Roane County’s School History

{Robert Bailey – Roane County Historian}

In Roane County’s history, four high schools were created by Roane County Court (now the Roane County Commission). Those were Roane County High School, Wheat High School, South Harriman High School, and Midway High School. The schools of Harriman, Oliver Springs, and Rockwood were created by the respective cities and were independent of the Roane County School system in their beginnings. Roane County High School had its origins as the Rittenhouse Academy and was the first high school created by the Roane County Court in 1905. Wheat High School started out as the Poplar Creek Seminary and later as Roane College. It came under the Roane County Board of Education in 1908 and closed in 1942 as part of the government acquisition of land for the building of Oak Ridge and the Manhattan Project. South Harriman High School was the third county high school to be created by the Roane County Court. The resolution was passed in 1915 and became effective in 1916. The school closed in 1963. Midway High School was opened in September 1947. It was the last high school to be created by the Roane County Court. It replaced Fairview and Paint Rock High Schools, which were organized as two-year or junior high schools in the 1920s. Harriman High School began in 1891. Beginning in 1922, Harriman High School was reported by the county superintendent as a county high school in order to receive more state recognition for funding, and the graduates of the school received state high school diplomas. As a city high school as opposed as a county high school, it was not recognized by the state until the county listed it as a county high school. It became part of the Roane County School System in 2003. Oliver Springs High School had its beginning about 1895. In 1925 the first four-year high school was organized. In 1935, the Oliver Springs Independent School District was dissolved, and it became part of the Roane County School System. Rockwood High School’s first graduating class was in 1892. In 1922 it was recognized as a state-approved high school. In 1935, both the Rockwood High School and Campbell High School became a part of the county system. Campbell High School was the only high school for blacks in Roane County. It started out as the Rockwood Colored School in 1920 and later became Campbell High School. It closed in 1965.

Originally Written for the Roane County Newsletter to the Community, May 2013.