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 Murray County Museum  
(Placed on the National Register of Historic Places June 21, 2004)

Murray County High School, built 1934
Murray County High School, built 1934

The site selected was a 36-acre cornfield on the Davis farm located near the center of Murray County. The donated rocks to construct the earliest buildings were hauled from Fort Mountain, where they had been dynamited during the building of the Chatsworth-Ellijay Highway across the mountain. Those who hauled the rocks were paid fifty cents per truck load.

Initially the stone masons were paid $2 per day and other construction workers were paid $1 per day. Wages subsequently were adjusted to pay stone masons fifty cents per hour, carpenters thirty cents per hour, and laborers fifteen cents per hour.

The year was 1934 and the Murray County Board of Education had voted on April 16, 1934 to authorize the building of a new high school building. Upon its completion the three existing high schools at Chatsworth, Eton, and Spring Place would be closed and all high school students would attend the new high school.

The one-story structure contained eight classrooms, a small library, and an office. A partial basement housed classrooms for agriculture and science classes. The wood floors were left unfinished; they eventually would be worn smooth by foot traffic. In each classroom at least one of the plaster walls was painted glossy black—to serve as a chalkboard.

Ten used typewriters were bought and typing classes were introduced.

When the 1934 school term began, some 300 students enrolled at the new facility. Among these were 60 seniors. The first principal was L. N. Foster. Thirteen teachers made up the faculty: Roland Carter, Irene Chambers, Edward Chapman (librarian), Harold Ellis, Lula Gladden, Jack Greeson, Ruby Henderson, Elswick Keith, Julian Keith, G.I. Maddox, Leona McDonald, Pauline Ogletree, and Herbert Rogers.

First Faculty

Left to right, front row: Ruby Henderson, Pauline Ogletree, Lula Gladden, Irene Chambers, and Leota McDonald. Second Row: Herbert Rogers; Roland Carter, Principal L. N. Foster, G. I. Maddox, and Jack Greeson. Third Row: Julian Keith, Elswick Keith, and Edward Chapman.

Pauline Ogletree selected green and white as the school colors.

Lula Gladden wrote the Alma Mater (for those who don't know the words, they appear at the end of this write-up). Ten years later Miss Gladden's funeral was held at Murray County High School (on September 28, 1944) with several hundred people attending.

Two barrels containing drinking water were placed on the steps at the building's south entrance each morning. These were removed in October 1934 when heating and plumbing were installed.

When the second school year began in 1935, the rock Home Economics Building had been built. The cannery also opened that year.

Home Economics Building, built 1935
Home Economics Building, built 1935

Electric lights were installed in 1935.

Faculty member G. I. Maddox supervised the building of the rock Agriculture building and several dozen of the Ag students worked on that construction. This, the 4th and final of the original rock buildings, was completed in 1936. After that the campus remained essentially unchanged for several years.

Agriculture Building, built 1936
Agriculture Building, built 1936

The high school's first band, organized in 1935, included both students and teachers. A few years later the school had no band.

The first Senior Class Play, titled "Son John" (a drama in four acts), was performed in the auditorium at Chatsworth Grammar School, Thursday night, May 16, 1935. The graduation song was "The Last Chord."

Murray County High School's first graduation was May 18, 1935. Of the 60 seniors who started the school year, only thirty-eight were awarded diplomas.

First Graduation

Left to right, front row: Odis Parrott, Mary Esther Scoggins, Nina Jo Gordon, Ray Quarels, Estelle Sitton, Annie Mae Davis, Aughtie Hawkins and Robert Dickie. Second row: M. L. Bagley, Nannie Treadwell, Geneva Adams, Estelle Moreland, Lora Rogers, Jenevelyn Wells and Nannie Baggett. Third row: Emily Bennett, Marie Morris, Sarah Smith, Emoylees Bradley, Leonard Fletcher, H. B. Terry, Robbie Sue Wilson, Mildred Dunn, Cecil Campbell and Thelma McCamy. Fourth row: Willie Messer, Ben Isenhower, Herman Hansird, Paul Long, Charlie Duvall, Nelson Harris, W. J. Gregory, Claude Hawkins, Leonard Young, Floyd Wilbanks, Jr., Kathryn Thompson, Reynolds Hilley and Paul Valentine.

Basketball was the first sport at the new high school. Next came baseball, then track.

***When??? After World War II, many military buildings were declared surplus and made available for other uses. One of the old barracks from Fort Oglethorpe (?) was moved on campus to serve as a lunch room.

In 1949 the brick gymnasium was built and the following year four classrooms were added at the front of the gym.

The football field was built in 1950.

***When??? the track was courts???

In 1956 another brick extension housed a new lunchroom, principal and counseling offices, the library, science laboratories, and additional classrooms.

During the 1964-65 school term a new shop building was completed.

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