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WCHS History

Winston County High School
The first school, built in 1908, possibly burned, but the building you see here, was taken in the early 1910's (the second building but still the same location). It was used until 1929.

Winston County Elementary and High School until the fire on January 30, 1971.

Winston County High School opened its doors in temporary headquarters on October 1, 1908. Although not yet completed, supplied with furniture, library, or laboratories, the facilities included a large auditorium where classes were held until after Christmas. The new building of native sandstone was completed the following spring at a cost of $9,500. There were three teachers the first year: Mr. C.O. Wade, Principal; Miss Martha Dubose, and Mr. W.C. Shotts, assistants. Only two grades were taught the first year: Freshman and Sophomore. In 1911, James W. Curtis became the first graduate of the school; in 1912, there were two, and in 1913 there were three.

From the New Era, October 2, 1908: The Winston County High School. Will begin its first session Thursday, Oct 1st, at 8:30 o'clock in Double Springs Town School House. Professors Wade and Shotts are already in town and will examine and classify students Thursday and Friday. If you expect to be in the High School at any time in the first half year, come Thursday and Friday and bring the books which you studied last. You will thus greatly help us in organizing classes and arranging a workable schedule of recitations. Charles Wade, B.A. Principal, Double Springs, Ala.

This first school building burned on October 30, 1913, and classes were held at the Winston County Court House until the new school was rebuilt in the same spot in the fall of 1914, behind where Better Built Trailers now is located. From the Mountain Eagle, November 5, 1913: "Winston County High School Burns Down. There Was $10,000 Insurance and a New Structure is to be Erected. The cry of fire was heard in our city last Wednesday night, or more properly Thursday morning about 1 o’clock. When the whole town responded, they were surprised to find our magnificent county high school building, the pride of thousands of hearts in this section, in flames. The fire had gained such headway that there was no possible chance to extinguish it nor to rescue any of the contents. A fine piano which had recently been purchased and not fully paid for, a library of many choice books and a laboratory to which had been recently added much more and better equipment, chemicals, a prize trophy for oratory won in the last two contests with Haleyville school, and many other things, destroyed. There was $10,000 insurance on the building, which will not be sufficient to replace it, but our people will be found loyal to this institution and will see that even a better house is erected on the grounds as soon as possible. It was a touching scene to see the teachers and pupils gather next morning near the smouldering ruins and blackened walls of the one magnificent building, wondering and planning for the future. The county officials gallantly and courteously offered the use of the court house as temporary home for the school which was accepted.—Winston Herald."

When the schools started consolidating, the building wouldn’t accommodate the students, so plans were made for a larger building in downtown Double Springs which was erected in 1930. The Advertiser-Journal, September 13, 1930: "The new Winston County High School here will be ready for occupancy about Oct. 1, Principal James N. Castleberry announced Sunday. Work on the project was started early in the Summer. The new building is of Winston County stone and every piece used in the structure was shaped on the school grounds. The building includes 10 large classrooms with chemical and biological laboratories, two supply rooms, dressing rooms for boys' and girls' athletic teams, a principal's office and an auditorium, seating 500. The school is on a six-acre site and has excellent drainage facilities. Regular Fall sessions at Winston County High School were begun in the old structure two weeks ago with enrollment reported well above the average of other years. Members of the faculty, in addition to Principal Castleberry and Charles Duncan, coach and social science, Miss Olivia Murphy, English; Miss Ruth Carmichael, mathematics; Miss Lucile Bennett, economics and physics; Miss Louise Carton, social studies and Mrs. A. G. Weaver, music." The move was made on October 10, 1930. This building had additions in 1935. In 1939, WCHS was altered again, and new construction was added to house both elementary and high school. This building was used until January 30, 1971, when it was consumed by fire.

Classes were held in mobile homes until construction began in 1972, and in 1973, a new facility was completed and the students had a separate school from elementary. This present 90 acre school is located on County Road 24, and on January 22, 1972, nearly a year after the fire, W.A. Daniel Construction was named the low bidder and built the school at a cost of $632,000 (the food service equipment from Phillips Supply Company costed an additional $25,190). This was during the time that the Area Vocational Center (now known as the Winston County Technical Center) was built beside the new high school. On April 10, 1972, R.P. Montgomery Construction Company was named the low bidder for the Technical Center at a cost of $334,946.63. Classes started at both new buildings on August 27, 1973.


Content Updated August 2011