AUTHOR SUNDAY – The Old Gray Lady – McAdory High School – McCalla, Alabama

AUTHOR SUNDAY – The Old Gray Lady – McAdory High School – McCalla, Alabama

The Old Gray Lady
McAdory High School


Shannon Hollon

The history and heritage of McAdory High School in McCalla Alabama is a interesting one which stretches back 148 years. It all started when one of the local farmer returns from experiencing the horrors of the American Civil War, wanting to make his community a better place by educating the children. This local farmer was Isaac Wellington McAdory (1843-1922) who served in the Jonesboro Guards for the Confederate States.

Pleasant Hill School housePleasant Hill Academy (1868 – 1908)

The prelude to McAdory High School was opened in Roupes Valley in 1868 by the name of Pleasant Hill Academy. In 1908 it was moved about 300 yards to its current location and the name was changed in honor of its founder to McAdory School.

McAdory High school built 1920McAdory High school built 1920

As the years went by Roupes valley turned into McCalla station when the railroad was built in the 1870s and the school house grew as did the community.

The Old Gray Lady built in 1941 by the WPA “The Old Gray Lady” built in 1941 by the WPA

The current structure was built in 1941 by the WPA of reinforced concrete and steel. I can remember when I was growing up that it was rumored to be a prison for the insane which was not true but I bet if you ask some of the teachers they would probably disagree with you.

Would you like to know Thomas Jefferson’s recipe for Vinegar of the Four Thieves or how to make Ox Tail Soup? Discover this recipe as well as many household tips from the past in 

VINEGAR OF THE FOUR THIEVES: Recipes & curious tips from the past    

Now in paperback, makes a great gift!



  1. Annette Roose is this your school??

  2. This is one thing before my time.

  3. Graduated from McAdory in 1982,. I’m not positive but I think the Pleasant Hill Academy was located at the old intersection of Eastern Valley Rd and McCalla Rd .

  4. Thank you so much for posting this…my Dad, aunts, uncles, myself, my brother and sister, my children, and niece and nephews all went to McAdory…

  5. Thanks for the great photos and article, Shannon. About the location of the Pleasant Hill Academy: in his book, ROUPES VALLEY, James H. Walker, Jr. states that, “Pleasant Hill Methodist Church, which was built in 1834, stood about a hundred yards west of the adademy building.” This would have been near the (now demolished) Civitan Club building and tennis court, for those old enough to remember them. The McAdory home stood a little farther down the road (now Bell Hill Road) when I was a child.

  6. My grandfather grew up near Tannehill Park and attended McAdory, later my father graduated from McAdory about 1937, I graduated from McAdory in 1957, and my children graduated from McAdory in the late 1970’s.

    1. Did you know Myrtle Nixon,? She was my aunt and graduated sometime in the mid 50’s

  7. Bringing this history to light will have many protesting to have the school renamed.

    1. John A DeFreese Jr. Or destroyed.

  8. Isaac Wellington McAdory’s youngest brother (actually half brother) was Walter McAdory who was the first Chief of the Alabama Highway Patrol formed in 1935.

Leave a Reply