Class of 1945

Atlanta Grade School Friends

Restoring the historic Atlanta-Miller Grade School in Atlanta, Texas.

Case Statement

Atlanta Grade School Friends

The mission of Atlanta Grade School Friends is to restore the historic Atlanta-Miller Grade School located on Miller Street in Atlanta, Texas. From 1936 to 1974 the school provided a safe and welcoming environment for Atlanta's children and their dedicated teachers. In addition to renovation of the building and the continued maintenance thereof, Atlanta Grade School Friends oversees the development and management of educational programs and related activities for all ages that enhance the building's usefulness.

Future Plans

Atlanta Grade School Friends is currently strengthening its organizational infrastructure in preparation for a major gift fundraising effort to fully restore Atlanta-Miller Grade School. The website has been modernized thanks to school alumnus Chris Wood and we have launched a monthly digital newsletter. Our Facebook page and new YouTube channel are keeping our constituents connected and informed. The highly regarded firm Architexas has been hired to guide the school's restoration and to assist in securing National Register status. We envision the restored school as a place for community education, meetings, and potentially workforce training. With that in mind, we also intend to fully outfit the school with the latest communication technologies. If you have questions, reach out to us by email.

History of Atlanta-Miller Grade School

Atlanta-Miller Grade School located at 106½ W. Miller Street in Atlanta, Texas is a unique Works Progress Administration (WPA) era school building dating from 1936. It took 120 days to complete construction of the school, and this was ably accomplished by the Hardy Brothers of Texarkana. Included in the original design were six large classrooms, restrooms, teacher's lounge, an auditorium, and administrative office spaces. Additional classrooms were added later including a section called the first-grade wing, but the latter was ultimately demolished.

Atlanta-Miller Grade School was in use until the mid-1970s. Between 1975 and 1980, it transitioned to become the Atlanta Multi-Purpose Center and was put to good use until 1990. From 1990 to 2000 - or ten years - the school was used for community storage. During this time, the building fell into decline as it received no maintenance. Water damage and neglect threatened the school's survival.

Many Atlanta-Miller Grade School former students and supporters banded together to save the now historic school from destruction. The property was purchased, and both physical maintenance and clean-up by volunteers and financial contributions helped stabilize the school (and the land on which it sits). This was done by the nonprofit organization, Atlanta Grade School Friends. The nonprofit officially received its IRS designation in 2003, but volunteer work began as early as 2001. Atlanta Grade School Friends recently purchased a piece of property adjacent to the building, which will eventually serve as an off-street parking lot.

In 2006, Atlanta-Miller Grade School received an historical marker from the Texas Historical Commission. The marker has been installed next to the front entrance of the school, along with a flagpole. We are currently working on securing a marker from the National Historic Landmarks Program of the National Parks Service. In 2003, Atlanta-Miller Grade School was removed from the "most endangered" historic sites list of Preservation Texas, as substantial progress toward restoration has been made.

Texas Historical Commission

In 2006, Atlanta-Miller Grade School received an historical marker from the Texas Historical Commission. We are now working on securing a marker from the National Historic Landmarks Program of the National Parks Service. The volunteers of Atlanta Grade School Friends maintain strong ties with the Texas Historical Commission. And, we are working to build new partnerships with organizations like the Texas Forest Trail Region in order to more fully engage visitors and people interested in history and historic preservation.

GuideStar

Atlanta Grade School Friends is pleased to have a profile on GuideStar.

Atlanta Grade School Friends
Membersof AMGS in front of the School in 2021
Tours may be arranged by appointment.

Preservation Notes

Image for Preservation Notes from Atlanta Miller Grade School

Atlanta-Miller Grade School was constructed in 1936 during the Works Progress Administration (WPA). This is, incidentally, 100 years after Texas became a state. The original building project was completed in 120 days and consisted of six large classrooms, restrooms, teacher's lounge, and administrative offices. An addition designed to add four classrooms was completed a couple of years later, commonly called the first-grade wing. Two more classrooms were added about 20 years later.

