Below are some of the closed high schools from Gaston County, North Carolina. Their histories are so intertwined, it seemed better to include them all in one page than to try to create separate pages for each. The dates were taken from old newspaper accounts, books and personal remembrances. If you find a wrong date or other inaccuracy, PLEASE, use the Comments area below to send us a correction.
We would also appreciate your stories, facts and memories of these schools or about growing up in Gaston County, NC.
Gaston Countians in the NCHSAA Hall of Fame
– Everette L. “Shu” Carlton – AD and football coach at Ashley and Ashbrook 1957-1972
– Chuck Clements – Gastonia High School football coach
– Clarence Moore – Highland High School football coach – won State Championships in three sports during his 40-year coaching career.
————- Links —————-
– Facebook page: Gaston County Tourism (Keep up to date with what’s going on in Gaston County)
– Facebook group: You Know You’re From North Carolina When…
– Facebook group: I Grew Up in Gastonia
– VintageGastonia.com (lots of old photos)
High school reunion announcements are frequently posted in the Gaston Gazette
There are many books about Gastonia, NC at Amazon.com
Frank L. Ashley High School
800 South York Street
mascot: Green Wave
colors: Kelly Green & White
Ashley High School alumni apparel
Ashley High School alumni on Facebook.
There are over 1,400 Ashley High School alumni on Classmates.com.
Ashley High School Class of ’57 website.
Ashley High School Class of ’59 website.
Gastonia High School
800 South York Street
mascot: Green Wave
colors: Kelly Green & White
Gastonia High School alumni apparel
There are over 600 Gastonia High School alumni on Classmates.com.
Gastonia High School photos at NCSU Digital Library.
119 E. 2nd St.
Central School photos at NCSU Digital Library.
Photo of the original Central School (that burned in 1913) in the book, Gastonia and Gaston County, North Carolina.
Holbrook High School
418 South Church Street
colors: Red & White (?)
Holbrook High School alumni apparel
Holbrook High School alumni on Facebook.
There are over 300 Holbrook High School alumni on Classmates.com.
City of Lowell, NC website.
(Also see our other blog post about Holbrook High School.)
Highland High School
1600 N Morris St
colors: Royal & Gold (?)
The first PTA in Gaston County was formed at Highland High School.
Highland High School alumni apparel
Highland High School Alumni Assoc. on Facebook.
There are over 160 Highland High School alumni on Classmates.com.
Highland Junior High School alumni on Facebook.
Highland Tech home page.
Gaston County Schools Timeline
|1913||Central Graded School in Gastonia burned to the ground.|
|1915||The new Central School building was completed to replace the original one that burned. All twelve grades met in the same building.|
|1922||Construction began on Gastonia High School.|
|1924||Gastonia High School opened with an initial enrollment of 400 students.|
|1924||Central High School was closed and the students all transferred to the new Gastonia High School. Central became an elementary-only school.|
|1925||Gastonia High School defeated Sanford High School, 8-0, to win the North Carolina State Football Championship.|
|1926||Construction was completed on Gastonia High School. Designed by local architect Hugh White, Gastonia High School was built between 1922 & 1926 at a cost $500,000. It contained 29 classrooms, a swimming pool, pipe organ, 1600-seat auditorium, gymnasium and library and had a telephone in every classroom.|
|1929||Frank L. Ashley became principal of Gastonia High School.|
|1931||Highland High School lost to Raleigh Booker T. Washington High School, 6-0, in the State Football Championship game.|
|1934||Highland High School made it back to the State Football Championship game, this time losing to Henderson Institute, 32-13. Highland’s coach, Clarence Moore, is now in the NCHSAA Hall of Fame, having won State Championships in three sports during his 40-year coaching career.|
|1937||Lawrence “Crash” Davis led the 1937 Gastonia High School baseball team to the North Carolina State Championship. He went on to play in the majors for the Philadelphia Athletics, then finished his professional career in the minors. Among other teams, he played for the Durham Bulls and was the model for Kevin Costner’s role in the movie “Bull Durham”. Later, as Gastonia High School’s baseball coach, he led them to two more State Championships in 1953 & 1954. Read a tribute to his colorful life here: PhiladelphiaAthletics.org.|
|1942||Gastonia High School made it back to the State Football tournament, but lost, 12-6, to Greensboro High School in the Finals.|
|1945||Highland High School lost to Raleigh Booker T. Washington High School, 6-0, in the State Football Championship game.|
|1946||Gastonia High School won its second State Baseball Championship, defeating Wilmington High School, 3-1.|
|1946||Highland High School made it to the State Football Championship game in back-to-back years, this time emerging victorious over Raleigh Booker T. Washington High School, 7-6.|
