Smyrna High School, 1908-1919

SMYRNA HIGH SCHOOL 1908-1919 was housed in the former SMYRNA FITTING SCHOOL which the County School Board had acquired. On May 30, 1908, W.K. Patterson, Sr., B.B. Gracy, S.E. Hager, John F. Tucker, J.S. Gooch, H.D. Jarratt, and T.W. Dickinson deeded the five acres of property to Board Members B.M. Rucker, W.H. Gregory, Tom Richardson, J.P. Leathers, and ______ White.

In 1912, four large classrooms were added. Long rows of sheds were built along what is now College Street for the horses and buggies. There was still no plumbing; drinking water was provided by a well with a pump; coal and wood stoves furnished heat. There was no school program for the feeding of students at lunch.

Edwin F. Hoover, Sr., who had been principal of the SMYRNA FITTING SCHOOL in 1904-1905, became the first principal of SMYRNA HIGH SCHOOL from 1912-1916. He was followed by a minister, John R. Rosbro.

Among the teachers were: Belle Marlin Gilmore, Mary Patterson, Frankie Haynes, Jamie Snell, Frances Snell, Mamie Chapman.

The school enrolled both elementary and high school students. The curriculum was enlarged in 1912 to include music and a library.

School activities consisted of concerts, box suppers, the annual “Christmas tree,” and a community picnic on graduation day.

The only organized sport was baseball which by 1915 became a competitive sport with other schools. The team for 1915 was composed of Warmath Davis, Walter Posey, Mason Gwyn, Sanders Hibbett, William Gracy, Batey Gresham, Vinson Gambill, Sam Edmondson, Charley Gooch, Shirley Gracy, and Robert Davis. Charley Gooch and his cousin John Gooch became major league players.

The school became so overcrowded that classes one and two were held in a church across the street. In 1919 the frame building was razed and a modern stone and frame structure was built on the same site.

SOURCES: Deed Book 49, p. 394. *Dora Thompson, who attended classes in the church. Hoover, pp. 299-310. *Homer Pittard, Griffith Rutherford Co. Bicentennial Commission, 1976

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