Buchanan High School, 1925-1977

Buchanan High School

BUCHANAN HIGH SCHOOL 1925-1977 was nine miles southeast of Murfreesboro on the west side of the Manchester Highway. The building was constructed on land which had been part of the estate of Governor John Price Buchanan and was named in his honor. John P. Buchanan and wife signed the deed on July 30, 1925 for 6.59 acres of land.

The establishment of BUCHANAN HIGH SCHOOL was due to the untiring efforts of a few citizens of the community, the full cooperation of Miss Jeanette Moore King, Superintendent of Rutherford County Schools, and Mr. Will O’Brien, a member of the Board of Education for twenty years.


The school was a frame building with weatherbording painted white. It first had four classrooms plus a room that was used as a home economics room. In 1934, a gymnasium to accommodate the county basketball tournament was built in one month’s time and was paid for altogether through the labor and contributions of the community.

As enrollments increased from the consolidation of one and two-room schools, wings were added, basements were dug, restrooms were built on the porch, and finally in the 1970’s, the auditorium was remodeled into two classrooms and the stage was used for a third.

At first only two years of high school were offered, but the 1931 class graduated with diplomas from a four-year high school. In 1942, the high school students were transported to CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL and BUCHANAN became a Grade 1-8 school.

In the 1970’s, kindergarten, Title I Reading, Speech and Hearing, and Special Education were added to the curriculum.

The principals were Commodore Holt, Spencer Donnell, Paschal Shelton, Ross Shelton, Rex Shelton, P. A. Lyon, James Taylor, Mary N. Robinson, John Thurman Jacobs, Howell Bush, Charles Raper, Paul Dinkins, James Johnson, Faye Turman, W. F. Weichance, James Floyd Mayfield, and Harris Hooper. Mary Robinson was the teacher of longest tenure. Others were Margaret McKnight Powell, Elizabeth White Davenport, Kate Walkup, Delia Smith Brown, Frances Ross, Wilma Bean, Everett Simpson, Grady Biggers White, Nell Bingham McKee, Mamie Summers, Sue McKee, Margaret Todd, Loudelia Blankenship Smith, Mary Blankenship Smotherman, Mrs. W. I. Sade, Christine Couch, Lady Holt, Olive Weaver, Louise Nesbitt, and Winnie Shelton.

P. A. Lyon was second President of State Teachers College (Middle Tennessee State University) and Aileen Banks, a student, later played on the All-American Women’s Basketball Team for six years.

In March of 1977 the students of BUCHANAN SCHOOL moved into the new JOHN PRICE BUCHANAN SCHOOL two miles north. The buildings and furniture and 6.59 acres of the old school were auctioned off and sold to Carl F. Montgomery, realtor. The funds went to the county schools.

SOURCES: Deed Book 69, P. 314; Book 256, P. 73. “History of Buchanan Elementary School,” a paper read at the Open House of JOHN PRICE BUCHANAN SCHOOL in March 1977. *Gene Sloan, “Tales of Two Schools,” The Daily News Journal Accent, May 8, 1977 “Selling a Heritage,” The Daily News Journal Accent, March 20, 1977. Interview with Stella Todd Haynes, secretary of Buchanan School. *Christine Couch. *Mary N. Robinson,
*Harris Hooper. *Sarah Donnell Smith, student.

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