Recall at the city’s schools – Mount Airy News

23August 2020


Pennants, utilized to determine Middle ages armies, became connected with sports and universities in the late 1800s. It didn’t take wish for high schools to adopt the practice. It was common for finishing classes chose class colors, motto, and flower well into the late 20th century. Mount Airy High School’s class of 1928 picked green and white, representing youth and pureness in the Victorian language of color. “These 2 virtues are vital to happiness and ideal living however they alone do not guarantee success,” reported the school’s paper ‘High Spots’ in May of that year. They chose ‘ambition’ as the class virtue.

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The former Mount Airy High School, built in 1916 and remodeled and expanded several times, is seen here in 1955. The school opened with a student body of 260 in five grades. Most students at that time didn’t attend past 6th grade and few completed 12 years. The first class to graduate from this building had only 18 students. The school’s athletic fields, to the rear, hosted not only school sports but many of the area’s mill baseball games. When the current high school was built on North South Street in 1951, this became a junior high called the South Main Street School.

Mount Airy Museum of Regional History

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The former Mount Airy High School, integrated in 1916 and remodeled and expanded a number of times, is seen here in 1955. The school opened with a trainee body of 260 in 5 grades. Most trainees at that time didn’t go to previous sixth grade and couple of completed 12 years. The first class to graduate from this structure had just 18 trainees. The school’s athletic fields, to the rear, hosted not just school sports but a number of the location’s mill baseball video games. When the existing high school was constructed on North South Street in 1951, this became a junior high called the South Main Street School. Mount Airy Museum of Regional History< img src="https://ashevilleinsurancenearme.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/look-back-at-the-citys-schools-mount-airy-news-2.jpg"alt=" Luther B. Pendergraph was superintendent of Mount Airy Schools from 1928 until his retirement 31 years later in 1959. Born in Orange County,"The Professor, "as he was called, concerned Mount Airy with teaching and administrative experience from Durham and
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Beginning in 1896, the Rockford Street Academy became the Mount Airy Graded School, the first “free public school” in the county. It housed all the town’s public school students from first through 12th grade. As enrollment grew, an older wooden school building (seen to the right), was used for the first- and second-graders. It was upgraded, and renovated several times. The auditorium, added in 1931, is all that remains today as the Andy Griffith Playhouse. This image from the 1916 Sanborn Insurance map notes the school’s fire escapes, heat source, and electric lights, all a point of pride for the community but also important to insurance companies.

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several Virginia schools and the management abilities learned in the Army throughout WWI. He also held degrees from Trinity Park(now Duke University), Harvard, and Columbia universities. When he died in 1969, he was kept in mind in the Mount Airy News for his willingness to listen to staff and trainee alike, and for leading the town’s education system”into the best duration of expansion the school system has actually ever experienced.””/ > Luther B. Pendergraph was superintendent of Mount Airy Schools from 1928 up until his retirement 31 years later in 1959. Born in Orange County,”The Teacher,”as he was called, came to Mount Airy with mentor and administrative experience from Durham and a number of Virginia schools and the management abilities found out in the Army throughout WWI. He likewise held degrees from Trinity Park (now Duke University), Harvard, and Columbia universities. When he died in 1969, he was kept in mind in the Mount Airy News for his willingness to listen to personnel and student alike, and for leading the town’s education system”into the best duration of growth the school system has ever experienced.” Beginning in 1896, the Rockford Street Academy ended up being the Mount Airy Graded School, the very first “totally free public school “in the county. It housed all the town’s public school trainees from first through 12th grade. As enrollment grew, an older wooden school structure (seen to the right ), was used for the first-and second-graders.

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Even though they were outside the official town limits, both Jones High School, built in 1934 for Black students, and Bannertown Elementary School, built in 1936, were part of the Mount Airy system. Jones was repurposed after desegregation in 1965. Students from Bannertown and Rockford (both elementaries by then) were transferred to B.H. Tharrington when it was completed in 1977. Bannertown Elementary, near the intersection of South Main Street and Westfield Road, is pictured here in the early 1970s.

