Sunnyside Academy

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Sunnyside Academy was a privately-run school established in Powderly by residents of Jones Valley in 1884. A 40- by 60-foot wooden building with a belltower was constructed, serving 70 pupils. J. F. McLaughlin was the first schoolmaster, teaching from the Blue-Black Speller, McGuffey's Reader, Ray's Arithmetic, and Maw's Georgraphy as well as Latin and algebra books. Fridays at the school featured either a spelling match or a slate of speeches.

McLaughlin was succeeded by Sally and Molly Miles, J. E. Strickland, Maude Gartiner, and a "Professor Johnson", who served as principal when the school was expanded. Other teachers included B. H. Davidson and "Professor Geisler".

After the establishment of a Jefferson County Schools system, Sunnyside Academy was annexed as the Powderly Elementary School. The original building served until it was destroyed by fire in 1918. A new Jones Valley School was constructed to take its place, opening in 1921.


(Roper bases his history on an article by Herman W. King in the February 14, 1962 Birmingham News.)