HISTORY OF THE SCHOOL
In 1915 a plan for consolidation of the Abernethy School, Henry River Mill School and the Hildebran School was presented to the people of the area and approved by vote. The new school was built on land made available by a local merchant, J. W. Page. The new consolidated graded school was occupied in 1917.
By the late 1940's enrollment had grown showing a need for a complete new high school. A new building was added to the north side in 1948. The two buildings are connected by a breezeway. Space was also needed for the elementary grades and a separate building was added in the back. An agriculture department was begun and a new building was added behind the new high school in 1950. The first band was organized in the auditorium in 1949 under the leadership and direction of Edison Day. A second addition was added to the south side of the building and the basement was made into a soundproof bandroom.
Extra land was purchased along Highway 64-70 in 1957 and Hildebran Elementary School was built. This new school housed the primary grades along with their own lunchroom. The Old School building became Hildebran High School. An annex building was added behind the school in 1954. A new auditorium was added in 1957 with a band and chorus room in the basement of this building. A new gymnasium was added to the school in 1963. In 1967 a masory calss constructed the brick structure around the flagpole. In 1973 a new high school (East Burke High) was built in Icard and the school became a Junior High School. The last Junior High Class walked the halls of the building in 1987 when a new Junior High School (East Junior High) was built.
In 1988 the Burke County Board of Education sold the school to the Town of Hildebran for $10. To date, the addition built in 1948 serves as Hildebran Town Hall. The old wooden lunchroom/gymnasium no longer exists. The Annex building was demolished in 2014. The older part of the school including the tower and breezeway are being threathened by the town government for demolition. On January 26, 2015 the Town Council voted 4-1 to demolish the old school. Town of Hildebran resident are furious and want to save their "lady castle." To read about the royal fight to save her, click on Saving Our Heritage button.
The first commencement was held in 1921 with only several students in the graduation class. The faculty had increased to eight teachers by 1924 and a Parent Teacher Association had been organized. School buses had also become avilable about this time. Prior to this most children walked two or three miles to the school. By 1925 the graduation class had increased to fourteen members. In the year 1928 nineteen students received diplomas.
Some years later an addition was made to the south side of the building. A wooden structure was built around 1940 to be used as a lunchroom. Several years later it was converted into the first gymnasium.
School Building with Additions including the iconic tower and one story breezeway (right side)
The first brick structure contained two stories. The first floor had three large rooms and several large cloak rooms. There werwe two clasrooms on the second floor with the auditorium in the center. At the back of the auditorium were two smaller rooms. One of these was used as a library. At this time there were two grades in each room and the faculty consisted of about five teachers. Miss Daisy Trexler was the first school principal.
No electricity was available until the early 1920's. The auditorium was lighted for night programs by several gas lanterns. There were no lights in the classrooms. The building was heated entirely by wood stoves. There was one in each classroom and two to heat the auditorium. It was the teacher's responsibility to see that the classroom was heated. The boys of the class carried in the fireweood and helped start the fire. It was the girls' duty to sweep at the end of the day.
Before plumbing was installed water was pumped by hand from a well at the back of the building. The children were given a monring and afternoon recess for time to play and get water at the pump. Two wooden buildings at the back served as the only toilet facilities - until about 1920 when plumbing was installed.
In the early days, there was no lunchroom and each child brought his own lunch from home. The first lunchroom was operated in the basement of the original brick building in the year 1931 when Olen Rudisill was principal.
The first addition to the school was about 1923 when an auditorium was built with additional classrooms on the second floor. The original auditorium was converted into classrooms. A tower connected the two buildings with stairs leading through the tower to the upper floor.
1948 Addition to the school. This building serves as the Hildebran Town Hall today.
Aerial view of School before New Gymnasium was built. Old gymnasium is wooden building in right top corner.
View of School as it was sold to Town of Hildebran in 1988
In 1967, the masonry class laid the brick for the structure around the flagpole.
**A special thanks to Mr. Michael B. Huffman, the local Historian for providing information for this page. **
When the new High School (East Burke High) was built in 1973 the old school became Hildebran Junior High.