History Of Thomson High School
The Original Thomson High on Main Street
Laura Jones School
The history of Thomson High School can be traced even before the actual founding of McDuffie County. In 1853 land was given to a board of trustees for an all male high school to be built "near the (train) depot," but it is not certain that a high school was actually ever built there.
The trustees of the Methodist Church granted the use of a vacant lot they possessed (where Laura Jones School had been located and where the church's Family Life Center is now located) on which to move a high school building that was located on the Main Street courthouse site. John E. Smith bought the structure in 1874, with the stipulation that the building was always to be used for educational purposes. In 1882, the Methodist Church took charge of the school, built a new building and named it Pierce Institute in honor of Bishop Pierce. In 1895, the institute was sold to Professor I.A. Gibson, and the property changed hands many times during the following years, finally being deeded to the Thomson City Board of Education. There is some speculation that the old Pierce Institute Building burned; some say the building was moved across Main Street and is the large white house across from the courthouse that was formerly the Sara Hall House.
Around 1910, the Thomson City Board of Education erected the Laura Jones School on Church Street behind the Methodist Church. This school housed all grades.
Around 1925, 27 acres of land was purchased on Main Street for the future site of a new high school. The high school was constructed in 1929, a one story building with a cupola on top. In August 1938, it was struck by lightning. The bolt of lightning followed the electrical wiring through the building, and it burned to the ground. For the children, there was no vacation from learning--all classes were held in the Laura Jones School until another school could be constructed.
The brick from the ruined school was salvaged and used to put up a wall around the football field, which is now known as The Brickyard. As soon as the rubble could be removed, construction of Thomson High School began in 1939 under the Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works, project No. Ga. 1598-F. The architects were Scroggs and Ewing, and the contractors were Knox Brothers Lumber Company of Thomson. The Board of Trustees was: J. Edgar Wilson, Chairman; G. White Jordan, Secretary and Treasurer; J. Clarence Dunn; Howard P. Neal, William S. Shields; and John H. Morrison, Superintendent.
There being a need for further expansion and facilities for vocational courses, the "Vocational Wing" was completed in 1970.
A new high school was built on Whiteoak Road in 1991. The Old High School on Main Street has since been used to house Thomson Middle School and Norris Elementary School.