In a school election in June of 1909, a vote was passed in favor of building a new school house for the Gallatin students at a cost of $32,500. The proposition carried by a vote of 285 to 103. The north and west parts of town very generally voted for the measure, but the south did not favor it.

The old building was to be torn down immediately. The plans and the specifications were practically ready and the new structure would soon be underway.

It was said the plans would give the people a school building that was a model for simplicity of architecture, with every room splendidly ventilated and lighted. The building was to be constructed of the best vitrified red brick, with stone trimmings. The outside walls were to be 18 inches thick and the foundation of cement.

The building was to be three stories high and would be provided with sanitary closets, lavatories, a large gymnasium for the girls, and the most modern apparatus for ventilation and heat. The hallways would be large, the stairways broad, and in every other way, every safe guard provided for the children’s safety and convenience.

— researched by Wilbur Bush, Gallatin (2004)
from Gallatin’s New School Building, June 10, 1909

The post card photo is stamped 1907, showing the Gallatin school. The main part of this school was erected in 1871 at a cost of $12,500 without furnishings. Contractor was A.F. Ely (for $11,000 excluding the heating and bell work). The addition in the early 1890s. In 1873 enrollment numbers were as follows: 281 white and 51 colored, for a 331 total although the colored were housed in a separate school building. Faculty in 1873 were as follows: A.C. Burbank, principal and teacher $850; Mrs. Mary E. Swisher, grammar school teacher, $450; Mrs. Nellie Weston, intermediate school teacher, $400; Mrs. Ella Wynn, primary school teacher, $400. Classes were dismissed on March 31, 1910, so that this building could be razed quickly to make way for a new school on the same grounds to be completed by the following October. (courtesy Johnnie Black)

This photograph shows a building built for the public school in Gallatin, MO, not long after its construction. (date unknown)

This is Wilberforce School, located at George Allen and Daviess Streets, in Gallatin, MO, as it stood vacant and in neglect. In November 1866, the Gallatin School District leaders believed black students would do better educationally if they had their own school. In 1870, there were 96 black children attending Daviess County schools: 50 in the Gallatin district, and 46 black children were scattered over 13 townships. In 1871, African Americans here kept their school open three years by donations. By 1874 there were 66 children attending Wilberforce School located in the northwest part of Gallatin. In 1898, the Wilberforce School surpassed the Gallatin school with three graduates from the Wilberforce school graduation while the Gallatin school graduated only one student. A large audience of Gallatin’s citizens filled the Arbelia Opera House to witness this graduation. One portion of the program was furnished by the Wilberforce orchestra. The school was still in operation in 1933 and three students graduated from their eighth grade class. Wilberforce School operated until the 1956-57 school term when integration became a factor and black elementary graduates attended the Gallatin High School. After 1957, elementary students went to the elementary school. In later years, some people thought the schoolhouse was torn down for the lumber. (Wilbur Bush; photo date unknown)

This penny post card, dated 1914, shows Gallatin’s public high school with the main entrance facing West Grand Street (Bus. Hwy 6). The WPA gymnasium was later added to the east side, at right. The stone foundation on the west side of the building are from the foundation of the previous school building. (courtesy Johnnie Black)

Post card showing Gallatin High School, facing West Grand Street (Business Hwy 6) in 1948, printed by Wright’s Studio, 100-1/2 Main Street, Trenton, MO, Phone 240. (courtesy Johnnie Black)

This was a school hallway with trophy case and student lockers once used by students attending classes in the “old” school building fronting West Grand Street (Bus. Hwy. 6) in Gallatin, MO. The WPA-era school addition provided more classroom space plus a gymnasium with a stage offering a setting for drama plays, music concerts and other school presentations. (circa 1960)

A new school building for elementary grade students was built in 1957 on the west side of Gallatin, MO, shown here soon after its completion.

During the 1980s the Board of Education renamed the school in honor of longtime elementary school principal Covel Searcy.

Covel Searcy was a well-known and popular personality, a father and grandfather, educator and longtime public school administrator at Gallatin, MO. He served as a principal in the R-5 school system for 29 years. The community’s elementary school was named in his honor in 1984: Searcy R-5 Elementary School. Covel Searcy died April 13, 2002.

This aerial view of Gallatin R-5 School is not dated but is believed to have been taken prior to the construction of the school’s vocational building. The high school building is in the foreground with the elementary school building also shown.

A separate building for middle school classes, band, and administration offices was built on the Gallatin R-5 School campus. Shown in the background is Searcy R-5 Elementary School building.


An Overview of Student Activities at GHS:
(click on image to enlarge)