The WPA had the intent to finish buildings and move on to the next project and paid little heed to drainage. This caused the building to endure years of water draining into the crawl space and, consequently, damaging the substructure of the building. When the nonprofit Atlanta Grade School Friends was established over 20 years ago, the City of Atlanta had condemned the building because of the unsafe nature of the floors and supporting walls. We began our efforts by stabilizing the structure with cables and support materials. The effort was somewhat successful, but the natural flow of water continued to undermine our efforts. Many years passed with only limited efforts made to move the project forward.

Another Preservation Notes from Atlanta Miller Grade School
First Image for Preservation Notes

In 2017, Kevin Stingley, a retired educator whose father was a past principal at the school, took it upon himself to begin clearing the debris from the school and stripping out added walls not original to the building. Mr. Stingley re-energized the project and the volunteers of Atlanta Grade School Friends began to assist him to assist him by lending their time and raising funds. We found a contractor familiar with historical restoration, Addrei Moore, who began working on the project in earnest. The first-grade wing was a total loss and had to be deconstructed. The salvaged materials are being utilized elsewhere in the building. This includes around 7,000 bricks manufactured locally as well as original pine flooring.

We had the topography graded to move the flow of water away from the structure which dried the space under the building for the first time since 1936. Mr. Moore was able to completely refurbish the substructure which turned out to be a major task. Many areas required piers, floor joists, and sub-flooring to bring it back to code. We had a new roof installed on the building as well as electrical service sufficient to meet our future needs. The walls were repaired, plastered, and primed. The windows have been temporarily repaired and the front door has been restored. We have ordered the remaining exterior doors and will soon have them in place. Our next efforts include restoration of restrooms, electrical wiring, and the addition of a HVAC system. A parking lot and sidewalk will be included soon to increase accessibility to the building.

Second Image for Preservation Notes from Atlanta Miller Grade School
Third Image for Preservation Notes from Atlanta Miller Grade School

The Atlanta Grade School Friends are at a crossroads to decide which section to finish out for the next phase of the project. We would like to be able to utilize this next phase as an ongoing fundraising source to complete the entire project by renting out office or event space. The community has shown great interest in what we are accomplishing and expressed gratitude regarding this part of their history being preserved.

- Danny Stanley, T. D. Stanley LLC, Treasurer of Atlanta Grade School Friends and Project Manager

Status Report

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Photo Gallery

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Testimonials

Stay tuned as we add testimonials to this page of our website! If you would like to add your own testimonial, email it to: atlantagradNOTTHISPARTeschoolfriends@gmail.com. Be sure to include your name as you wish to appear online.

You may also add your review to our GreatNonprofits profile. GreatNonprofits is linked to our GuideStar profile, which provides even greater visibility for the good work of Atlanta Grade School Friends.

Newsletter

Please sign-up for e-newsletters and e-notifications to learn more about our history, events, our preservation campaign and more!

Atlanta Grade School Friends does not sell nor share its email subscriber list with anyone. We use Mailchimp, which maintains high security standards and allows you to subscribe or unsubscribe at any time. If you have questions, use the secure contact form to reach us. Links to our recent emails are found below.

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Contact Us

Our mailing address is:
P.O. Box 851
Atlanta, Texas 75551

Our physical address is:
106½ W. Miller Street
Atlanta, Texas 75551

Tours of Atlanta-Miller Grade School may be made by appointment. Kindly use our contact form to reach us.

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Thank You

Miller Grade School in the Snow

Thanks go to our contributors.

