Muscle Shoals City was incorporated on April 24, 1923. Among the leading developers were New York realtors A.L. Howell and C.T. Graves. Their interest in Muscle Shoals was inspired by the vision of Henry Ford to use power from Wilson Dam and the Nitrate Plants to "employ one million workers and build a city 75 miles wide." Although Ford's vision remained unfulfilled, Howell & Graves helped develop the town by building the first City Hall, bungalows, a service station, and Howell & Graves School. Cast iron street lights, fire hydrants, and drinking fountains were placed along Wilson Dam road near the school. The streets, constructed through farmland, were edged with concrete curbing and sidewalks. Other real estate speculators also came into the area buying land, parceling it in 25-foot lots and selling them, sight unseen, to people across the United States and from foreign countries.
The Howell & Graves Junior High School was designed by architect Harry J. Frahn and built in 1927 in the neoclassical style and the Neo-Tudor Gothic tradition, symbolically associated with the Ivy League Schools. Decorative brick work, which originally crowned the building, gave it a castle- like appearance. It was known as one of the finest buildings in the region and was often the scene of political rallies and other special events. The state-of-the-art auditorium, with a seating capacity of 500, had elevated floors and opera-style seating. The stage had hand-painted canvas backdrops and lighting. in 1959, for a sum of $300, this school was transferred from the Colbert County School System to the newly formed Muscle Shoals City Board of Education.