History of Madison High School



Prior to 1923 Madison High School did not formally exist. Plans began in 1919 to pass a school

bond for a building, which would cost $150,000 to local tax payers. The solid brick building had

sixteen classrooms, a gymnasium, study hall, library and an assembly hall complete with a stage. It took nearly thirty months to complete.


The first year of operation there were 100 first year students enrolled, increasing to 106 the follow-

ing year. Those students who desired to graduate from high school could choose between Rick's

Academy and the high school in Sugar City to complete the last two years for their diplomas. By

1930 Madison was a full-fledged four-year program and that was the year Madison won the state

basketball championship


Rexburg had become the center of Upper Snake River Valley education, for students

throughout the county attended classes at the new high school and higher educational needs were

offered at Rick's College. School spirit was promoted by organizations such as the

Pepper Club, founded in 193 1 followed by the Kappa Kegga Knales Klub, or KKK Club in 1932.

Other clubs such as the Thespian, Agriculture and I iome Economics clubs involved many students

with diverse interests. Madison's Marching Band was a source of pride for all and it received

standing ovations at their performances. Who can count the numbers of young grade school chil-

dren whos latent musical talents were kindled as they witnessed the marching band perform in the

annual 4th of July parade.


Madison Hiigh School was the tenth largest school in the state of Idaho in 1940, with 22

teachers and a fiill curriculum. The Madison school district was comprised of all the outlying

community schools with the exception of Sugar-Salem, which remained separate. The year before

our class entered its halls there were nearly four hundred and fifty students enrolled.


A highly developed sports program began in 1950 and Madison was second to none in the

state as its students competed and won recognition and awards in Athletics, Declamation and

Speech, and Music competitions.


Beginning in I960 and continuing into the I970's attempts were made to consolidate Madison and

Sugar-Salem, but to no avail. By 1972 a bond initiative produced ftinds for a new school, com-

pleted the following year. When the Teton Dam collapsed 5 June 1976 the high school received

significant damage, compounded later in the summer by an accident involving a huge water tanker

which lost control, crashing into and flooding several of the high school classrooms. In 1989 the

snowfall was so heavy it caused the roof in the foyer to collapse, causing further flooding damage

to the building.


In 1997 the old red brick structure on Rexburg's Main Street was torn down, being replaced by a

series of buildings that had been steadily built as the population of the city had expanded since the

Teton Dam flood. It had stood for nearly seventy- five years rendering its service to the commu-

nity. An average of 100 students each year had graduated from its senior classes. Those of us who

witnessed the destruction of our old alma mater could not help the lump that rose in our throats as

we reminisced over the memories of our high school days and the old building that served as a

catalyst of our activities."

Source: archive.org/details/madison1953reunion