Avondale Elementary School
- for the former Avondale Colored School, see Butler Elementary School.
|Avondale Elementary School|
|Birmingham City Schools|
|Location||4000 8th Court South, (map)|
Forest Park-South Avondale
|Colors||purple and gold|
The first school in Avondale was established privately before the 1880s, utilizing a small two-room frame house to the rear of the F. B. Daniel residence, which occupied the "pine grove" near King's Spring. The former school site would now be on the north side of 5th Avenue South between 43rd and 45th Street South.
The school attracted pupils from neighboring communities such as Woodlawn who were devoted to the early teachers Mattie Daniel and Mary Williams. It became the property of the Town of Avondale at its incorporation in January 1888. Subscriptions funded the construction of a two-story brick school building on the 4200 block of Avenue C in 1890. A four-room addition was completed in 1892. More expansion projects followed in 1899 and 1901, but overcrowding continued to be reported, partly because the 1890 building was condemned by the city. The crowding was relieved slightly by the opening of the new Lakeview School that year.
The school became part of the Birmingham system when Avondale was annexed, along with several other municipalities, in the Greater Birmingham legislation of 1910. The need for a new school building was most urgently felt by Robert Jemison, Jr and Hill Ferguson who were developing the residential subdivisions of Mountain Terrace, Glen View and Forest Hill just to the south of Avondale. They secured a spacious hilltop site on 8th Court South from the Roden estate and helped instigate the planning of a large new school with funds from a City of Birmingham bond issue passed several years earlier.
In 1921 the firm of Miller, Martin and Lewis completed its design for the three-story, 18-room brick school building. In order to accommodate residents of the older and newer residential areas, the school was built with two main entrances on opposing sides of the building. Their design was later adapted for hundreds of other schools. Construction, costing $150,000, began that October and was completed in time for the 1922 school year, which had an enrollment of 900. A second unit, completed in 1928, increased the capacity of the school to 1,120 and added a gymnasium. The new wing partly obscured the east, Avondale-facing entranceway.
On August 16, 1936 a small bi-plane piloted by Jack Brazleton clipped the school's roof and landed in the playground. Brazleton and his passenger were injured, but survived. A paved playground was added in 1963 with funds donated by the Lin-Forest Civic Club.
Facing budget cuts in the 2000s, Principal Ann Curry and her faculty made a decision not to curtail arts programs at the school, calling the arts the "foundation" of a child's education. The school, supported by the Forest Park-South Avondale neighborhood, provides music and art classes after school and incorporates art appreciation and projects into the daily curriculum.
A gymnasium, music room, media center, cafeteria and kitchen, as well as five new kindergarten classrooms were added in 2002. The architects were a joint venture between Fuller & Thompson Architects and Alan Tichansky of Emory Kirkwood & Associates.
- 1887–1892: J. E. Dunn
- 1892–1894: Prof. MacDonald
- 1894–1925: Robert Allgood
- 1925–: J. D. Williams
- 1939–: Joseph Williams
- 1940s: John Williams
- 1960s: Pruitt Holland
- Ann Curry: -present
The Avondale School annex about 1900. courtesy BPL Archives
The 1890 and 1901 school buildings on Avenue C. courtesy BPL Archives
A Group of students demonstrate good posture in 1933. courtesy BPL Archives
Aftermath of the 1936 plane crash
- "History of Avondale School" (n. d.) typescript at the Birmingham Public Library archives - accessed March 16, 2009
- "Avondale School" (n. d.) typescript at the Birmingham Public Library archives - accessed March 16, 2009
- Bryan, Kim (March 16, 2009) "Arts stressed in every class at Avondale Elementary in Birmingham, Alabama." The Birmingham News
- Patterson, Nick (September 25, 2013) "New students, new parents, new reality, and change." Weld for Birmingham