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Page 7 text:
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C r uc CIIJIOI? PUBLIC SCHOOLS fl1Yf1I?Ul k
12 110601120 ofmepost mpefqthefmwe
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The year 1955 56 has been desrgnated as the Centennral Year of publrc educatron rn Alabama rt
was rn 1854 that the Hon A M Meek of Mobxle was successful rn gettrng a law passed provrdrng for the
establ1shment of pubhc schools for the entrre state In 1856 the f1rst professronal assocratron for teachers
rn Alabama was organrzed
To have a share rn commemoraung the 1C0th annrversary of education rn Alabama and also to ex
press 1n a small way our apprecratron of the proneers who founded our httle commumty and orgaruzed a
school here we the Senior Class of 1956 present a brlef and modest hrstory of Austrnvrlle
Austrnvrlle gets 1ts name from V L Austrn the former owner of the land Asrde from hrs grrst mrll
and cotton gm there were only three or four houses rn th1s sectron ln the year 1873 In the early 1900 s
Art McCluskey burlt the frrst mercantile store he later sold thrs bulldrng to A J Stroup for the establrsh
mg of the frrst drug store rn Austrnvrlle on the comer of College Street and Clara Avenue Mr McCluskey
then bu1lt a dry goods and grocery store across the street
The frrst school and church was a one room log cabrn located where the Bapust Church now stands
When thrs burldlng was destroyed by frre rn 1902 the people began to burld the Baptrst Church frnrshed
rn 1903 The Methodrst Church was also erected about thzs trme
In 1905 the constructron of the frrst part of the Elementary School was made posslble by the contrr
buttons and labor of the rnterested crtrzens of the commumty Tom Means rn 1906 07 served as frrst
prrncrpal, w1th Mr C H Ausun and Mr L L Peppers servmg as Trustees The two teachers were A B
Murphes and Mrs E M Isley There were 96 boys and 69 grrls enrolled
Thls town was lncorporated ID 1907 with W A Mays elected mayor Hrs daughter Mrss Elrzabeth
Mays IS presently teachrng the srxth grade here
Durmg the boom of Decatur many employees of the L 81 N Rarlroad bought land and bu11t homes
rn Ausunvrlle by 1910 the populatron had lncreased to 1 058 At thrs ume there were 12 mercantrle
stores rn operatron, rncludrng a furnrture store on Clara Avenue and College Street whrch was owned by
R V Bracken and a combrnatron grocery and dry goods store owned by 11m Peppers on the corner of
Spring Avenue and Church Street Other stores were owned by A I Stroup Greer Johnson, Frank Roberts
S H Bradley D Z l-iamler Freeman Barnes and Wrll and Art McCluskey Durrng those days when
horse drawn vehlcles were the common mode of transportatlon, Mxnor Aday and Jrm Wlute owned two
livery stables located on College Street these lrvery stables were successfully operated by the two men
untrl 1916 when the burldrngs were completely destroyed by f1re Mr Elmer Bussey came to Austrnvllle
rn 1916 and bought the drug store from A J Stroup Stroup then burlt a grocery store on the northeast
corner of College Street and Sprrng Avenue Dunng thrs same year a lodge hall and a barber shop were
burlt besrde the old McC1uskey store on Clara Avenue.
lt 18 almost rncredlble to fmd that two telephone offices were rn Ausunvrlle rn 1917. The Morgan
County Telephone Company had rts exchange on College Street, and Southern Bell was located on the
corner of College Street and Spnng Avenue. ln 1920 these two offices were consolrdated wrth the office
rn Decatur. In 1920 R, V, Bracken was elected mayor of the thrxvrng lrttle town whose populatron had
increased to 1, 670.
In 1921 the school had to be enlarged in order to provrde the type of educauon the crtrzens wanted for
therr chrldren. In 1923 S. O, Maner became prmcrpal of the school and served untrl 1933, when H. R,
Leeman became prrncrpal.
