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Murphy High School (Alabama)

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Murphy High School
Murphy High School in 2008
100 South Carlen Street


United States
Coordinates30°40′58″N 88°05′11″W / 30.68277°N 88.08638°W / 30.68277; -88.08638Coordinates: 30°40′58″N 88°05′11″W / 30.68277°N 88.08638°W / 30.68277; -88.08638
TypePublic high school
EstablishedApril 26, 1926
PrincipalJoe Toomey
Enrollment1,993 (2016-17)[1]
Education systemMobile County Public School System
Color(s)Blue and Gold         
NewspaperThe Murphy Hi Times
Murphy High School
Area27.6 acres (11.2 ha)
ArchitectPerkins, Fellows, and Hamilton;
Rogers, George B.
Architectural styleSpanish Colonial Revival
NRHP reference #82001612[2]
Added to NRHPNovember 4, 1982

Murphy High School, in Mobile, Alabama, is a public high school operated by the Mobile County Public School System that educates grades 912.


In 1922, the Mobile County Public School System (MCPSS) began to plan for the construction of a new high school that would serve the entire county, as the facilities of the now venerable 80 years old Barton Academy structure of Greek Revival architecture, in downtown, were becoming overcrowded and suffering from inadequate maintenance and difficult to maintain.[3] In 1923 the Mobile County School Board acquired 38 acres (15.4 ha) from the Carlen family for the site of their proposed high school complex.

The cornerstone of the school was laid on 14 December 1925, and on 26 April 1926, Mobile High School opened. Construction costs totaled $850,000 for the first six buildings with an additional $200,000 spent on the gymnasium and the indoor pool installed in 1930.[4] Two years after its opening the school's name was changed to Murphy High School in honor of Samuel Silenus Murphy, MCPSS superintendent from 1900 to 1926.[3] While still called Mobile High School, the yearbook had been called the Mobile High Annual.[3] At the change of the name to Murphy High School, the workers did not want to change the name of the yearbook. They agreed to shorten the name to Mohian, a shortened version of Mobile High Annual.[3]

The school was desegregated in 1963 when three African American students brought a case against the Mobile County School Board for being denied admission to the then all-white school.[5] The court ordered that the three students be admitted to Murphy for the 1964 school year.[5] By the fall of 1970, following stringent desegregation efforts in Alabama, 1,500 of the school's 2,140 students were African American. At the same time, the school had 34 African American teachers on its 87-member faculty.[6]

In 1982 Murphy High School was placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the U.S. Department of the Interior.[3] In 1987 it was selected as a Presidential Model School by the U.S. Department of Education.[3] Redbook magazine named Murphy as one of the top high schools in the United States and one of the largest high schools in Alabama in 1994.[3] Murphy students were featured in the Seventeen magazine issue for November 1996 fashion trends in high school. Several students from the classes of 1997 and 1998 were included in the magazine.[citation needed]

On December 25, 2012, Murphy High School was hit directly by an EF2 wedge tornado, which caused significant damage to the campus. Students and faculty were relocated. They finished the remainder of the 2012 school year at the former Shaw High School in west Mobile while the Murphy campus was rebuilt. On August 19, the renovated storm-damaged high school campus reopened.[7]


Murphy has 14 Advanced Placement courses, the International Baccalaureate program, and the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme.

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "Murphy High School". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved February 8, 2019.
  2. ^ National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Murphy High School". "Public School Review LLC website". Retrieved 2007-12-08.
  4. ^ "School History". "Murphy High School Alumni Association". Archived from the original on March 31, 2007. Retrieved 2008-03-11.
  5. ^ a b Thomason, Michael. Mobile : the new history of Alabama's first city, pages 260-261. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2001. ISBN 0-8173-1065-7
  6. ^ United States Department of Health Education and Welfare (DHEW) Office for Civil Rights, Directory of Public Secondary and Elementary Schools in Selected Districts: Fall 1970, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 1972, p. 16.
  7. ^ Superintendent: Murphy damaged 'more than meets the eye' | Archived 2013-01-23 at
  8. ^ "Philanthropist James Fail endows principal cello chair" (Press release). Mobile Symphony. 2007. Archived from the original on May 11, 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-15.

External links[edit]