Remembering Powder Springs High School

Education has always been a part of the development of Powder Springs and the surrounding areas. There have been numerous schools over the years since the opening of the Springville Academy in December of 1840, which stood on a site adjacent to the the Baptist Cemetery. They also occupied several other buildings.

In December of 1859, it was incorporated as Powder Springs High School. In the 1870’s it moved to a building on Atlanta Street. In 1920 a brick building was then built on Atlanta Street for the school. The Cobb County Library sits there now. In 1928, five area schools were combined to make Powder Springs Schools. Vessie Frances Thomas (1916-2002) was one of five graduates from the first graduating class in 1934.

Powder Springs High School held class for grades one through eleven until 1952 when South Cobb High School opened as a High School for grades nine through twelve. Powder Springs High School then became Powder Springs Elementary School with grades one through eight. Thereafter, eighth grade graduating classes went to South Cobb High School. In 1962 the last eighth grade graduating class went to South Cobb. The next year’s (1963) graduating class, along with those from the sixth and seventh grade classes, went to McEachern High School. Powder Spring School became grades one through six. In 1969 Compton Elementary School opened. In 1975 Tapp Middle School opened. McEachern became High School only.

In 1988 a new Powder Springs Elementary School was built on Grady Grier Drive and the old Powder Springs School building was closed.

The Primary building then became the home of the Powder Springs Senior Center.

By 2006 time had taken its toll on the old Powder Springs High School Building. It was not able to be saved so, it had to be demolished. However, the site seemed to be a perfect place to build a new Cobb County Branch Library. The city had outgrown the old county branch library on Marietta Street. The new branch library opened in late 2007.

The Powder Springs High School building has been referred to as a ‘grand old building’. It certainly had meant so much to many generations through the years.

In an article about the school and new library appeared in the Atlanta Daily Journal on June 16, 2006. The following are memories of Pete Hardy and Imogene Abernathy as recorded. Pete Hardy, who graduated in 1943, has many memories of the school and would miss it. He remembered the school being on a dirt road when he went there. He remembered the janitor stoking the coal furnace in the mornings. He played on the school’s basketball team in the old gym.

Mr. Hardy met his late wife there, Georgie ‘Ray’ Landers, who was a year behind him. She always saved a seat for him on the school bus. Pete and Ray lived in a home he built in 1946 within view of his old school. They raised their daughter, Patricia, here where she also attended Powder Springs School.

Imogene Hovers Abernathy, who graduated in 1949, remembers a fifth grade teacher who taught her to spell. She says that she has so many memories of going to school there, that tearing down the building was like having an old home place tore down.

She also met her husband, Oertel Abernathy, there – they were in the same grade/class.

Mr. Hardy and Mrs. Abernathy both said they were sad to see the school go but understood the reason.

The Museum has many artifacts from the Powder Springs High School donated by many of those who attended the school. Including bricks from the old building. The right front room of the museum has on display many of those items. Various printed history information is found on the small table next to the School Case, including Powder Springs High School and Elementary School yearbooks of 1942, 1949, and 1955-1956 and other miscellaneous information.

The display case (The School Room Case) contains memorabilia from school days, paintings of the old Powder Springs School and High School Building and toys of the era. On the walls between the windows are pictures of Powder Springs High School Girls Basketball Team. The Powder Springs High School 1950 Graduation Class. High School Diploma of Helen Brown (Sanders) from Powder Springs dated May 23 1924 and her Teachers Certificate from The State of Georgia dated August 5, 1926.

There are more items in other parts of the museum as well as information in the Research Room. The Powder Springs Image Book, also, has a chapter on the Powder Springs School.

Many thanks to all who have contributed and donated their memorabilia, memories and various kinds of information to the museum for the enjoyment of future generations.