Project Overview

Our Three Rs: Restore, Renovate, and Revitalize a Historic Icon

In 1936, Atlanta-Miller Grade School was constructed during the Works Progress Administration (WPA) to serve a small East Texas community. After 40 years of service as a center for education, the old brick building at the heart of Atlanta, Texas and its historic district found new roles as a multi-purpose and storage facility. But time and the elements eventually took their toll. Two decades ago, the City of Atlanta condemned the building because of the unsafe condition of its floors and supporting walls. This icon of the area's rich history had served generations of students, and members of our community worried that an important part of Atlanta's cultural legacy might be lost forever.

In 2001, a group of dedicated citizens banded together to save the historic school building and bring it back to life. Atlanta Grade School Friends, a nonprofit organization, was established officially in 2003. The volunteers were determined not to allow the school and its rich history to fade away. Fond memories of the school and the commitment to preserving it have resulted in a new mission and purpose for the iconic building. Atlanta Grade School Friends already raised funds to stabilize the school building. The volunteers enlisted the endorsement of well-known and respected Texas leaders, they have held fundraising and visibility-building community events, they have encouraged media coverage about the work underway, they have sent out mailings requesting financial support and more.

The passion and commitment of a small group of generous citizens has spared the historic school building from the wrecking ball and salvaged an important part of the history of Atlanta, Texas!

Today, the school's front exterior has been restored to its original color and appearance, and a Texas Historical Commission Medallion was awarded in 2006. Atlanta-Miller Grade School was removed from the Preservation Texas most endangered list of Texas historic structures in 2023. Documentation is now being prepared to secure a National Register of Historic Places designation. The building's structural revival is underway and its importance as a treasured icon of Atlanta's cultural heritage is now assured.

The efforts of Atlanta Grade School Friends have been highly successful thus far, generating funding, enthusiasm, and broad-based support for the full preservation of the school and the memories it holds. The organization is now embarking on a new phase of fundraising to complete the restoration and to introduce new programs and activities. The auditorium could be used for stage productions, musical performances, reunions, conferences, receptions, seminars, and other community events. Former classrooms in the building could offer space for workforce development classes, artistic expression and art appreciation programs, wildlife education and appreciation programs, health and fitness programs, and more. Atlanta-Miller Grade School will become “The Meeting Place” for the community and the region to use and enjoy.

Like the Three Rs of education - reading, 'iting, and 'rtihmetic - Atlanta Grade School Friends has undertaken the following fundamental phases of work.

The Three Rs

  1. Phase I: Restore (2002 through 2022 and complete)
  2. Phase II: Renovate (2023 through 2025)
  3. Phase III: Revitalize (2026 through 2036)

Former classmates of Atlanta-Miller Grade School have moved on with their lives, and they now reside in locations ranging from East Texas to cities across Texas and America. Wherever they live and whatever they do, however, they are bound together by the memories of attending a small brick school on Miller Street in Atlanta, Texas. You will find many of them on the Facebook page of Atlanta Grade School Friends.

Grade school is the foundation of education. The best K-12 education seeks to help students enter and graduate from high school with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in college, career, and in life. Atlanta-Miller Grade School lies at the heart of Atlanta, and it embodies the education, history, and traditions of generations. Hence, our campaign is not only about bricks and mortar, but also about the lives and stories of the people of Atlanta. The mission of Atlanta Grade School Friends is to ensure this historic school building will always remain a place to mentor and nurture, and to preserve the heritage of Atlanta.

Won't you join us? With your generous partnership and support, we will be able to continue our quest to bring the old school building back to life and open its doors and classrooms to new opportunities for future generations.

To receive a copy of our capital campaign case for support document, kindly email us: Thank you!

- March 2024

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