Carthage's first public school built after the Civil War was constructed on the site of the former Carthage Academy (1855 - 1861) that was destroyed during the war. Both were located on the eastside of the 700 block of South Main Street.
This post-war school (no longer standing) was built in 1870 and the two-story brick school served all levels of education including grammar school and high school although the first high school class did not graduate until 1878. When a new high school building was built further south near Chestnut Street in 1890, the earlier structure became home to elementary grades and was known as Central School.
In short order another high school building was needed and in 1906 a new Carthage High School was opened next door to the 1870 school building. It was built of Carthage limestone by local contractor Ellis Jackson. While serving the longest as the high school facility for the community, for the past few years, this structure served as the Carthage Junior High School. Beginning in 2019, it has become the Sixth Grade Center.
Prior to the 1906 high school, other high school buildings did not have auditoriums so all classes prior to the Class of 1906 held their graduation ceremonies at the Burlingame and Chafee Opera House (136 East Third Street; see Clio entry for same). The Class of 1906 was the first group to graduate from the actual school students attended.
Additions to the original 1906 structure have included a gymnasium on the south side (1951, in the approximate location of the former 1890 Carthage High School later known as the Manual Arts Building) and an east wing in 1966 and a new auditorium on the north side in 1988. The latter construction project used the final supply of local limestone quarried for building purposes from Carthage Marble Corporation (now Americold off North Francis Street). The auditorium's lobby featured a school history mural by artist Andy Thomas.