"Alabama's Rural Schools," and "Alabama, My Home: A Celebration of Rural Historical Schools," showcase the rural schools of Alabama. The exhibits were developed in cooperation with Bibb Graves High School students Jennifer Horne, Joanie Thomas, Rachel Beverly, Carmel White, Brandon Gardner, and Carmen Greer of Ms. Pam Horn's class from Millerville, Alabama, and the PACERS Small School Cooperative. Some of the photos can be seen here.

   Selected from collections at the Alabama Department of Archives and History, most of the photographs were taken from the Alabama Department of Education Schools Photographic Collection to document school conditions around the state in 1911. The old 1892 schoolhouse, a single wooden room measuring 20' by 30', in District 21, Clay County, contrasts greatly with the massive facades of Disque High School, Gadsden, Etowah County, and Greenville Public School, Butler County, which were later built on modern multiple-level plans of brick at a substantial cost.

   The importance of recognizing our heritage with these old schools is an integral part of the mission of PACERS. Since 1992 the PACERS program has represented a conscious attempt to bring the best possible standards of education to Alabama's often underestimated rural public schools. The 29 PACERS communities stress innovative programs like Better Schools Building Better Communities, and are sponsored by the Alabama Coalition of Citizens for Excellence in Small Schools, the program for Rural Services and Research at the University of Alabama, with additional funding from the Annenberg Rural Challenge and the Lyndhurst Foundation.

(click the thumbnails to see larger image)

Eufaula City School

   Though it represents a beautiful building with striking architectural character, the Eufaula City School Building, Barbour County, is atypical of most rural schools of its day. Erected in 1889 as a complex structure of several rooms and levels, and made of brick rather than wood, construction cost for the small town of Eufaula was a whopping $15,000! The Eufaula City School is more representative of an urban school that could be found in 1889 Jefferson or Montgomery Counties.

Greenville Public School, Greenville, Butler County, 1911. Erected in 1893 at a cost of $12,600.
Old School House, District #21, Clay County

Old School House, District #21, Clay County, 1911.
Erected in 1892 as one room measuring 20' X 30'.

Bridgeport Public School, Jackson County.
Erected in 1893 at a cost of $2,500.
Sand Mountain Institute, Dutton, Jackson County

Sand Mountain Institute,
Dutton, Jackson County, 1907.

One of the several colored public schools in
Lowndes County having only one teacher.
District #24 Schoolhouse, Madison County

Interior of District #24 schoolhouse, Madison County, 1911. This photograph is the reverse image from a negative. Note the map above the chalkboard.
District #52 schoolhouse, Covington County

District #52, new building, Covington County, 1911.
Parker Institute, Clay County

Parker Institute, District #21, Clay County. Erected from December 1906 to February 1907 as two rooms measuring 24' X 42', and 24' X 24'.
District #45 schoolhouse, Colbert County

District #45 schoolhouse, Colbert County, 1911.
Nixburg, Coosa County, District #17

New School House, District #17 (Nixburg), Coosa County, 1911.
Disque High School, Gadsden, Etowah County

Disque High School, Gadsden, Etowah County.
Central School Building, Elmore County

Central School Building, Elmore County, 1908.
District #68 schoolhouse, Bibb County

District #68 schoolhouse, Bibb County, 1911.

Updated: September 30, 2009
Alabama Department of Archives & History
624 Washington Avenue
Montgomery, Alabama 36130-0100
Phone: (334) 242-4435