|1947||Gastonia High School and Wilmington High School met again in the State Baseball Championship game. Gastonia won, 8-7.|
|1948||Gastonia High School won its fourth State Baseball Championship, demolishing Charles L. Coon High School, 18-0.|
|1949||Gastonia High School defeated Wilmington High School again to win its fifth State Baseball Championship.|
|1949||On Nov. 4, 1949, Gastonia High School faced Ashville High School in the very first football game played at Ashville’s brand new Memorial Stadium.|
|1949||Highland High School made its final appearance in a State Football Championship game, losing a heart-breaker to Raleigh Booker T. Washington High School, 2-0.|
|1949||The Highland High School Ramettes won the Girl’s Basketball State Championship. After high school, one of the Highland players, Gladys Thompson, married and had a son. Her son, James Worthy, became a legend at UNC and an NBA Hall of Famer. (There’s some good stuff about the Ramettes and the closing of Highland High School in the book “Learning to Win: Sports, Education, and Social Change in Twentieth-Century North Carolina” by Pamela Grundy. Portions of the book can be viewed on Google Books or it can be purchased at Amazon.com.)|
|1950||Gastonia High School won its sixth State Baseball Championship, defeating Wilson High School, 12-0.|
|1951||Gastonia High School continued its mastery of Wilmington High School by winning its seventh State Baseball Championship, 6-5.|
|1951||Highland High School won the NCHSAC Class AA State Baseball Championship. The star of the team was pitcher Milton Pharr. Pharr once won 20 consecutive games, currently 5th most in NC athletics history. He was also the Class of ’52 Valedictorian. (Milton Pharr’s 11/4/2009 obituary) Also on that team was Robert “Al” Montgomery. Al lettered in baseball, basketball & football at Highland and is in the NC Central University Athletic Hall of Fame. As head football coach at Second Ward High School, his team won the NC State Championship in 1964. (Al Montgomery’s 7/21/2008 obituary)|
|1953||Gastonia High School won its seventh consecutive State Baseball Championship by defeating Wilson High School, 9-7.|
|1954||Gastonia High School completed an amazing eight-year streak by defeating Wilmington High School to win its ninth State Baseball Championship.|
|1955||Gastonia High School made it to the Finals of the State Boy’s Basketball tournament, falling to Asheville High School, 61-52.|
|1955||The last graduating class from Gastonia High School.|
|1955||Gastonia High School was renamed Frank L. Ashley High School.|
|1955||Highland High School became the only Gaston County school to obtain membership in the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.|
|1958||The NCHSAA record book shows Gastonia High School as the 1958 State Baseball Champions (defeated Wilmington 5-4).|
|1967||Ashley Hgh School won the Class 4A State Basketball Championship by defeating Wilmington New Hanover, 51-44.|
|1968||Ashley High School was the runner-up in the Class 4A State Football Championship (falling to Wilson Fike High School, 21-7).|
|1968||Holbrook High School defeated Camp Lejuene High School to win the Class AA State Baseball Championship. Holbrook was led by Wilbur Howard, who went on to play Major League Baseball from 1973-1978, mostly with the Houston Astros.|
|1968||The last graduating class from Highland High School. The school became Highland Junior High School.|
|1968||Highland High School consolidated into Ashley High School.|
|1968||Gastonia City Schools, Bessemer City Schools and Cherryville City Schools consolidated, becoming Gaston County Schools.|
|1969||Holbrook High School fell to Hendersonville High School, 30-13, in the Finals of the Class AA State Football Championship.|
|1970||The last graduating class from Holbrook High School.|
|1970||The last graduating class from Frank L. Ashley High School. In the fall, the building became Ashley Junior High School.|
|1970||Holbrook High School consolidated with Ashley High School forming Ashbrook High School, located on South New Hope Road.|
|1983||The Gastonia High School building was registered with the National Register of Historic Places.|
|1987||Ashley Junior High School closed.|
|1990||The Ashley High School building was converted into Ashley Arms luxury apartments.|
|1994||The former gym of Ashley High School became the “Gem of Ashley” in 1994, with plans to add shops, dining and entertainment. It has since been renamed “The Loft at 245 West“.|
|1997||Gastonia Central Elementary School closed.|
|1999||The Highland High School building was registered with the National Register of Historic Places.|
|2000||Highland School of Technology opened in the old Highland High School building.|
|2001||Piedmont Community Charter School moved into the renovated Central Elementary School building.|
PLEASE share what you know about Gaston County schools by leaving a comment below. Your fellow alumni and Gaston County residents will appreciate it.