Our History

Historic places tell a community where it came from, what previous generations achieved, what they believed, and what they hoped to be. We are proud of the historic school building that houses Murray Middle School and we're proud of our long "Tradition of Excellence."

There has been a school on the corner of Eighth and Main in Murray since 1872. The first school was erected by the community, and it was considered the finest high school in the Jackson Purchase. Until 1953, the Murray Middle School building housed all the students in the Murray district, grades 1-12. Murray State University's first classes met on the first floor in the 1920's, and Kentucky's first Head Start was organized in the building in the 1960's.

Over the years thousands of children have gone to school in the Murray Middle building. They endured the Great Depression in the 1930's, collected scrap iron during World War II, huddled under desks in the bomb drills of the Cold War, protested the Vietnam War in the 1970's, and cried when the Challenger exploded in the 1980's. In fact, our school itself is the greatest historical resource our teachers possess.

During the early part of the 2000's, the Murray Independent School District engaged in a nine-million dollar construction project that doubled the size of the middle school, turning it into an environment for learning that is second to none in Kentucky. As we prepare for the future, we also should honor the past by acknowledging the previous generations who went to school at the corner of Eighth and Main.


In 1872, the community considered a new school. The Murray Seminary building and the land were sold that year which yielded a profit in the amount of $6,000. With that money, a group of “far-seeing and public minded citizens,” the elected trustees of the school district set out to establish Murray as a “seat of learning.”

Their first step was to organize stock company and issue bonds, which were sold to private individuals. With $17,500—a small fortune in those days—the trustees found the best builder in the Purchase and staked out a site on the edge of town, on the corner of Eighth and Main Streets. They called their new school “The Murray Male and Female institute.” A contemporary historian, considered it, “the handsomest school structure west of the Tennessee River…an ornament to the town of Murray.”


In 1904, the Murray Male and Female Institute caught fire and was burned to the ground. All records were lost. For the next two years, classes met in an abandoned clothing factory at the end of Poplar Street while the people of Murray built a new school on the site of the old. According to the 1915 Murray High School yearbook, students who graduated in those years always liked to say they’d attended the “Murray Male and Female Pants Factory.” Construction of the new building was paid for primarily with state funds, an indication that education in Murray was about to change. The Class of 1906, to first to graduate from the new building, was also the first to experience the new four-year curriculum set by the state, rather than the three-year high school course of study the Institute had established in 1872.

In 1908, the Kentucky legislature enacted legislation requiring public high schools to be established in each county, setting a minimum school tax, and making the county the administrative unit for the state plan for education. Murray, however, already possessed its high school, and although the other districts in the county were consolidated as the Calloway County School district, the city remained the Murray Independent School District.


The new “Murray Graded School Building” was itself destroyed by fire, in 1919, and the new structure was again built on the ashes of the old. This structure would later be called the east wing when a new wing was added in 1930.


Ty Holland Stadium is built by Roosevelt's Civilian Conservation Corps and named for the Murray City School's highly respected teacher and coach.

1955 school aerial view

With the construction of Austin Elementary (named for A.B. Austin, long-time member of the Murray Board of Education), the Murray school building becomes Murray High School.


Carter Elementary School, named for school superintendent W.Z. Carter, is the first Murray school building not located at the corner of Eighth and Main.

ats building

The "Band and Manual Arts" building is added onto the Murray High campus to house band, music, and industrial arts.

carter addition

Carter Elementary School is expanded with a two-story addition.

robertson elementary

Robertson Elementary School is constructed and named for school board chairman Luther Robertson.

mhs 1971

The new Murray High School is built on Doran Road, and the school system is reorganized to include four years of elementary school, four years of middle school, and four years of high school.

mms breezeway

The Murray Middle building is renovated which includes a breezeway connecting the Main building to the Austin building. New classroom doors and cabinetry, paint, carpet, and lockers are some of the renovated items.

Grades 4-8 are housed on the campus of Murray Middle School.
Robertson Elementary is expanded by an L-shaped addition and renamed Murray Elementary School.
Carter Elementary becomes the new central administrative office for the school district.

mms 2002

The atrium is added onto Murray Middle and the office area is reconfigured so that there is a central entrance. Restroom facilities are completely remolded on each of the three floors of the main building.

mes 2002 addition

Murray Elementary gains eight new classrooms, a new computer lab, a outdoor courtyard, a new library media center, and a new lunchroom.

mms addition 2005

A new wing is added to the main building at Murray Middle School. The addition included classrooms for all 4th and 5th graders, art room, band and music rooms, library, cafeteria, and computer lab. The main building at Murray Middle School was extensively renovated. The renovation included new electrical, heating and cooling, new carpet, and new windows.


An auxilary gym was built south of the main MHS campus building along Doran Road. Plans included one wooden floor to house one full basketball court, four half basketball courts (including 3-point lines), as well as the capability to play two volleyball matches at the same time. In addition, an upstairs mezzanine was constructed for additional practice space. The board of education named the facility the Bob Rogers Auxilary Gym after the superintendent from 2006-2017.

mhs 2018

Murray High received a major renovation and an addition that included: renovation of the current cafeteria; kitchen, gymnasium; locker rooms; bank room; computer labs; kitchen equipment; restrooms; and lobby. As part of the project, the library, administrative offices, classrooms, and science labs were replaced with new construction. In addition, a new PA system, phone system, technology wiring, security camera, and HVAC system were included.