In the mid 1930s, the city of Nashville obtained money from the federal government to construct several buildings, including the post office on Broadway (now the Frist Center for Visual Arts) and West End High School. Designed by Donald Southgate, a prominent architect of the time, the three-story main building is a Nashville landmark and a popular shooting location for music videos, TV shows, and films. The stately red-brick building, which contains elements of Colonial Revival and Georgian Revival architecture, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Its most distinguishing feature is a clock tower capped by a copper dome, beneath which hangs a thousand-pound bell that was cast in Cincinnati in 1886. The 13-acre campus also contains a gymnasium built in the 1960s and a lighted football field. Thirteen-acre Elmington Park serves as the school’s “front yard” and provides additional educational and recreational opportunities for West End students.
Opening its doors to students on Sept. 7, 1937, West End quickly established an excellent reputation under the leadership of its first principal, Dr. William Henry Yarbrough. It remained a preeminent high school until 1966, when the school began transitioning into a junior high school by adding grades 7–9. In 1971, the school’s name changed to West End Middle School. In 2001, West End Middle School became a part of the Hillsboro Cluster, adding grades 5 and 6 and serving students primarily from Sylvan Park and Eakin elementary schools.