Elementary Schools

   Education has undergone major changes in Johnson County's history. In the early settlements there were no public schools, only a few private ones. The first school in the county was on Daniel Neatherly's farm which was located on Dry Run Road. The teacher was Widen Lewis.

     The first schools were for boys only Many schools met in churches with clergymen as the teachers. Schools were only open a few weeks a year. It wasn't until 1854 that Johnson County voted to spend some of its tax money for public schools.

The county has had as many as sixty-seven different elementary schools. Below you will see a list of these schools:

Ackerson Butler City Brownlowe Bradley Bethel Bethel
Buntontown Cold Springs Crandul Curd Cowen Donnelly
Doe Valley H. S. Doe Damascus Dry Run Dewey Doeville
Dry Hill Eureka Fritts Curve Fairview Ford Forge
Garland Glendale Greenwood Gregg Harmons Heath
Jordans Chapel Laurel Bloomery Laurel Springs Meadows Mountain City Millington
Mouth of Doe Neva Valley Creek Oak Grove Pine Grove Pine Orchard
Pleasant Valley Riverview Rock Springs Roane Creek Rainbow Shady Flats
Sinks Sutherland Sugar Grove Taylors Valley Trade Union Valley
Wagner Watauga Winchester Woods Hill Walnut Grove Wills

     The reason for this large number is that students had to walk to school. This trip was often three to five miles. By 1913 Johnson County had forth-five elementary schools with fifty-one teachers. The average teacher was paid $35.00 a month. By 1922 the county had forty-two elementary schools. Twenty-two of these were one-teacher schools, seventeen were two-teacher schools, and only three had more than two teachers. These schools were for grades one through eight.

     In 1922 no elementary teacher in Johnson County had a degree. Before 1925 most schools opened only six months a year. The schools in Butler and Mountain City ran eight months a year.

     In the 1950's teacher qualifications improved greatly. In the 1948-49 school year only 20 teachers had a bachelor's degree, tow had masters degrees, and twenty-nine were teaching with permits. By the 1955-56 school year 47 teachers had bachelor's degrees, ten had masters, and none were teaching with permits.

    Around 1950 Mountain City School, Butler, and Dry Run were built with T. V. A. funds. The other communities in Johnson County wanted equal improvements to all schools in the county. Studies proved that consolidation improved the schools. In 1952 six elementary schools were built to consolidate the one and two-room schools. Thirty-two schools were closed. The new schools included:

School Location in the County

Additional Information

Forge northeast closed in 1984 - The students moved to Mountain City Elementary.
Watauga southwest closed in 1985 - The student moved to Doe Elementary.
Trade southeast closed in 1989 - The students were transferred to Shouns Elementary.
Dry Run south closed in 1989 - The students moved to Neva Elementary.
Mountain City center An addition made in 1984 doubled the size of this school making it the largest elementary in Mountain City.
Shouns center Shouns Elementary and Neva Elementary are merging. The new school is currently under construction in Neva Valley. Its name is Roan Creek Elementary.
Doe southwest Doe is currently being remodeled.
Laurel north Laurel is currently being remodeled.
Shady Valley northwest Built in 1938 to consolidate four schools.

     Today Johnson County had six elementary schools. Mountain City Elementary underwent major renovations in 1984. These renovations doubled its size making it the largest elementary school in the county. Plans for combining tow of the other elementary schools, Neva and Shouns Elementaries, are presently underway. The new school will be located in Neva Valley and will be called Roan Creek. Doe and Laurel are presently undergoing major renovations to update and expand their facilities.

     Johnson County has one middle school which was constructed in 1975. Read on to find out more about the middle school and Johnson County High School.

Higher Learning

     In 1845/46 the first high school was built in Johnson County. This school was a two story framed building north of Taylorsville on Butler Hill. After being in operation for ten years the school burnt down. Students went without a high school after this. Private tutors were the only means of a higher education in Johnson County until 1860.

     In 1860 Joshua Perkins built a house for his son Frank. Frank left Johnson County to fight in the Civil War. Frank deeded his house to be used as a school. The school was located in the junction of Roan Creek and the Watauga River. The school was named Aenon Seminary.

    In 1874 the Masonic Institute was opened in Taylorsville. The Masonic Institute operated for 20 years. The Masons planned for the two lower floors to be the school and the third floor to be used as a lodge hall. The funds to operate the school came from tuition and contributions. The enrollment was small. The school was rebuilt in 1907. At this time the town of Mountain City, formally Taylorsville, and the Masons formed a contract to operate the school together as a public school. The two lower floors were to be used as an elementary and the high school and the third floor was the lodge.

     In 1884 Professor J. H. Smith organized the building of another school. This was because the Aenon Seminary was overcrowded. The first year of operation for the new school was 1886. The school was named Holly Spring College. Its name was later changed to Holly Spring Institute.

     On September 6, 1906 the name of the school changed yet again. This time to Watauga Academy. It was named after the Watauga Baptist Association who bought the property. The school closed in 1948 when the Watauga Dam was built.

     Johnson County High School was organized on February 3, 1907. It opened on February 1, 1908. The enrollment at the time of opening was 122. The students had a three month term. In 1911 a dormitory was built for students who lived too far away to commute.

     In 1912 a two-room school was built in Doe Valley. The new school added high school classes. The school later became Doe Valley High School.

    In 1949 Johnson County High School had 304 students with 11 teachers. After the Watauga Academy closed its students were transported to Johnson County High School. Just five years later the enrollment increased to 550 students with 21 teacher. By 1960 Johnson County was really feeling the impact resulting from improved bus transportation. Nothing was done to correct the overcrowded situation until 1963 when the state department withheld state funds until a plan was in place to correct this problem. In 1964 the building of a new high school on the old fairgrounds began. The school was completed during the summer of 1966 and ready for students when school began in September. The school has approximately 580 students today.



School Telephone 
Doe Elementary 727-2682
Laurel Elementary 727-2685
Mountain City Elementary 727-2621
Roan Creek Elementary 727-2689
Shady Valley Elementary 739-2422
Johnson County Middle School 727-2600
Johnson County High School 727-2620

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