John Barnhill and Jane Cook Barnhill

The Summerlee Foundation

  • AHS Class of '71 in memory of Terry Thompson
  • AHS Class of '74 in memory of Lee Ann Smith
  • AHS Class '74 Bunko Girls in memory of Angela Heath Barnes
  • AHS Class '74 Bunko Girls in memory of Keith Tromza
  • Bobby Allday
  • Clint E. Allen
  • Carolyn M. Appleton and Toni Turner in honor of Jane Cook Barnhill
  • Kim Babb
  • John and Jane Cook Barnhill
  • Susan Bedier
  • Lee Ellen Arnold Benjamin
  • Gary Boland
  • Julie Braddock
  • Becky and Bobby Burrows in memory of Bobby Allday
  • Becky and Bobby Burrows in memory of Sonny Carney
  • Becky Burrows
  • Michelle Brock in honor of Jane Cook Barnhill
  • Princess Cameron
  • DaWayne and Eileen Capps
  • Gerri Carlise
  • Donna and Tom Caver
  • Chair-ish Auction, Nancy Coe, JDT Memorial Foundation and 903 Artisans
  • Cyndy Chamblee
  • Sarah Childress in memory of Shirley Clements
  • Jay Stirling Clements and Family
  • Debbie Cockerman
  • CL Collins Enterprises and Bob's Printing
  • Dwain Currie in honor of Marilyn and Sonya Felkins
  • Tom and Peggy Currie in honor of Jane Cook Barnhill
  • Mary Dowd
  • Duncan Family in memory of Neal Peacock
  • Tammie Duncan in memory of Angela Heath Barnes
  • Mary Jane Dunnam
  • Amanda Ellis in memory of John Pierce Ellis
  • Sherry Estes
  • James Franklin in memory of Mary Nell Tyson
  • James Franklin in memory of Mollie Franklin
  • Bill and Rosalie Griffin
  • Sherry and Ricky Griffin
  • Marsha Hagin
  • Tresa Hall
  • Jan Hamilton in memory of Katherine Stubbs
  • Donna Hanner
  • Tommie Hannon in honor of the Class of 1958
  • Debbie and Bill Henson
  • Joan J. Holton
  • Sandra Dees Howell
  • George Hudspeth
  • Mary Garrett Jackson
  • Doris Johnson
  • Dr. A. B. Jordan, Jr.
  • James Joslin in honor of Katherine Stubbs
  • Judy Lanier
  • Reese Lockett
  • Gary Lovelace
  • Meg McGoogan
  • Joan Miller in honor of Margaret Miller-Fitts
  • Margaret Miller-Fitts in memory of Angela Heath Barnes
  • Margaret and Wayne Fitts in memory of Sonny Carney
  • Margaret Miller-Fitts in memory of Catherine Clayton
  • Margaret Miller-Fitts in memory of Shirley Clements
  • Margaret Miller-Fitts in memory of Terry Thompson
  • Paul M. and Nalga Jane Mebane
  • Joanie Miller in memory of Martin Miller
  • Mary Lynn Miller-Sopher
  • Bob and Carol Nasits in memory of Mary Nell Tyson
  • David Nichols
  • David Nichols in memory of Katherine Stubbs
  • Kathy OKelley in memory of Keith Tromza
  • Mr. and Mrs. Travis Partain
  • Kathy Peacock in memory of Dr. John Haynes
  • Henry Quinn
  • Julie Barr Rhodes in memory of Shirley Clements
  • Mary Ruth Roberts-Hudson
  • Diane Nichols Rogers
  • Glenda S. Sanders
  • Sandra Ragsdale Sanders
  • Donald Sherman
  • Lisa Sloterdijk
  • Eddie Ray and Charlotte Stanley
  • Leigh and Danny Stanley
  • Debra Ragsdale Venn
  • Walmart of Atlanta, Texas
  • George Welch
  • Dr. John C. Wilkey and Stephanie Smith-Wilkey
  • Chris Wood and HandsomeWeb
  • Kathy Wren in memory of Shirley Clements

Board of Atlanta Grade School Friends

President

Jane Cook Barnhill

Vice President

Kevin Stingley

Treasurer

Danny Stanley

Secretary

Cyndy Vaughan Chamblee

Members

Lee Ellen Arnold Benjamin
Camille Smith Dawn
Tammie Duncan
Gary Endsley
Margaret Miller-Fitts
James Joslin
Judy Waldron Lanier
Donna Rice
Phil Rice
Leigh Walker Stanley
Jerri Mason Steger