Wolf Branch School was founded in 1863 and was formerly located along the highway (Route 159) in the brick building now occupied by the cabinet shop. There were two buildings at that location before the present building.
The first schoolhouse was a one-room log structure built on an acre of land deeded to the school on August 3, 1863, by Adam and Eva Badgley. It is not known exactly how long the original log schoolhouse was used, but probably not very long. It was later replaced by a one-room building made out of handmade bricks from Mr. Badgley’s brickyard. In 1921, this first brick building was replaced by another one-room building (now the cabinet shop), which served as Wolf Branch School until 1957, when the present school was started at its current location along Huntwood Road. There have been several additions since the original one room structure.
It is known that wolves prowled about in the area of the nearby creek or “branch” which gave the school its name, Wolf Branch School. One of the county expenditures for 1909 included $104 as the amount paid during the year for wolf scalps.
Attending school in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s was quite different than it is today. The school was very isolated with farmers’ field roads the only way of getting to the school. About 1920, the present asphalt road from Route 159 east to Smelting Works Road was built. A few years later, Huntwood Road was built connecting Route 159 with Old Caseyville Road providing the school district a good hard-surfaced east-west road.
Classes started later in the fall and let out earlier in the spring because the children had to help around the farm. The boys helped plant and harvest crops and cut and store firewood. The girls helped with the lighter work and were frequently able to attend school more than the boys who sometimes attended school only three months a year. As a result, it was not uncommon for students to remain in school until they were 19 years old.
The social and recreational highlight of the school year was the big picnic held on the last day of school. It was an all-day affair of games and food with each family bringing a basket lunch which would be placed on a long table for all to eat. Box socials were also very popular events. The girls would try to outdo each other in decorating the prettiest box lunch. Spelling bees also provided entertainment as well as spirited competition.
In 1985/86 single-family homes mushroomed in the district and student enrollment ballooned to over 900. As the development and population continued to flourish in the district, the decision was made to upgrade the existing facility. Online capabilities were made available for all of the classroom computers as well as those in the two computer labs. In addition, the building was air-conditioned in the mid 1990’s.
Beginning in August 2003, Wolf Branch opened a new Middle School, making the existing building at 125 Huntwood Road an Elementary School for grades kindergarten through five. With additional space available, the District initiated a pre-kindergarten program funded by tuition payments from participating families. Fifteen students were enrolled in the first year.
Wolf Branch Middle School opened with 317 students enrolled in grades 6, 7, and 8. With 113, 000 square feet and a capacity of 750 students, it was constructed with future growth in mind. Located at 410 Huntwood Road, just ¼ mile west of the Elementary School, the new school was built with thirty classrooms, a gymnasium connected to a multi-purpose room, cafeteria, two computer labs, three science labs, a library and media center, a band room, a choral room, and an art room. Athletic fields and playground areas were also provided.
In September of 2017, the Wolf Branch Middle School started experiencing structural damage caused by underground mine subsidence. After extensive evaluation, it was determined that a portion of the building was not safe for occupancy. Therefore, the decision was made to temporarily house the Middle School students at the Elementary School until repairs can be safely completed at the Middle School campus.