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A History of Midlothian High School

Midlothian High School’s roots go back to 1875, when residents of the Village of Midlothian organized a formal schooling system for their children and others living farther out in the county. Initially, children were educated in various small schools throughout the area; however, in 1911, a two-story, four-room, wood-framed schoolhouse was built at a cost of $3,333.33, named Midlothian High School and located on Route 60 on the site of what is now Midlothian Middle School. Citizens raised money for the new school in various ways, such as hosting picnics at the Masonic Grove and selling pencils on the train. The original school offered an education to students of all ages, from first through eleventh grade. In 1911, MHS had a total enrollment of 25 students, taught by three teachers (Burtchett 119, Silvers 67, Weaver 73).

As the decade wore on and enrollment increased, three rooms and an auditorium were added onto Midlothian High School. After graduating its first class (of three students) in 1923, Midlothian High School became fully accredited in 1924. In this same year, a new, brick building was constructed next to the original wood-framed building. This new building had five rooms and an auditorium, and it hosted the high school students (grades 8–11) exclusively, while the lower-grade students remained in the original building (Burtchett 119, Silvers 57, Weaver 66).

In the years leading up to World War II, Midlothian shifted to a twelve-year school program (Kerby 61). Throughout the 1940s, 50s, and 60s, Midlothian underwent construction four more times, and sometime during this period, the original building from 1911 was torn down, as were the original stables for the school’s horses and horse-drawn buses (Burtchett 119–20).

In 1965, nearby J. B. Watkins Elementary School opened, and students in grades 1–6 began attending school there instead of Midlothian (Kerby 74). In 1969, construction began once again, and the original part of the 1924 brick building was torn down and replaced with a new building (the additions made to the 1924 building were left standing and are still part of the building today) (Silvers 67). In 1970, students in grades 7–9 moved to the newly-built Robious Middle School, leaving only grades 10–12 at MHS (Kerby 74).

In 1984, a new Midlothian High School was constructed at its present site on Charter Colony Parkway (then called Charter Colony Drive), and the original school became Midlothian Middle School (Weaver 77). Three additions have been made to the current building since its construction, the most recent of which was completed in 2013 and includes a new main office, counseling suite, performing arts wing, gymnasium, and library/media center.

Barbara Burtchett shares two humorous anecdotes from the school’s distant past in her 1983 master’s thesis, “A History of the Village of Midlothian, Virginia”:

The faculty and administrators were not a dull group. Usually faculty members were fairly young and enthusiastic, eager to try new things. When invited to go on a night time possum hunt in the early twenties, most of the faculty at Midlothian decided to do so. They were promptly arrested for breaking the law and hunting at night. Doctor [John Bowler] Fisher went to the courthouse and bailed out the teachers; and the court in a quandry [sic] as to what to do, decided to drop the case.

During World War I, a large lawn party [. . .] was held for the benefit of the war relief. The affair was directed by the school principal. It was a great success, attended by people from many miles around. When it was over and the money earned was to be counted, it was learned that the principal had absconded with the funds. (121)

Former principals of Midlothian High School include

Mr. Ruffin (1912–13)
Mr. Holler (1913–15)
Miss Loula Powell (1915–18)
Miss Hankins (1918–19)
Mr. Hudgins & Mr. Patton (1919–22)
Mr. Fred D. Thompson (1922–37)
Mr. Edward T. Justis (1937–42)
Mr. Maxwell R. Schools (1943–44, 1946–57)
Mr. Thomas H. Gillis (1944–45)
? (1945–46)
Mr. Bryant R. Harper (1957–58)
Mr. Charles G. Smith, Jr. (1958–61)
Mr. J. L. Francis (1961–62)
Mr. Harry E. Carter (1962–69)
Mr. John R. Kopko (1969–72)
Mr. Francis W. Poates (1972–92)
Mr. Edward C. Whitthoefft, Jr. (1992–2001)
Mrs. Christine E. Wilson (2001–12)
Dr. Shawn A. Abel (2012–present)

Works Cited

  • Burtchett, Barbara Irene. “A History of the Village of Midlothian, Virginia, Emphasizing the Period 1835 – 1935.” Thesis. U. of Richmond, 1983. Print.

  • Kerby, Maude. Midlothian: An American Village, 1776–1976. Midlothian: Williams Job Printing, 1976. Print.

  • Silvers, Dorothy Fuller. Chesterfield: An Old Virginia County – Volume II, 1955–1989. Waynesville: Don Mills, Inc., 1992. Print.

  • Weaver, Bettie Woodson. Midlothian: Highlights of Its History. Midlothian: Bettie Woodson Weaver, 1994. Print.

Contact Information

401 Charter Colony Parkway
Midlothian, VA 23114

Phone: (804) 378-2440
Activities Director: (804) 378-2447
IB Office: (804) 378-2440 x4149
Fax: (804) 378-2450

Our Stats

Mascot: Trojans
Colors: Navy Blue & Gold
Established in 1911
Accredited in 1924