“To the best of my knowledge, and I did a lot of research on this, it was the first free public high school in Bartow County,” said Lamar Harris, who spearheaded and funded the marker project. “As I reflected back on the school — I graduated in 1949 — my professional career I think would not have happened had I not had the quality of education during my elementary and high school time at Taylorsville High School.”
Located at the intersection of Euharlee Street and Lanier Drive in Taylorsville, adjacent to the old school’s remaining structures, the marker shares a bevy of information about Taylorsville High.
“We identified the patrons who basically provided the resources to build the school,” said Harris, who also penned the book, “Taylorsville High School 1900-1966.” “The town of Taylorsville, actually I suspect that they put some money in but at that time Taylorsville did not have a whole lot of resources. So we wanted to be sure we identified those individuals that founded the school in 1900. Then we looked at the key figures that separated this school from the other schools in the county at that time. We found a case, which the state of Georgia had brought against the trustees of that school challenging their authority to issue bonds and the trustees won that case. There were two times that the public voted unanimously on a bond issue to replace the original building that was destroyed by fire and then later on to add a high school wing to the school.
“Then we looked at the people, the contributions that the graduates had made to the area and to the state and the nation. We were so overwhelmed with the number of people that we could not name all of them. So basically we indicated the professional areas that they have made contributions in.”
To be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at Taylorsville Baptist Church — 19 Church St., Taylorsville — Harris and the Etowah Valley Historical Society invite the public to attend a dedication ceremony that also will feature a reception and trip to the marker. EVHS is serving as the sponsor for the marker project and dedication.
Along with Harris, the gathering will feature numerous officials, including former Bartow County School Superintendent, the Rev. Doug Harris; Taylorsville Mayor Mitchell Bagley; Bartow County Board of Education Chairman Davis Nelson; Raiford Cantrell, former Bartow County School Superintendent; Clayton Harris, former graduate; Betty Jane Tilley with the Euharlee Historical Society; and EVHS President Dianne Tate.
“It’s important because it’s one of the earliest public schools in Bartow County,” Tate said. “... [The county] has benefited to this day because there was so much emphasis on education. So while we have been supportive of Noble Hill [and] Stilesboro Academy, we think this is also a really good project.
“... It means something, I think, to so many people in the Taylorsville, Stilesboro area to have ... someone take the interest to write a book and to put up a marker and then to have this ceremony on Saturday. We’re very pleased to be in a supportive role.”
Last year, the second edition of Harris’ book, “Taylorsville High School 1900-1966,” was the focus of a Lunch and Learn program at Bartow History Museum.
“This edition builds upon the Taylorsville High School article in the Heritage Book of Euharlee, Stilesboro and Taylorsville, and the 2011 edition,” Harris writes in the book’s preface. “My relationship with THS began in 1937-38 as a first grader. The Primer year was completed in 1937 at the two room Davis Town School, the 11th grade at THS in 1949. Both of my brothers graduated from THS: Alton in 1951 and Tommy in 1963.
“The primary objective of the first edition was to identify all graduates after the first diplomas were awarded in 1922. Starting with the five yearbooks (1946, Clayton J. Harris; 1949 & 1966 Mrs. Etta Harris; 1963, Mrs. Ruth Harris; and, 1964, Mrs. Donna Harris) and photos of seniors/graduating classes, efforts soon turned to gleaning information from microfilms of newspapers (primarily [The Tribune-News, The Weekly Tribune News and The Daily Tribune News]), copied by the University of Georgia Library. With the assistance of Linda Cochran, Professional Genealogist, the time period from 1900 through 1966 was covered. Although the primary focus was on graduates, information that was found about elementary students, plays, Baccalaureate Sermons, commencement exercises, student activities and awards, changes in facilities, students serving in the armed forces, and students enrolled in higher educational activities was included. These items helped to reinforce the informal information about the school’s performance and the contributions that graduates have made to the county, [state] and nation.”