It all began in 1868; a log house was constructed on the north side of Beaver Creek just east of the old Masonic Hall on Copper Ridge Road. It was a 20x40’ room where the 35 students attended first through fifth grades.In 1874, the log structure was abandoned for a one room frame house which was used for 16 years until it became necessary to build a two room secondary school. Then in 1911, the need for a higher education became apparent.In 1913, the first Karns High School was erected. This building was named after Professor T.C. Karns, the first Superintendent of Public Instruction in Knox County. The high school had an enrollment of 75 students while the elementary school had 160 students.
In 1938, a new Karns High School was built at the cost of $74,000. Its location was in the back of the parking lot where the current Karns Intermediate School is. The location chosen had previously been a Dutch cemetery but the bodies were exhumed to Cobb’s barn.In the cornerstone of the new high school, the student body roll of 1938, newspapers, and other information of interest were buried for future generations to look at. Things went well at this location until March 10, 1978 when the building became victim of arson. Due to the quick action of the volunteer fireman, the only losses were the study hall and the temporary loss of two classrooms. Then on March 15, 1978, 5 days after the first fire, Karns became a fiery blaze in the night. At 9:06 p.m., firemen were summoned but weren’t as lucky this time. This fire caused the loss of six classrooms, the study hall once again, the auditorium, cafeteria and many books and personal belongings in the lockers on the second and third floors.The new building was built next to the Byington-Solway Vocational School. It is the building in use today and is the sixth school to serve the Byington-Solway and Karns area since 1868 and the third Karns high school building.The 100th graduating class celebrated graduation on May 17, 2014 at the Thomas Boling Arena.