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Facts about Oak Grove School and Community

Source: The Birmingham News, April 21, 1960 and Oct. 29, 1969

  • The first school in the Oak Grove community was established in 1867, just 2 years after the end of the civil war.
  • It met in a log building that was formerly used as a place for slaves to attend church.
  • The first school was staffed by one man, James K. Polk Laird (a great-great-great-grandfather of some of the current students). Mr. Polk was only 19 years old when he taught the students and was paid $20 per month.
  • The most emphasized topic of instruction in the first school was spelling.
  • The first school term lasted only 2 months.
  • The school building was converted into the Ezra Post Office in 1875. The area was originally known as Ezra.
  • The school moved to a vacant house that stood in a field behind the present-day parsonage of Oak Grove Baptist Church.
  • William H. Batson was teaching at the school in 1881, the same year that Oak Grove First Baptist Church was organized and built.
  • Mr. Batson is credited with naming the church after being inspired by the large grove of oaks in the area. The community has been known as Oak Grove ever since.
  • In 1885, the Mud Creek Baptist Association established a literary school for the purpose of educating children and ministers in the community.
  • The school then met in the first building erected at Oak Grove First Baptist until a two story building was built at the site of the current Masonic Lodge.
  • In 1916, a six room wooden building for the school was built at the site of Memorial Park on Lock 17 Rd. Its reported cost was $3,000 for the building and $3,600 for equipment. The school saw numerous additions and housed grades 1-12.
  • The first graduating class was 1919.
  • The school was accredited in 1923.
  • The first yearbook was published in 1952.
  • A new brick building for grades 7-12 was constructed in 1955 on Lock 17 Road at a cost of $342,000. It had 12 classrooms, an industrial arts dept., home economics dept., library, science lab, choral and band rooms, auditorium/gymnasium, and lunchroom. Additions were made to the building in 1969, 1975, 1988, and 1994. The elementary school continued to meet in the older wooden structure until 1969.
  • An F-5 tornado destroyed the school on April 8, 1998.
  • Students in grades 7-12 were housed at Gilmore Bell High School in Hueytown during the 2 years of constructing the new school. Students in grades K-6 were in trailers on the McAdory High Campus for 2 years.
  • The school moved to the present location in August of 2000 and the elementary and high schools officially became two separate schools. The cost for this building was approximately $17 million.
  • The current Alma Mater was written in 1963 by Rev. Samuel Y. Bonham, band director at the time. He was assisted by Miriam Stewart who was the choral teacher.
  • Oak Grove won the Football State Championship in 1983.
  • Oak Grove’s first state champion in wrestling was David Hill in 1993 at 145 lbs. There have been 28 Championships won by 18 State Champion wrestlers at OGHS.


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