghosts, mysterious locked doors, and unexplained noises are somewhat of a norm at Wilmington Friends School. With school history dating back to 1748, there is so much history and mystery inside the walls of Wilmington Friends. 

One of the less mysterious, secret spots is the closet under the stairs in the library. Kate Hendrix, the upper-school librarian, gave context to the construction of the little closet. In 2016 when the library was rebuilt, they moved the steps to the balcony and made them significantly larger. The closet built under the stairs is for extra storage and is kept locked. Hendrix said, “Each year we cram more and more stuff in here.” This closet is a mystery to students because it’s always locked and is exclusive to only the librarians. 

A middle school favorite is the “chute” in Sean Kerrane, the middle school English teacher’s classroom. Before Sean Kerrane started working at Wilmington Friends in 2017, Eric Tucker was the 6th-grade English teacher. It seems that mysterious places are very much attached to Tucker’s legacy. He is remembered for taking his 6th-grade English classes down to the ‘dungeons’ to tell his scary stories. To pay tribute to Tucker’s teaching fame Kerrane said, “Every year I do an optional freaky story contest. They [the students] have to incorporate the chute in their story.” Some students make the chute a portal in their stories or include the natural spookiness of the chute. Kerrane tells his students, “Sometimes I hear the chain at the top of the chute shake.” When asked if he knew what the chute was actually there for he replied, “I don’t actually, I prefer to live with the mystery.” And so, the chute remains a mystery. 

One of the most mysterious places that are only brought up in hushed tones is the archives. Students do not realize how close they are to the spookiness of the basement in their everyday lives. The popular staircase that travels from right outside of the art room to the right of Ryan Wood’s classroom has a staircase that leads even farther down, down to the archives. There is surprisingly little keeping any students from going down to the hallways of the basement except maybe the darkness and ghosts. The area is packed with old classroom chairs, broken doors, toys, and supplies for school-wide events. There are also rooms that have plumbing and electrical controls for the school. A couple of doors were locked down there, including the ever-famous archives. The archives are kept orderly by Terry Maguire, the school’s archivist. He first recognized the 100th anniversary of girls’ athletics at Friends! The archival room is pristine with many organized boxes filled with old Wilmington Friends history. When asked if photos could be taken, the answer was no. It is that top secret. 

The rumor of the “boiler room” kid is an interesting yet very vague one. Some say that over 20 years ago there was a kid who lived in the boiler room and went to all his classes but slipped downstairs when school was over. None of this can be proved and some older faculty members remember the story a little differently. They think that he didn’t really live down in the boiler room but would skip all of his classes by hiding in the boiler room. Now, all of this is purely conjecture but it certainly adds to the spookiness of the old boiler room and building. 

There are countless other spooky and secret places around the school, some that are sure to be kept so secret they could never make it to a Whittier article. Just remember as you walk through the school that you are surrounded by history, and maybe ghosts.