The Historic Wills Valley School

At the urging of people in the community, Landmarks has agreed to take the historic Wills Valley School under its umbrella of protection and preservation. The schoolhouse is located on Isbell Road N.W. about three miles northwest of Fort Payne.

Wills Valley School.

Wills Valley School.

The school has a rich history in the role of education in DeKalb County. Application for aid was approved on July 13, 1907 to construct the building. Completed in the fall of 1907, the school consisted of two large rooms on the first floor for class purposes and two rooms on the second floor, one used as an odd—fellow hall and the other as living quarters for the principal and his family.

The first school was taught beginning in the fall of 1908 with James and Lula Ventress as the teachers. Back in the early days the school was referred to as “Wills Valley High School,” even though classes were taught only through the seventh grade. It was recognized as one of the leading rural schools in DeKalb County. The average attendance was approximately 85 pupils with two teachers; one for the primer, first, second, third and fourth grades, and one for the fifth, sixth, and seventh grades.

Some of the other fine, dedicated teachers who taught at Wills Valley were: J.O. McCracken, J. Valdor Curtis, Sr., Vance Hogue, Mr. Davis, Miss Smith, Pat Denton, Wallace Chitwood, Viola Lambert, Jim Scott, Fannie Johnson, Ola Wright, Mrs. James Sims, Clyde C. Hurt, Irene Holcomb Thornberry, J.O. Southerland, and Florence Shankles.