Doors to the Past

Milton High School

A Brief History of Milton High School Taken from School Records

Submitted by Keith Kearns

From its humble beginnings in the Will White home at the confluence of Mud River and Newman's Branch, Milton High School has had a long and proud history. The first principal was M. M. McGrath who saw Milton's first graduate leave in 1908. From 1908 until 1933 the school was known as Grant District High School. This name is carved upon the facade of the present building.

Louise Van Metre, the only woman principal in MHS history, took the helm in 1915. That same year Milton became a three-year high school and moved into the Old Central Building. The next year Milton became a four-year high school. The first gymnasium was an old barn. The spectators stood in the cow stalls to watch the games. The players had to shoot the ball over the rafters and into the baskets.

In 1924, when William W. Givens became the principal, Milton changed to a six-year high school. Then, in 1927, Milton was given a Conditional First Class High School rating by the State Department. During the years of 1928 to 1933, many improvements and changes were implemented in our school system with Mr. Nutter serving as principal. Progress was rapid.

A rough gridiron was carved out of a pasture field and athletes worked out in a cornfield. Plans were rapidly being drawn for a new modern high school building. Adoption was the order of the day. Domestic Science girls cooked in the kitchen. A central heating system was installed. Toilets were moved inside and everything was made cozy for the first rough winter.

Teams were fielded in major sports. The gridders did right well on their new plot, but, the basketball team had difficulty in adapting play to the barn. Come winter however, balls begin to bounce from the rafters and roll among the stalls, as the winds whistled in the hayloft and spectators danced in the straw. How many victims fell to the skill of the barnstormers that first season is not known. Neither are there any lasting laurels for the pigskin boys who sloshed in river silt, or the girls who cheered them on, or for those proud parents who stood in the cold mud to watch them play.

Rewards for their sportsmanship eventually came and during the school term of 1928-29, amid a great deal of ceremony and rejoicing, all operations were moved to a bright modern facility overlooking Mud River Valley from the top of "Hog Lot Hill". From this point, the school proceeded on a steady course of expansion, development and refinement, adding a library, gymnasium, science and vocation rooms in quick succession. By 1959, extensions covered the hill and adjoining land. In the fall of 1956, a new unit of the proposed new high school was completed. It consisted of nine classrooms, two lounges, and a new office for the new principal, Donald Cummings, who served until 1971.

During the summer of 1959, a west wing was added. This wing consisted of Vocational Home Economics, Chemistry, Physics, Art and Biology facilities, office of dean of boys and girls, rest rooms and three regular classrooms. In the fall of 1963, the administration of the junior and senior high schools were completed separated, and Milton became a three-year school. The same year a new four room addition housing new biology and commerce departments were completed. The former Perry Garage building was completely renovated and converted for use as a study hall and health room. Milton High School's new gymnasium was fully completed during the 1968-69 school term at a cost of approximately $275,000. It is the largest and best equipped of any gymnasium in Cabell County.

More than 8500 fine young men and women have graduated from Milton High School since its beginning, and have found their places in society and community affairs (including head coach Richard Williams). No monetary value could ever be placed on the fine training given them as well as the support of a wonderful community.

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