Gaston County, North Carolina Schools

Posted by DaveSanders | North Carolina | Posted on January 20th, 2010

Courthouse, Gaston County, NC
(http://www.gastontourism.com)

Gaston County Courthouse and Confederate Monument

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

City of Gastonia website

VintageGastonia.com (lots of old photos)

Gaston County Historic Preservation Commission

High school reunion announcements are frequently posted in the Gaston Gazette

There are many books about Gastonia, NC at Amazon.com

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Ashley High School, Gastonia, NC
(click for Google Street View)

Ashley High School building today

Frank L. Ashley High School
800 South York Street
Gastonia, NC

mascot: Greenwave
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.

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Gastonia High School, Gaston County, NC
(click for enlarged photo)

Aerial view of newly built Gastonia High School

Gastonia High School
800 South York Street
Gastonia, NC

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.

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Central School, Gastonia, NC
(click for Google Street View)

Central School building today

Central School
119 E. 2nd St.
Gastonia, NC

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.

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Holbrook High School, Lowell, NC
(click for Google Street View)

Holbrook High School building today

Holbrook High School
418 South Church Street
Lowell, NC

mascot: Lions
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.)

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Highland High School, Gastonia, NC
(click for Google Street View)

Highland High School building today

Highland High School
1600 N Morris St
Gastonia, NC

mascot: Rams
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.

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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.

11 Responses to “Gaston County, North Carolina Schools”

  1. […] (Also, see our other post about Gaston County High Schools.) […]

  2. Ralph S. Proto, Jr. says:

    My mother Lena Sink Proto was an English tearcher at GHS from 1941 to 1947. She first lived at 815 S. York St. with the Rev. George Bowden and his family. Rev. Bowden was the minister of Holy Trinity Church where my mother attended. She later moved to the Armstrong Apts. She met my Dad there who was stationed in Charlotte with the Air Force. She enjoyed teaching at the high school and remembered many of the students she taught there & their families. I still have all the “Spinners” she had from her years there. She always said GHS was considered one of the best schools in the State and was high tech for the times then. My mother retired in 1976 after 39 years in the classroom. She passed away in 2009 at the age of 95.

  3. Patrick Gallagher says:

    Great job, love the athletic history, but I have one correction. Holbrook’s 1969 football team lost to Hendersonville(not Henderson) that year. I;’m an HHS alum and saw that game in Marion.

    Thanks

  4. Highland consolidated with Ashley during the 1966/67 school year. I transferred from Highland as a junior and graduated from Ashley during the 1967/68 school year. A correction needs to be made on the site.

  5. PD Stancil says:

    Re: Gastonia High School, I have been researching old football season results for Concord High. Gastonia and Concord played regularly in the late-20’s through 1934. I can confirm that the Gastonia High nickname was in fact the Green Wave even back then – I saw it so referenced in The Concord Tribune game stories. Thanks for the history of the schools, I was trying to understand the GHS, Ashley, Ashbrook and Huss transition.

  6. sandy patterson says:

    I am looking for info and pictures of old East elementry school that was on Ozark ave. where the Wix plant has a new storage facility.

  7. Mike Spargo says:

    I had a 4th grade teacher at Central Elementary in 1954 who was fantastic. Does anyone have a picture of Mrs. Morrison? Great memories there.

  8. Vickie Q Wisniewski says:

    I remember Mrs. Morrison well. I would like to find someone with a picture also. Mrs Morrison at Central and Mr. Montieth at Wray Jr. Hi were awesome.

  9. KayB says:

    Anyone know what the “L” in Frank L. Ashley is?? Trivia, yet curious

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