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The Taylor School

Birmingham, Alabama



Most of what we know about Taylor School comes from newspaper coverage.  Birmingham Age-Herald and Montgomery Advertiser both carried articles about and ads for the school. 



The Taylor School was the product of William P. Taylor an 1887 Yale graduate.  Advertisements in 1894 note that this is the third year for the school.  These ads claim “complete preparation for college in Latin, Greek, French, German, mathematics and English.”  Enrollment in 1900 was "approaching 125."   "For Boys and Girls of all Ages" is part of the ad, and Taylor School claimed it educated “as many girls as boys.”   Taylor reportedly had "a genius for teaching the young idea how to shoot."


Advertisements note the "eight teachers," the "small classes," the "individual education," the "superior musical advantages," and the "Christian Influences."


School advertisements continued to appear into September 1901 and then stopped.  Taylor's Yale biography says that he directed the school for 13 years, making 1904 the closing date.   He had opened the school when unrest in China forced him to abandon his plans to become a missionary there.  Taylor later taught Latin at the Hill School in Pottstown, PA and by 1906 was Education Director for the Y.M.C.A. at Worcester, MA.  


Bricks and Mortar

The Taylor School began at the corner of 11th Avenue  and 19th Street in the South Highlands section of Birmingham. Later ads give the address as 1215 19th Street.  Advertisements claim the “largest and best school gymnasium in the state.”  That gymnasium with 1800 square feet was equipped as a venue for gymnastics.  C.S.A. Henry, a University of Virginia graduate, would instruct in gymnastics and also play on the football team.  Taylor himself would instruct in "dumb bell drills."




The 1902 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map shows a four-building campus at 1215 19th Street, Birmingham.  The main building is two-story frame with a one story frame school room. ( Accessed 1-31-2018

There are no buildings at 1215 South 19th Street today.


      Colors: Yale blue


According to "Football's Origin at Alabama," the first football game ever played by the University of Alabama was in 1892 against "a picked team from Professor Taylor's school and Birmingham high schools."  Taylor School Advertisements always emphasized the successful sports programs.  Taylor himself was a Southern Intercollegiate football and basketball official who played guard on his school's team.


Newspaper coverage of Taylor School sports begins in 1898. Among baseball opponents was Howard College.  The football team was “easily school champions of Alabama.”  Opponents included Birmingham High School, Selma Y.M.C.A. team, and the Lake View and South Highlands club teams.  But the biggest press coverage involved two games played in 1900.  In October the team visited Tuscaloosa for a game with the University.  Though the Taylor schoolboys "put up a very good game," they were beaten 23-0.  In December, Taylor School faced off against Mooney School of Murfreesboro, the Tennessee schoolboy champions. Outweighed "at least 15 pounds per man," Taylor lost to Mooney 31-0.

William P. Taylor, Yale class of 1887, <;view=1up;seq=409> accessed 2-07-2017

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