Dobyns-Bennett High School

Dobyns-Bennett High School was recently named by Newsweek magazine as one the of the top high schools in the country! This makes the sixth time that the school has been named to the Newsweek List. The school had previously been named to the list in 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008. Dobyns-Bennett High School has had a long tradition of academic achievement since it opened in 1926 so it is no surprise the school is one of the top high schools in the country.

Dobyns-Bennett High School on Wateree Street (site of the present day John Sevier Middle School), 1951. Photo by David Peirce.
Dobyns-Bennett High School on Wateree Street (site of the present day John Sevier Middle School), 1951. Photo by David Peirce.

The Central School Building (site of present day George Washington School Apartments) opened September 18, 1918 and served as Kingsport’s first public school after the incorporation of the city in 1917. The school was open to grades 1-12.

Dobyns-Bennett High School Class Photograpgh, 1927.
Dobyns-Bennett High School Class Photograph, 1927.

Kingsport, during the first few years after incorporation, was a city that was rapidly expanding. As the city experienced a fast industrial growth, the city also experienced a surge in the population leading to a demand for a newer, larger school facility.

Aerial view of Dobyns-Bennett High School on Wateree Street, 1946.
Aerial view of Dobyns-Bennett High School on Wateree Street, 1946.

Named in honor of the first mayor of Kingsport James W. Dobyns and the first president of the Board of Education, W.M. Bennett, Dobyns-Bennett High School opened in September 1926. The building, designed by architects Allen Dryden, Sr., A.L. Bandy and Clinton Mackenzie, was built for an estimated cost of $250,000.The school, located on Wateree Street, housed grades 7-12 until around 1934 when the junior high was moved to Lincoln School.

Dobyns-Bennett High School Students, 1946.
Dobyns-Bennett High School Students, 1946.

By 1958, Dobyns-Bennett was fast outgrowing the building on Wateree Street and plans for a new school were put into motion. In 1965 construction on a new school on Fort Henry Drive began. The new Dobyns-Bennett High School opened at its present location in 1967 with a completion cost of around $6.3 million.

Cover page of Dobyns-Bennett High School informational booklet, 1967.
Cover page of Dobyns-Bennett High School informational booklet, 1967.

At the time Dobyns-Bennett High School opened the new facility in 1967, it was said to have been one of the most outstanding academic structures. According to an information booklet produced at the time the school was “One of today’s most advanced educational programs expressed in shape and form. That’s one way to describe Dobyns-Bennett High School.” Dobyns-Bennett, then and now, has strived to make education a priority and it has certainly paid off.

Page from the informational booklet, 1967.
Page from the informational booklet, 1967.
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