J. L. Peppers was serving as mayor of Austlnvrlle rn 1922 when the employees of the L. 85 N, Rall
road came out on a strrke for hlgher wages, the subsequent unemployment brought a marked decrease rn
our populatron All the stores were forced to close, with the exceptron of three, Bussey's Drug Store and
two grocenes operated by Frank Roberts and A. J. Stroup.
Page 6 text:
00 .Una 73111241112 60x
THE FIRST GRADE?
WHEN '56 SENIORS
WERE SIXTH GRADERS?
Page 8 text:
M L Whrttfreld was elected mayor rn 1924 wrth S H Bradley followrng htm for two terms that
ended rn 1930 The communrty was justly proud when 1ts school became a senror hrgh school rn 1931
ln 1932 when the populatron was 900 A T Beaty s term of offrce as mayor ended and G W Spark
man was elected The old McC1uskey store the Lodge Hall and Court House were all destroyed by frre
The members of the Church of Chrrst frrst met rn the home of G W Sparkman rn 1932 and four
years later they burlt the present church on State Avenue wrth Barney Kerth as frrst pastor There were
other srgns of progress rn 1933 Elmer Bussey burlt a new drug store whrle the crty of Austrnvrlle burlt
a court house on Clara Avenue just to the north of the drug store R V Bracken was servrng as mayor
when the Jarl was burlt about 1934 The populatron count then stood at about 800
ln 1933 whrle H R Leeman was prrncrpal of Austrnvrlle Hrgh School H A Golden became school
Janrtor and served farthfully rn thrs capacrty untrl a few months before hrs death rn 1954 Ht. was a de
voted frrend to every student and teacher who knew hrm The present hrgh school burldrng was burlt rn
1936 when the enrollment was approxrmately 120 students The land was bought from A J Roper the
burldrng was burlt wrth P W A and Morgan County funds Trustees were R C McWhorter B E Braswell
and S H Bradley To garn accredrtatron for the school from the Ala Assoc of Secondary Schools and
Colleges patrons bought over S2 000 of equrpment County Board of Educatron pard S6 500 of the total
cost the P T A furnrshed the rest
In 1942 when the populatron was strll about 800 three mercantrle stores operated by W O Brce
L L Hartselle and E E Vrnson respecrrvely and Bussey s Drug Store made up the 'busrness establrsh
ments of the town Decatur crty bus servrce was started here rn that year wrth the frrst bus nrcknamed
The Baptrst Church burned rn 1944 but was reburlt the next year whrle C E Calvert was pastor
The Methodrsts reburlt therr church rn 1948 whrle F M Weston was servrng as therr pastor
W C Crafton sold hrs store to R K Crarg who opened a grocery store January 22 1946 A H
Long also went rnto the grocery busrness that year When the Mayor I W Sparkman dred I N Roper
frnrshed hrs term succeeded by S H Bradley who was elected Mayor rn 1948
When H R Leeman was elected Superrntendent of Educatron rn Morgan County rn 1947 S M
Dollar came from Tuscumbra to become prrncrpal of Austrnvrlle School
The year 1949 saw the openrng of two grocery stores one by E L McConnell on Cedar Street the
sold thrs property January 19561 and the other by L H Porch who had bought the store from O O Chunn
Iune of the followrng year brought the fulfrllment of another crvrc dream when crty water was extended
to rnclude thrs sectron In 1951 S H Bradley the mayor burlt a general merchandrse store In August
of the next year, the Home Demonstratron Club House was barlt by the club members and therr husbands
at a cost of S1 232
The modern one story brrck Grammar School burldrng located next to the hrgh school was burlt
rn 1953 at a cost of S100 000 The crtrzens of Austrnvrlle pard 38, 000 of thrs through a specral tax the
rest was pard by the State of Alabama Erght teachers and about 265 students moved rnto the new burldrng
The town purchased for one thousand dollars the old Elementary School burldrng to use as the town hall
At thrs trme the second part of the burldrng was razed as rt had been condemned Thus the part that
now stands rs the orrgrnal structure that was burlt rn 1905 In 1953 the lunchroom was burlt at a cost of
S13 500 plus S1 500 of equrpment S1 000 of whrch was pard by the Senror Class of 54
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