About Pea Ridge Schools
The first known school to operate at Pea Ridge was the Shelton Academy, opened in 1851 with a Professor Lockhart as teacher. For unknown reasons (possibly low enrollment and inadequate funds), the school closed in 1858. In 1874, Reverend Elijah Buttram opened a school at Buttram's Chapel outside town, with Professor John Rains Roberts as principal. After five years, the school, sponsored by the Masonic lodge, the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and local patrons, was moved into Pea Ridge where, in 1880, a two-story brick schoolhouse was erected. The school was granted a charter as an academy in 1884, and in 1887–88, the building was enlarged to accommodate 250 pupils. Professor Roberts directed the academy until 1894. Nannie Roberts, his sister, devoted her long career to teaching younger pupils at Pea Ridge Academy and later in the public school. By 1914, the academy was known as the Pea Ridge Masonic College. It operated until 1916, offering elementary, high school, and college-level instruction. Then, as community sentiment favored forming a public school system, the college was closed, and the property deeded to the Pea Ridge Public School. In 1930, the school district dismantled the college building and constructed a one-story building on the site. Principal Joe Roulhac, a noted local educator and carpenter, supervised the design and construction. Extra wings were added in the late 1940s and early 1950s. This community landmark, which housed the entire school before 1948, served as home of the Pea Ridge High School until 2001, when a new high school complex was completed on West Pickens Road. The 1930 building was finally razed in March 2005 after estimated costs to update the aging building to current school standards, or to convert it to other community uses, were determined to be prohibitive.