Edgewood Elementary School
Edgewood Elementary School is one of three elementary schools in the Homewood School System serving grades kindergarten through fifth, located at 901 College Avenue. It primarily serves households in the Edgewood neighborhood. Enrollment in 2016 was 832 students. The principal is Patricia Simpson. The school is demonstration site for Alabama's Reading Initiative.
After the incorporation of Edgewood in 1920, several town leaders worked to convince the Edgewood Town Council to pursue a school for the town, with discussion of a possible site beginning in 1922. The Edgewood Land Company had only purchased tracts one-lot deep on the west side of Broadway; the rest belonged to early Shades Valley land owner H. M. Byars. In 1923, the town council contracted with him to buy six acres of land of that land for the school for $4,000. Five of the acres were deeded to the Jefferson County Board of Education in August 1924 and construction of a two-room schoolhouse began.
The school's first trustees, J. Hugh Miller, H. T. Brownell, and Mrs. J. A. Coker, were appointed by the town council before the building was completed. Also, in 1924 the Edgewood Study Circle helped found the School Improvement Association, which would later become the Edgewood Parent-Teacher Association. Mrs. Q. R. Murphy was the association's first president. Because the school property was an empty field without a road to it, one of the association's early accomplishments was getting the town council to construct a gravel road from Oxmoor Road. An "alley path" along the school's north side was also partially financed by the town council. It was eventually extended to reach both Oxmoor and Broadway and named College Avenue.
The school was completed in April 1926, with the town council making several appropriations to help get it ready. The school opened to students that September. It initially served 100 students in grades 1-8 with four teachers: Ada Hodnett, Lula Belle McKinnie, Mattie Carol Rainey, and Mrs. R. E. Mallett, who also served as the first principal.
In 1928, Edgewood Elementary's first addition, a lunchroom, was made. A second addition in 1930 provided four more classrooms and a basement lunchroom. Sarah C. Weems became the lunchroom manager, a position she held for over 30 years. In 1930, the school was the fist to be given an A-1 rating by the Alabama State Board of Education. In 1932, the Homewood Civic Club — as Edgewood had become part of the larger town of Homewood a few years earlier — helped to organize a school band. In 1934 the same group helped start a kindergarten class. In 1936, because of the Great Depression, Jefferson County Schools decided to close their schools early. The city provided funds to keep Shades Cahaba, Edgewood Elementary, and Rosedale Schools open nine months a year.
College Avenue was finally extended to Broadway in the 1940s. Jefferson County Schools built a $12,000 auditorium for Edgewood Elementary in 1947. In 1952, they spent $60,000 on classroom additions to the school.
Just a year later, on Friday, November 13, 1953, a fire began in the school's basement lunchroom after dark. Firefighters from Homewood, Mountain Brook, and Birmingham all responded, while area residents helped move records and furnishings out of the building while the fire blazed. By the time the fire was put out, after midnight, the $225,000 school sustained $160,000 in damage. The lunchroom and ten classrooms were completely destroyed, another two classrooms were badly damaged, and the rest of the school sustained smoke and water damage.
At the time, Edgewood had an enrollment of about 900 students. The school received many offers from local churches and homeowners to provide space for classes. It was ultimately decided that the 6th, 7th, and 8th graders would be bused to the then-vacant Paul Hayne School on 20th Street South in Birmingham. First through 5th grades continued to meet in the undamaged classrooms and auditorium while the damaged portions were rebuilt.
- Mrs. R. E. Mallett (1926–1930)
- Mrs. Cecil A. Carlisle (1930–1950)
- Joseph Prickett (1952–1956)
- Estelle McNutt (?–1968)
- Helen Fuller (1968–1970)
- Edna Snow (1970–1977)
- Jack Farr (1977–1978)
- Ann Robbins (1978–1995)
- Jane Weygand (1995–2004)
- Cindy Echols (2004–2007)
- Patricia Simpson (2007–present)
- Summe, Sheryl Spradling. (2001). Homewood: The Life of a City. Homewood, AL: Friends of the Homewood Public Library.
- Edgewood Elementary School website