Darby Junior High School was built in 1897. It was then Fort Smith High School. The school was only three months old when on January 11, 1898, a tornado struck Fort Smith and practically destroyed the new building.
The school was rebuilt and in 1910 a second portion was built. This part was completely destroyed by fire on September 2, 1912. By heroic effort the old section was saved. The final section, the auditorium, gymnasium, swimming pool, and classrooms were built in 1918-1919.
Fort Smith High School
In January 1928, the high school moved to North 23 and B street, leaving the seventh, eighth, and ninth grades to make up the junior high.
In 1955 the name of Fort Smith Junior High School was changed to William O. Darby Junior School in honor of General Darby who led troops in Africa and Italy during World War II. Darby was killed in action leading the Fifth Army spearhead in the Po Valley in 1945. In 1958 the name of the school’s athletic teams was changed from Cubs to Rangers after the famous Darby Rangers.
Gen. William O. Darby
During World War II
Because of the age and condition of the original building, the school board decided a new building was needed and on September 26, 1967 an increase in millage was voted for the erecting of a new school.
School started in the new building in 1969 and only the section of the building that had been built in 1918-1919 was left. It was later remodeled.
During the fall of 1971, the new gymnasium and a general music building was occupied. Beginning in the 2006 - 2007 school year, Darby opened up a new Science and Media Center. The new building has six science classrooms, a science lab, and a new media center.