History of the Rock

  • Denver has been the central location for business and educational opportunities in eastern Lincoln County since the post-Civil War days when the community was known as Dry Pond. In the 1870s, two branch lines of the Seaboard Railroad intersected in Dry Pond, and the community began to boom. The boom led residents to select a more suitable name, Denver, for Dry Pond. Lots near the intersection were surveyed, several large impressive homes were built, and a two-story academy, Rock Springs Seminary, was erected.  

    A well-known educator, D. Matt Thompson, was appointed the first headmaster of the academy in 1873. The academy prospered with students from Denver and surrounding communities, although the businesses soon dwindled.  

    In 1922, a $50,000 bond was passed in Lincoln County to build a free school that offered benefits to all children. In 1923, Rock Springs Seminary became Rock Springs High School. An additional building was added with sixteen classrooms encircling an auditorium that also served as the library.  

    Rock Springs High School was placed on the state’s accredited list in 1925. The school produced numerous outstanding citizens who served in high offices throughout the state and the nation. The school population continued to grow, and in 1938 a three-classroom agricultural building was added.  

    Many changes occurred on the Rock Springs campus between 1950 and 1974. Four additional classrooms and a gymnasium were added in 1950. In 1954, a primary building of five classrooms was erected beside the original site. Rock Springs became the recipient of a mobile teaching unit in 1963. A new high school was built for eastern Lincoln County in 1967, and Rock Springs High School became Rock Springs Elementary School, serving grades one through eight. In 1974, a junior high school was erected for eastern Lincoln County. Rock Springs Elementary School then served kindergarten through sixth grades and consisted of four buildings and six mobile units.  

    The late 1970s and early ’80s saw a rapid population explosion in the Denver and East Lincoln areas.  Rock Springs added a new cafeteria, three more mobile units, and opened a satellite campus in Triangle at an old school that had been closed earlier. The satellite campus housed K-1 students. Catawba Springs School was opened in 1986 and took all of its students from Rock Springs. The satellite campus was reduced by 50% (485). The growth continued in the Denver area and, in 1990, the Lincoln County Schools changed from a junior high arrangement to a middle school set up, thus taking the sixth grade from Rock Springs. Enrollment continued to climb and in 1994 disaster struck when fire destroyed one of the main classroom buildings. Mobile units were brought in and plans for a new Rock Springs School were accelerated. In the fall of 1996, Rock Springs students and faculty moved into a brand new facility, built on the 23-acre campus occupied by the original school.  

    In order to accommodate additional growth, Rock Springs expanded into a new wing that was completed in July 2009.  The 9,800 square feet addition added six classrooms, a teacher workroom, a resource room, and restrooms. 

    Since the opening of Rock Springs Seminary to the present Rock Springs Elementary School, this educational institution has been, and is, a leader in the community and a positive influence to all who have come in contact with the institution and its faculty. Rock Springs and the Denver community are inseparable, for the school is the heart of Denver, and the Denver community gives continuous support to the school.