Madison County High School History

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Madison County High School History


This is a column about Madison County high schools over the years.

Madison Academy (for boys) began in 1814. There also was Madison Female Institute for girls. There were other private high schools in the county, including one at Kirksville and one at College Hill. And there was Walters Collegiate Institute.

Caldwell High (1895) was the first public high school. It was located at the corner of Moberly and North Second streets. It was destroyed by fire (probably arson) in 1921. The city leased the facilities of Madison Female Institute and built a new building there which opened as Madison High in 1923.

In 1906, Model High opened a few months before Eastern. From around 1940 until the 1960s, Madison and Model were joined together. Students took classes at both schools, played athletics together and graduated together. I did all three, graduating in 1947. The two schools split when other schools complained because of the success of Roy Kidd’s football teams. Still later, Madison High merged with the county system. There is no more Madison High. In 1898, Richmond High opened. It disappeared when it merged with Madison High,

Berea High began in 1929. Berea College operated a high school, first called Berea Academy, then Berea Foundation. The two (Berea City and Berea Foundation) merged in 1969.

There were a number of high schools over the years in the county system. Waco and Kirksville opened in 1912, Union City in 1913. Then came Newby and Speedwell (1919), Red House and White Hall (1921), Valley and Miller (1924 — consolidated and non-accredited), and finally, Bobtown (1924). Consolidation reduced the number of to four (Central, Waco, Kirksville and Kingston) in 1939. In 1955, another merger left only Madison Central. With population growth, another high school became a necessity, hence, Madison Southern.

I understand that a history of the basketball district is being published. It is interesting to note that Paris, Annville, Winchester and Clark County once played in our district. Also, back in the days of many more schools, our district was the 88th, not the 44th.

Mention should be made of Irvine High and Estill County High, which were for many years strong members of our district. All the city high schools are no more — Berea (succeeded by Berea Community High), Irivne, Madison and Richmond.


Dr. Fred Engle




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Dr. Fred Engle, “Madison County High School History,” Madison's Heritage Online, accessed May 28, 2022,