Named for its location on the Franklin Civil War battlefield, Battle Ground Academy (BGA) opened for classes on September 3, 1889. A group of local stockholders organized and chartered the school. The board of directors selected S. V. Wall and W. D. Mooney to administer the new school; both men had taught with and received their early training under the well-known Tennessee educator Sawney Webb.
The stockholders provided the six-acre campus and building and allowed Wall and Mooney to operate the school as a proprietorship. BGA prospered under their administration. Enrollment grew to 120 students, most of whom were local youths, though a number came from great distances and lived in local boarding houses during school sessions. Most students were boys, but a few outstanding women were allowed to enroll.
BGA offered a classical college preparatory curriculum and was soon widely recognized among southern schools, becoming a charter member of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in 1895. BGA is one of three remaining secondary charter members of this Association.
Athletics assumed an important role in the school early in BGA's history. As few southern secondary schools fielded football teams when BGA organized its first in 1891, the team found most of its early opponents among local colleges.
In the spring of 1902, fire destroyed the original building. The school purchased ten acres of land two blocks south and west of Columbia Pike and constructed a new building. This structure also burned in 1910, but another facility was built on the same foundation. The school added other buildings and increased its land holdings over the years; now the twenty-one-acre site serves as a middle school campus for grades five through eight.
In 1929 the school built its first dormitory and converted to an all-male student body. For the next fifty years, BGA was a boys' boarding and day school. By the early 1970s, the school had begun phasing out the boarding students and in 1979 admitted girls again. Female students now comprise 40 percent of the enrollment. In 1994 the school purchased a fifty-eight-acre tract of land north of Franklin and began construction of a new high school campus, which opened in the fall of 1996.
As Battle Ground Academy continues into its second century, it still offers students a good, sound, basic preparation for college and for life as it imparts knowledge and stimulates students to a lifelong love and pursuit of knowledge.
Ridley Wills II, “The Old Boys’ Schools of Middle Tennessee,” Tennessee Historical Quarterly 56 (Spring 1997): 56-69