The History of Johnston Elementary School
April 21, 1883, Robert B. Johnston and his wife Leonora donated one
acre of their Johnston farmland to the Buncombe County Public School
Committee for the purpose of building an elementary school. On this
tract of land, the original Johnston Elementary School was established.
show that this first building was a one-room, wooden frame building
with a potbellied stove in the middle of the room. By 1919, Johnston
Elementary School consisted of three separate rooms. It is not known if
the original building was divided or if an addition was built onto the
existing structure. A large porch stretched completely across the front
of the school and drinking water was obtained outside the building from a
well with a hand pump. Students used two separate outside “privies”
(toilets), one for the boys and one for the girls. The rooms were
separated by grade level and each room was divided by a folding
partition. The rooms were heated by coal in potbellied stoves. One
classroom had a built-in stage. This stage was not only used for school
programs, but was also used by the women of this close-knit community
who organized and presented plays, parties, and boxed lunch dinners for
the people of the community. Folding the partition back enlarged the
room and made it possible to accommodate such large activities.
later years, due to overcrowded conditions, the eighth grade classes
were held in the old Cedar Hill Freewill Baptist Church located next to
(and at that time facing) the school building.
1920, bonds were sold for a total of $40,000 for outlay purposes and in
1923, five more acres of land were purchased from the estate of Gwen
Edwards for $500. In 1927, an additional three acres were purchased from
the estate of R.B. Johnston for $2000. This acquisition brought the
total property to nine acres, as it stands today.
1927, the new brick schoolhouse was erected. This building had six
large classrooms, a small library, and a small cafeteria that only
served soup and peanut butter and honey sandwiches. A large auditorium
downstairs was divided by folding partitions and used as two additional
classrooms. This auditorium was later changed to a lunchroom. The
lunchroom remained in this area for the duration of the school. The new
schoolhouse had indoor plumbing with one large boys’ and one large
girls’ restroom. Three double spigot water fountains were also located
in the main hallway.
Since the early 1950’s there had been many major additions to the original 1927 brick building:
In 1951, two additional classrooms were added to the original building,
along with a lower level multipurpose area called the “gymatorium.”
· In 1960, five more classrooms were added.
· In 1964, a new gym/auditorium was added and was dedicated to Mr. Carroll R. Sorrells.
· In 1976, a large open concept wing was built onto the back of the school.
· In 1977 the cafeteria was remodeled.
· In 1987, the playground was redesigned.
had been many other changes and improvements to the building-including
additional library space, cafeteria improvement, office changes,
asbestos removal, new windows, lowered ceilings in some areas, ceiling
fans throughout the school, and grounds beautification projects.
Elementary School educated children from the first grade to the eighth
grade until 1971. During the seventies, Deaverview and Kirkwood
Apartments opened. This influx caused overcrowding of Johnston School,
forcing the seventh and eighth grades to be bussed to Leicester
Elementary. In 1977, Erwin Middle School was opened for sixth, seventh,
and eighth grades.
of the 1927 brick building began in late December of 1996. The
construction of the current building followed shortly thereafter. Many
mobile units were placed on the school grounds for temporary classrooms
while new construction was underway.
Our new building was completed and inspected in March 1998. Renovation to the present gym was completed in January 1999.
To date, we have added two mobile units for our Title I and to house a head-start classroom and our Community Resource Center.
In 2012, Joe P. Eblen School was opened for fifth and sixth grades. Johnston now educates kindergarten through fourth grade.
We are looking forward to many more happy years at Johnston Elementary School.