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It was updated, and refurbished numerous times. The auditorium, added in 1931, is all that stays today as the Andy Griffith Playhouse. This image from the 1916 Sanborn Insurance map notes the school’s fire gets away, heat source, and electric lights, all a point of pride for the community but also important to insurance companies. The primary section of the Rockford Street School, integrated in 1904, was demolished in November 1977 as part of the Surry Arts Council growth strategies. The site had been the location of the town’s schools because at least 1811. This image from the Mount Airy Times front page reveals the stunning columns that had enhanced the primary entry of the structure for decades being up to the trashing arm. Even though they were outside the main town limits, both Jones High School, integrated in 1934 for Black trainees, and Bannertown Primary school, built in 1936, belonged to the Mount Airy system. Jones was repurposed after desegregation in 1965. Trainees from Bannertown and Rockford(both elementaries already )were transferred to B.H. Tharrington when it was completed in 1977. Bannertown Elementary, near the intersection of South Main Street and Westfield Road, is pictured here in the early 1970s. In 1903, Rockford Street in Mount Airy was a peaceful part of town lined with the homes of middleclass households. It wasn’t paved yet however energy poles brough electricity and telephone lines to a couple of homes there. On Wednesday, Nov. 4, however, the chilled quiet of a really morning was broken by the clang of the fire bells. The school was aflame.”A CALAMITY! “check out the Mount Airy News headline, “When the smoke alarm was sounded at 2:45 this morning the flames were leaping high above the tower on the graded school structure, and there was little anybody could do conserve throwing water on close-by buildings.”A wing had been added to the big school just that summer and very first reports were that the fire had actually begun in the” old area.

“People encountered the building to grab whatever could be performed, a couple of desks, some books, and some other products were saved however the structure and most of the contents were lost. Early quotes put the loss at $ 6,000. Insurance coverage was brought for only $ 3,000. The newspaper, which was released on Wednesdays had actually undoubtedly been’put to bed’by that hour and was ready to start printing any moment, but the presses were stopped and the print plates were opened up again to add the destructive story.

“The city schools, Mt. Airy’s biggest organization, [is] closed for today. But as we compose this hurried sketch, the Board of School Commissioners are holding a meeting in Chairman G.W. Sparger’s workplace for the function of arranging for the school to resume to-morrow morning if structures can be protected.”

And reopen, they did.

“The City Schools are spread in different parts of town, which is a fantastic trouble to Superintendent Davis, but as good fortune would have it, all the instructors are thoroughly efficient in looking after the pupils,” the News reported the next week.

—— The earliest school of which we have record in the location that ended up being Mount Airy was one run by Francis Donelson and his partner Jane in a church. Prof. Jim Hickman developed a subscription school in 1810 or ’11 thought to have actually been on the same home as the Rockford Street School. There’s been a school on that property ever since. Miss Ruth Minick composed some years ago that she believed Hickman

had been related to the Donelsons. Such schools charged a fee per month or semester, putting education out of reach of numerous families in the area. Gov. Jesse Franklin, who matured in Surry County and had family members on the rolls of Hickman’s academy, promoted for “totally free public schools” as early as 1825. The idea consulted with strong objection as people believed it resembled charity. The damage of wide-spread illiteracy, nevertheless, became significantly clear in the region. In 1870 completely 34 %of the population

in the South might not check out or compose. By 1890 North Carolina had the highest illiteracy rate amongst whites in the country and among the lowest school attendance rates. There were parents, ministers, and magnate working to make education readily available from early days in Mount Airy. Individuals such as Elizabeth and James Roberts who deeded land for the Lebanon Methodist Church and encouraged them to carry out a school during the week. A totally free academy for the” education of males”was arranged at the Rockford Street Academy in 1860 by Mount Airy business owners Thomas Prather, Joseph Hollingsworth, James Greenwood

, Elisha Banner, Robert S. Gilmer, and Winston Fulton.—— This sense of neighborhood involvement and obligation continued and appeared after the 1903 fire. When the students and teachers collected in Might 1904 for the end of school program, it was held at the Central Methodist Church(then on Franklin Street). Ministers from each of the town’s churches got involved. Editor M.A. Lowry of the Mount Airy News was clearly satisfied when he composed of”the intense and pleased faces of our city’s gems– the school kids”at the program. “We congratulate the Board of School Commissioners and

the Superintendent and Educators not only on the extremely successful workouts of Sunday, however also upon the great work of the session under very attempting conditions and with the grades commonly

scattered.”He called the work “remarkable.”From where I stand, almost 117 years later, I ‘d say that is still the case, not just in Mount Airy, however across the country, as our instructors, trainees, administrators, and families work to discover services to keep our children’s education going through a

difficult time. The Mount Airy City Schools is commemorating 125 years of supplying education for the children of this city this year. They’re asking folks to share pictures and stories of anything related to city schools at http://bit.ly/2vWYn05. Just for the record, the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History would like to be able to copy your photos or archive your memories also. Contact Amy Snyder at aesnyder@northcarolinamuseum.org or call the museum. Kate Rauhauser-Smith is the visitor services manager for the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History with 22 years in journalism prior to joining the museum personnel. She and her family moved to

Mount Airy in 2005 from Pennsylvania where she was also involved with museums and history tours. She can be reached at KRSmith@NorthCarolinaMuseum.org or by calling 336-786-4478 x228 Source: mtairynews.com

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