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History of Belfry High School
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History of Belfry High School

Then and Now.....

Sometime prior to 1860, a common school was established at the Old Pond Church on the meeting House Branch of Pond Creek, with the Reverend Stephen Trout as teacher. So far as has been learned, all children on Pond Creek, who attended school at all, attended it.

About 1860 this school was moved to Mudlick near the home of the Reverend Mr Trout, where he and others taught for a term of three months in the year. About this time schools were establised on Road Fork, Blackberry, and at the Mouth of Pinsonfork where McCandrews is now located.

A few years later , perhaps in the 1870's other schools were located at McVeigh, Pinsonfork, Mill Branch and at the Mouth of Pond, at the present site of Leckieville,. About this time the Mudlick school was moved back down to the Meeting House Branch were it first existed, and was taught in the old hewn log church owned by the Primitive Baptist Church, which was then the only religious organization on Pond Creek.

Besides the mentioned schools, schools at Leckieville, Road Fork, Blackberry, Old Pond, Stone, Pinsonfork, and McVeigh constituted the schools on Pond Creek until after the beginning of the twentieth century,

Upon the advent of the coal mining industry and the railroad on Pond Creek, new locations for schools became necesary to care for the increased population. Additional schools were located at Huddy,. McAndrews, Ball Fork , Hardy, Upper McVeigh, and Narrows Branch. The Old Pond Creek school developed, through many stages, into what is now the Belfry High School.

As a result of the vision of the great educator Amos Runyon, the foundation for Belfry High School was laid. Recognizing a need for education to advance beyond the elementary level, he petitioned the Pike Co Board of Eduation to build a two-year high school as s department of the Belfry Grade School. In 1923 4 rooms were added to the existing 4-room structure which was located at "Hunt Bottom, and Belfry High School was born with an enrollement of 4 freshmen.
In 1924 the high school program was expanded to a full 4-year program, becoming the only high school on the Tug Side of Pike County. The year 1924-1925 also saw the organization of Belfry's first football team. By 1928 Belfry High School also had a baseball team, a school paper and a booster's club. The 1927-1928 school year had its first graduating class from Belfry High School consisting of 5 members.

By the close of the 1929 school year the enrollment of the elementary-high school had reached 550. This growth brought about the need of new school building to accommodate the growing number of high school students. Marvin Murphy became the first nominee to the Area All-Star football team in 1929. In 1930 the doors opened to the new school; built at the location on what is now the gymnasium of Belfry High School.

With the steadily increasing enrollment the need for a new school was founded. In 1936, the Board of Education began construction of a new facility. In 1938, the doors of Belfry high School opened with an enrollment of appr. 400 students. Activities continued to expand such as a basketball team, student council, 4-H club, Drama Class and cheerleaders. The new site was completed at a cost of $225,000.00.

With the increasing enrollment, Belfry continued to be a pacesetter in both curricular and extra-curricular offerings. In the 1960's the over-crowded conditions lead to the construction of a new facility. In 1964 a band room was built and in 1967 a new vocational school was opened.

The Belfry Vocational School was established in October 1946. The buiding was donated by Turney Land Company. To provide training for students to work in this area in the mining field. This vocational school was the first branch from a main campus vocational school. It was the first area center in the United States. The school offered a variety of technical training ranging from electricity to machine tool technology. It was inservice till August 1966 when the new Belfry Area Technology Center was opened.
The vocational school was located on U.S.119, at Stone on property now located next to the Belfry Public Library. The new Belfry Area Technology Center is located on the Belfry High School property at Belfry, Kentucky.

In the fall of 1969 work began on a new gymnasium, cafetoria, classroom, and library building and renovation of the existing building. The project took 2 years to complete and in the fall of 1971, the doors opened to Belfry High School as it seen today.

In 1972 a concrete and steel football stadium with a seating capacity of 4,8000 was installed. This was financed by the Boosters organization and the Board of Education.

During the 1972-73 school years, Belfry became a member of the Southern Association of Accredited Schools and Colleges and a comprehensive ratings was awarded by the Department of Education.

In the fall of 1991, the athletic complex was opened, Belfry area complex supporters contributed $500,000 toward the completion of the building.

In 1990-91 Belfry received the award of being a Kentucky State School of Excellence. In 1992-93, it was honored as a Kentucky State Blue Ribbon School. Belfry was selected as a National School of Excellence by the United States Department of Education in 1993. Also, in 1994, Redbook magazine chose Belfry High School as the "Best of the States" winner in the state of kentucky.

Many thanks to Vickie Taylor-True for the Article & Pictures.

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