Alumni News Updates and Information

History Photo Gallery

These are pictures NOT from our Class of 1974 but from years past. If you have others to add please send them to photos@rjr74.org

Opened in 1923 on a plot of land known as silver hill, R.J. Reynolds High School was carefully crafted to be the most beautiful high school in the state. It was designed by Charles Barton Keen, the mastermind behind Reynolda House, and made possible through a generous donation by Katharine Smith Reynolds, the widow of R.J. Reynolds. With its wooded courtyards, copper rooftop cupolas, and awe-inspiring auditorium, the school was a stunner right from the start.

Fast-forward nearly 90 years, and the school continues to an architectural and academic gem. It’s a place that’s welcomed a number of noted alums (among them, Senator Richard Burr, musician Ben Folds, and ESPN anchor Stuart Scott). It’s also a school full of intrigue—a place where fact and legend often get skewed. For instance, it’s rumored that there’s an elaborate system of tunnels under the school connecting the auditorium, main building, and a boiler room. It’s also rumored that the school’s auditorium is haunted by the ghost of Katharine Reynolds, who died just weeks after it was dedicated.

Stories aside, one thing that can’t be denied is Reynolds’ value to the city. In 2008, it became county’s first and only arts magnet school, putting every student in close contact with visual and performance arts. “You don’t have to be a virtuoso to attend,” Principal Art Paschall says. “It’s set up so our students get opportunities and exposure they wouldn’t get from other schools.”

Extra Credit: In addition to hosting school performances, Reynolds Auditorium has welcomed a number of famed acts to its stage. Alternative rockers R.E.M. were there in the 1980s; singer/songwriter Jim Croce played in the early 1970s; even Harry Houdini performed onsite in the 1920s.