Sixty years ago Lanier was known throughout the South as a bastion of academic excellence and athletic prowess. I grew up 120 miles to the West, went to high school in Tennessee, but I well knew of Lanier. My wife graduated from here, and she thought the school was a Mecca. It was built in 1929, Gothic Revival style, to combine rivals Sidney Lanier HS (now the Baldwin Magnet school) and Montgomery County HS (later Cloverdale Junior High, now Huntingdon’s Cloverdale Campus). A football game was held to decide which school got to keep its name; Lanier won. The structure cost $750k, and in 1930 it was referred to as “the Million Dollar School”; people marveled at the extravagance. Time marches on; don’t get trampled.
It was said that Cloverdale High School had the better team back in 1929, but Lanier had imported a former Montgomerian from Memphis, where he had already made a name for himself as a high school sophomore football player. His name was Johnny Cain, and after he won the “name-keeping” game for Lanier in ’29, he went on to Alabama, played on its 1930 National Champion Rose Bowl team, was All-American in ’31 and ’32, and was named to Alabama’s “Team of the Century” in 1992. No wonder Lanier won.