The school’s namesake, Frankie Lemmon, youngest son of Frank and Georgia Lemmon, was born with Down syndrome in the 1960’s. When Frankie became of age to begin kindergarten, there was no school in the area that would accept children with special education needs. To fill this void Frankie’s father, minister of the Hudson Memorial Presbyterian Church and the congregation united with the community to create the Hudson Memorial Kindergarten for Mentally Retarded Children. The school which began with three children in 1965 was re-named the Frankie Lemmon Memorial Preschool a few years later following Frankie’s death.
Having outgrown the space at the Hudson Memorial Church, the Hayes Barton Baptist Church congregation offered to house the school free of charge within its facility where it remains today. The Frankie Lemmon School has benefited from the generosity of both congregations but continues to operate independently of any church or religious affiliations.
In the 1980’s the North Carolina Department of Education began contracting with schools such as Frankie Lemmon to provide education to both preschool and kindergarten aged children with special needs. Subsequently the school’s name was amended to Frankie Lemmon School and Developmental Center.