HISTORY OF EDUCATION IN WEST VIRGINIA 1904
Ronceverte Public Schools
BY PRIN. H. W. BARCLAY
The first District School in Ronceverte was established in the year 1875.
A frame school house containing one large room was built from the district funds. This house is still standing and is situated on Greenbrier avenue near the back road to Lewisburg. It is now occupied by a respectable colored man named Dick Williams.
The school at first numbered about 25 pupils and was taught by Mr. Erwin Beckner for a year. He was followed by Mr. Jno. T. Cribbins and Mr. Keys Nelson.
About 1882 the school had outgrown its quarters, and a part of it moved into the two room brick building, corner of Greenbrier avenue and Pine street, now owned by Mr. Edwin Patton and occupied by Mr. H. Leist.
The principals in order were: Miss Ella Krebs, Rufus D. Alderson, 1883; A. P. Farley, 1884; L. J. Williams, 1885-86, and Rev. Walter S. Anderson, 1887.
As the number of pupils increased, teachers were added until in 1884 there were four teachers
On Nov. 22, of the same year, the Board of Education accepted the Ronceverte school house built by Contractor D. H. Foglesong at a cost of $800. This was the two story frame addition immediately in the rear of the brick school house.
After this change was made, the original district school house was occupied for a short time by a colored school.
Owing to a defect in the title to the lot upon which the building stood, the Board of Education finally lost control of this property. The present two story building in which the colored school is taught was built in 1887 by Contractor D. C. Howard.
In 1885 Ronceverte became an incorporated town.
THE GRADED SCHOOL
Another step forward in education was taken by the Board, when, in 1888, they elected a principal at an increased salary and three assistants, over whom be should have authority, and ordered that the school should be graded in accordance with the Public School Manual.
Of the Graded School Rev. Max Parr was the first principal. He was succeeded by Miss C. Betts, 1889, Mr. Wm. Hayes, 1890, and Mr. G. D. Shreckhise, 1891-93.
The population of the town increased very rapidly from 1888 to 1890 and the need of a building large enough to accommodate the children of the town became apparent. The Board of Education desired a suitable site for the new school building and, after due deliberation and much discussion, the town authorities presented for this purpose lots numbers 69, 71, 73, 75, 76 and 77, as per plan of the town of Ronceverte. The contract for a large three story brick building was let to Messrs. Driscol & Peters July 16, 1892, but the work was not completed until the session of 1894. The Graded School was then moved to Its new quarters. Mr. Wm. M. Boal was the principal in charge. He was succeeded the next session (1895) by Mr. Elmer Leach.
During Mr. Leach's administration, in 1896, by a vote of the people of the district, the Graded School was made a High School and the course of study extended.
Mr. Leach was succeeded in 1897 by Mr. H. W. Barclay, the present principal.
The High School building is a three story brick structure, 70 feet square, and contains ten recitation rooms and on the 2nd floor a hall for general school exercises. It has high ceilings, good ventilation, water and steam heat.
Beautiful for situation, the pride of the growing city, the High School building is the first object of interest that attracts the attention of the passing stranger.
It crowns a high hill immediately north of the town, overlooks it, and is surrounded by a grove of ancient oaks and pines.
The course of instruction offered to the pupils of the district embraces Latin, French, English, Literature, Mathematics, Music and Drawing, in addition to the regular graded school studies.
Since 1875, the following gentlemen have served terms as school com- missioners of Fort Spring District, viz.: Oliver Curry, Ben Hurxthal, Fleming Duncan, D. W. Weaver, Lewellyn Davis, Robert C. Rodes, S. R. Patton, F. P. Staley and J. Robertson.
The Board of Education at this date (1903) consists of A. B. C. Bray, President, Howard Templeton and W. H. Hanger, Commissioners.
The faculty of the school is as follows: H. W. Barclay, Principal; Miss Bina Fry, Miss Fannie Eagan, Miss Mary Williams, Miss Ellen Prentice, Miss Lucy Buchanan; Mrs. Alice Haynes, Miss Celia Betts, Miss Laura Prentice, Miss Daisy Feamster (Music).