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Schools of Pass Christian

Pass  Christian
School  History

     Early historic records are lost as they pertain to Pass Christian public schools prior to the Civil War.  However, some public school activity is evidenced by Finley Hiern, the first Mayor of Pass Christian in 1848, having also served as a Public School Commissioner.
     In 1868, the Mississippi state constitution established its first uniform school act and soon afterward  was followed by the the Pass having rented classrooms at various locations;  such as the Masonic Lodge  building formerly located on Davis Avenue and the railroad, and in the George Brandt building located south of Beach Avenue.  The 1877 City Minutes Book describes separate school districts for White and Black with separate School Boards.  On July 16, 1883, C.D. Lancaster leased from Hugh Fitzpatrick, the “Hotel Kitchen,” a brick building that was put into service as a white schoolhouse for $7.50 per month (located near Leovy St.)  Later Minutes show that on June 6, 1893, the white school board appointed C.D. Lancaster as principal.
     In 1887, the white school was conducted on Clark Street where the Middle School is now located.  In 1889, a new building was constructed by Frederick Sutter at the corner of Clark and Second Streets, allowing the Negro school to move to the vacated Clark school north of the railroad tracks.
     In 1908, a multi-story school building was constructed at Hiern and Beach Avenues, at the current City Hall location.  This building was abandoned with the 1937 construction of the white elementary and highschool building at Second Street and Church Avenue, the current Middle high school.  A gymnasium was built there in 1949 with further renovations in 1958.
     In 1939, the Black school, then known as the Harrison County Training School, had its name changed to Randolph Highschool and in 1954, Mrs. Minor Sutter donated additional land and a house to the school.  New additions to the campus were dedicated in 1960, shortly before George Watson became its principal in 1961.  In the 1969-70 school year, following Hurricane Camille and the desegregation of schools, Randolph High became Pass Christian Middle School.
     In 1950, Henderson Point, Pass Christian Isles and other areas were included in the Pass Christian school district.  
     In 1961, the DeLisle Elementary school was renovated and in 1965, the current North Street Elementary School was opened.  
     However, Hurricane Camille exacted heavy damages on every school building resulting in every school having been rebuilt while trailer classrooms were pressed into service.  Now, 30 years later, necessary school plant changes are taking place as described in the feature story on the front page.


Private Sectarian Schools

In 1849, Rev. Thomas Savage started the Trinity School for Girls.
In 1880, Rev. H.C. Meyer opened the Trinity School for Girls.
In 1886, The Trinity School for Girls was moved from the "Rice Field" to the Miramar Hotel location.  (The Rice Field faced the Beach west of Clarence Ave.)  In 1886, Mayer renamed the school "Pass Christian Institute."

     In 1852, Capt. Ashbel Green started Green's Military Academy for boys.  Green enlisted with the Dahlgren Guards, Company H of the Third Confederate Regiment in October 1861 and became Captain in command.  Along with him were a number of young graduates and students of the Military Academy.
     Before the Civil War, there was also Capt. Murphree's Military Academy College located at the west end of Pass Christian.

Catholic School
     In May of 1866, Brother Isaiah, of the Christian Brothers' Catholic Order, opened St. Mary's College.  (It was also known as The Pass Christian College for Boys and was destroyed by fire in 1875.)
In 1870, the first artificial ice plant was installed at the Christian Brothers' College.
In January 1870, the Sisters of Mercy arrived at Pass Christian and operated the "Sister's School" for girls.  This was the forerunner of St. Joseph's School which merged the classes for boys and girls in 1882.  In 1892, the name was changed to St. Joseph's Academy with the dedication of a new school building and in 1963 the name was changed to St. Paul Elementary School.

     In1960, St. Joseph discontinued the High School grades.

Negro Catholic School
     In 1911, the Josephite Order established St. Philomena Church followed by a school.

Public School System

In 1852, March 9, with a new Act of Incorporation, common schools were deemed necessary within the corporate limits.
In 1858, a City Ordinance was passed providing funds of $800 per year for the Public School system with corporate limits.
In 1880, there were two Boards of Trustees for the city public school systems, one White, the other Negro.
In 1885, Black Board of Trustees: A. Howard, M.J. Haroeg, J. Strater.
In 1886, Black Board of Trustees: A.Howard, J. M. Harvey, M. Collins.
In 1886, White Board of Trustees: J.J. Thornton, C.M. Bisbee, N. Bohn.
In 1887, the Pass Christian School District was created and a new City Ordinance was passed.
1. The school term was set at 8 months.
2. Trustees were appointed by the City Council
3. Teacher Qualifications were established.
4. City school standards would meet those established by the County.
5. Each Board of Trustees, Black and White, would submit monthly reports to the City Council.
6. Tax money would be devided equally between Black and White schools.

White Public School
In 1877, the City leased a building for White classrooms at $10 per month.
In 1880, the White public school moved to the former Masonic Lodge Hall on Davis Ave.
In 1881, the school building on Davis Avenue was used for Court hearings on Saturdays.
In 1883, the City leased the "brick building with old hotel kitchen" for classrooms located on Second St. (behind the Miramar building Site).

Negro school
In 1885, the colored Baptist church (built in 1870) burned and was given permission to hold services in the colored  public school.

John H. Lang reported that in 1934, the Harrison County School system consisted of 30 white public schools mostly housed in brick buidings with 7,750 white pupils and 21 colored schools with 1800 Negroes.
     There were ten Catholic schools --- three of which were colored having 374 Negroes and the White Catholic schools had 1,489 students.

Note:  More detailed and updated information may be found in some of Dan Ellis's books.

The three above Sanborn maps show Public School diagrams at different locations.
Top Left is the High School building at Hiern and Scenic, the Top Right is the High School replacement on Second and Church streets, and the Bottom Map shows a Public School that may have been established to service the Cannery children that were housed in the Row Houses that existed in the early 1900s a Dunbar and at Woomen streets

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