[photos below] Research by Bert Lanier
The first school building ever erected at Denton was built in 1886, on a
spacious lot purchased from A. A. Snider. This building, which stood
where the high school's parking lot now is, was paid for mainly, if not
entirely, by Dr. A. Anderson, Robert Tysinger, Andrew J. Buie, and Jacob
Skeen. It was about 22 by 40 feet in size, was built of good pine
lumber, complete with belfry and front porch, in the~ style of those
days, and was considered a credit to the community. The first schools
taught in this building were private undertakings, and no records
showing the number of pupils or the length of the various terms are now
In 1894 the county board of education took steps to form a
public school district around the schoolhouse, and appointed James
Asbury Snider, Alexander A. Snider and William H. Garner as the new
district's first committee. The first teacher employed by this committee
was a young man from Trinity, in Randolph County, Charles W. Briles,
whose work was so satisfactory that the committee was glad to employ him
for a second term. Briles subsequently became the first Superintendent
of Public Instruction in the State of Oklahoma.
Briles, the next public school at Denton seems to have been taught by B.
I. Harrison, who according to local tradition, rendered good service.
the fall of 1897, the boundaries of the district having been enlarged, a
tall sandy-haired schoolmaster, a former resident of Kernersville and a
graduate of Oak Ridge Institute, J. A. Stone, came to Denton, taught
the public school and a short-term private school at the end of the
public term. Stone's work met with such approval that he decided to
establish an academy capable of pre- paring young men and women for
college. Accordingly, in January, 1898, Stone purchased from Robert
Tysinger, then sole owner, all the land included in and known as the
school grounds, which lay on both sides of the Salisbury Road, and
proceeded to erect what was locally considered a fine "academy," a
two-story structure; 40 by 60 feet in size, with porch and portico on
the south front, with duplex stairways that led to the auditorium.
Painted white and trimmed in yellow, it was almost certainly the finest
rural school building in Davidson County, with the exception of the
brick building at Yadkin College.
For the first term in the new
building, Principal Stone employed as assistant principal a young
graduate of Wake Forest College, J. 0. Purnell. He also employed two
other teachers, one for music and one for primary work.
came in from miles around, and several others came from a longer
distance and boarded with local families. At the first commencement (or
rather exhibition, since there were no graduates to commence), which was
held in May, 1899, a long program of recitations and declamations was
rendered, and the literary address (according to an old program) was
delivered by the Hon. Theodore F. Kluttz, lawyer, orator, and
Congressman from Salisbury. The largest crowd ever seen in Denton up to
that time was present, there was a brass band to enliven the
festivities, dinner on the grounds, and a good time was apparently
enjoyed by all present.
The next fall the Institute opened with
the same number of teachers, a fairly good enrollment, and during the
fall term appeared to be doing good work. A dormitory-and-teacher's home
was started and almost completed during 1899-1900, and until sometime
after Christmas the outlook for the Institute seemed to be good.
But sometime after Christmas, for some reason, which is now not clear,
attendance fell off, and as Mr. Stone was rather heavily in debt for his
new buildings, and as some of his creditors were pressing him for
payment, he was confronted with a difficult situation. Much worried over
the situation, Stone suddenly left the community one day in February,
1900, without telling anyone his destination. When he returned a few
weeks later, the school had been closed, his teachers had left, and
Stone soon found that he had lost many of his former friends.
The next fall Stone was unable to open his Denton Institute, and there
was no more teaching on the high school level at Denton until the fall
of 1906, when the Rev. George L. Reynolds took charge of the academic
building and founded a private institution known as Denton High School.
Subsequently there were two other schools of particular interest that
were used before the County bought the Reynolds property and turned it
into a County School.
The first was a log building on the south
end of the lot where the present Legion hut now stands. The second
building was across the street, located where the Terrell Trailer Park
now stands. This building had both primary and high school facilities.
R. C. Powell later converted it into an attractive private house.
No pubic schools existed In Davidson county south of U.S. 64 in 1907. BI Harrison ran for a seat on the Davidson County Board of Education with his platform devoted to bringing a free school to Denton. He won a seat in 1907 and served 3 years on that board, accomplishing his goal of getting a public school in Denton NC. The school did not open until 1912 but the county was obligated to build the school. He chose not to run in 1911, as the trip to Lexington took one and a half days by horse and buggy and he felt that he had done what he had set out to do.
| First School Denton NC|| First High School Denton NC|| First High School Denton NC|| |
Info by: Jim Harrison , grandson of BI Harrison
| First Public School|| First Public School|| First Public School|
| This Photo taken 1969 DHS|| || Aerial view Denton school|
Click on Photo for larger view
Below are some school Photos of denton district schools that were consolidated in denton in 1927
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Denton School Bus 1941
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View Denton School Memory Album Photos Here...............
South Davidson High School replaced Denton High School in 1989
located 3 miles north of denton on hwy. 109
Photos taken 2011
| Click on Photos for Larger View|
Photos taken 2011