Many changes have taken place since the beginning of public education in Semmes. The first school was a log cabin school built on the townships sixteenth section of land in 1878. Mt. Pleasant church met in this school. Semmes Elementary, Semmes Middle School, and MGM High School are located on this sixteenth section today close to where the log cabin school began.
The transition from log cabin buildings came about with the development of the timber industry in the early 1900’s. Timber was cut, and saw mills sprang up along with turpentine mills. Saw mills produced lumber making it possible for the construction of lumber buildings instead of log buildings.
Transportation had improved with the coming of the trains. The center of town moved close to the train station. A wealthy timber man, Thomas Jefferson Howell, saw the need to build a new modern School and Church near the new center of town to replace the log cabin school. Mr. Howell donated land to the Mobile County Public School System to build a new school. A new church was built to sit by the new modern schoolhouses. It is interesting to note that Mr. Howell was concerned that a school remains on the property and stipulated in the deed that a school should always remain on the property or the ownership of the property would revert back to the Howell family.
Around 1917 a new stucco building was built across the road opposite the one room school. The old Semmes post office, Allentown school and the 1902 one room school house were moved to sit by the stucco building. As the population continued to grow a red brick building was built in front of the stucco building. In time, additional buildings were moved behind the stucco building. One of these buildings moved in was an old army barracks from Brookley Field. This building became the first Semmes School Cafeteria.
The population continued to grow and area schools were consolidated into Semmes School by the Mobile County Public School System. A new Cafeteria, High School, Home Economic and Agriculture building were added to the campus. Additional buildings were added as the need arose.
With continued Population growth, Allentown Elementary School, Semmes Elementary School and Mary G. Montgomery High School were built. The old Semmes School Campus became Semmes Middle School. Latter a new Semmes Middle School was built close to Semmes Elementary and MGM High School.
When citizens heard the original one room 1902 Semmes School was about to be torn down, they rallied together to preserve the one room school forming Alumni & Friends of Semmes School, Inc. a 501 (C) 3 non- profit all volunteer organization. Instead of being torn down, the school was given to the group and moved back to its original site and restored becoming a Living History Museum. This original site is now known as Semmes Heritage Park. Additional buildings have been added by the group to the park are replicas of the 1900’s church, a log cabin, an outhouse (we have modern restrooms in the chapel) and storage building which also contains hand tools and other artifacts.
The stucco building and the Red brick building have been torn down. The Remaining buildings on the Old Semmes School Campus belong to the Mobile County Public School system and are leased to East Coast Migrant Head Start Project, Semmes Health Center and the old Semmes High School Building to the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Alabama, Semmes Branch.
Mark your Calendar-Saturday May 4, 2019- 10 am till 2 pm
16th Annual Semmes Heritage Day 3871 Wulff Rd.-Semmes Heritage Park Celebrating the History of Semmes -Sponsor- Alumni & Friends of Semmes School, Inc.
Semmes School -All class Reunion -3810 Wulff Rd.-Old Semmes High School-
Sponsor-Semmes Boys & Girls Club.
Preserving our History