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Hollow Rock-Bruceton Central History

 

chs_1927Citizens of Hollow Rock and Bruceton have been most helpful in compiling this history of Central High School. We had to connect the memories of several people to get a complete picture. This copy has been proofread by some of those who helped us compile it. Of course, the pictures we have used are old and didn’t reproduce as clearly as newer pictures. Our special thanks go to Mr. Ed Holcomb, Mrs. Lillian Blair, Mr. Joe T. Herndon, Mr. W.D. King, Mr. Joe Corlew, and Mrs. El. Wright for helping us collect information and pictures for this historical edition of the TIGER. Hollow Rock, first known as Sandy Ridge Community, was established at a very early date in Carroll County.

One Hollow Rock citizen recalled an academy where Prospect Baptist Church now stands. Another recalled an academy, but thought it was located where the old Hollow Rock High School was. It is recalled that the academy was in existence in the ~ or 1890’s. Memories are sketchy about the academy. The first school in Hollow Rock was somewhere around 1914. This was a two room frame school headed by Professor Woods. There were four grades in each room. When the work was completed in one room, students advanced to the West Room for the other four grades. Some of the first teachers in this school were Mrs. Sadie (Martin) McGill, Mrs. Elizabeth (Palmer) Nance, Miss Annie Robertson. Discipline was administered in the ‘‘big’’ room by Professor Woods. Chalk was kept in the big room, and a special treat was to go get it for the teacher. Upon one occasion a student was sent for chalk, and before he could reveal his mission, he was firmly reprimanded by Professor Woods.

The only high school in the area was at Hollow Rock. The high school was a small frame building located across the street from the present site of what is now the kindergarten. Some students also came here from Block City School House and the Butler School House. Students had an option of attending high school either at Hollow Rock, Huntingdon, or Camden. There were five special trains, and students rode free of charge. The rents served as the crew and the railroad furnished the coal.

CHS_1920About 1920 a two story brick building was constructed where the kindergarten now stands. In 1922 two classrooms were added upstairs and one downstairs. This attractive, modern building served the Hollow Rock-Bruceton community until the high school was moved to its present location in the fall of 1927. Moving from Hollow Rock High School to Central High School was Professor El. Wright as Headmaster, a position he had held for several years.

The Hollow Rock-Bruceton Special School District was formed, which is a separate entity of either Hollow Rock or Bruceton. The building at Hollow Rock continued as a grammar school until 1960, at which time Pat Patterson bought and razed it. The present educational facility at Hollow Rock was erected in the early 1960’s and served as the Hollow Rock Elementary School until it became the kindergarten. Prior to 1921 the railroad community which was later to become Bruceton was known as Hollow Rock Junction, having only a few scattered buildings. The entire area was crisscrossed by two railroad tracks which formed the junction. There was dissatisfaction with the name Hollow Rock Junction, so the town was renamed New One. Later it was again changed to Junction City. Finally, in 1925 the name Bruceton evolved, from the name of Mr. Bruce, who was an official of the railroad at that time and who had helped in getting Bruceton founded and off to a good start.

Crocker School located on Rowland Mill Road where Mr. Jestes Reed now lives was the first remembered school which served Bruceton. Major Crockett owned all the land above the factory and donated the land for the school. Mr. James Taylor was one of the first board members. Mrs. P.W. Maddox was one of the first teachers and boarded with Mr. and Mrs. Taylor since it was customary for the school board members to board the teachers. Mr. John Wyatt replaced Mr. Taylor on the school board and continued to board the teachers, Mrs. Russell (Ruby) Robinson of Hollow Rock and Miss Nancy Aden of Christmasville who are still living, were teachers at Crocker School. In 1918 Mr. Prentice Pinkley bought the old Crocker School building and moved it across the street from its original site to Ms farm and renovated it into his home. Today the building is occupied by the Albert Riley family. (Clay is a senior this year.)

1916 Railroad CoachAround 1916 the railroad donated a coach to be used as a school. This school, which began with 36 pupils, primarily served children of railroad employees. It was located near the railroad tracks since a railroad crane operated by Mr. H.P. Bayless ‘‘boomed’’ it off the track. Miss Lucretia Owens, the teacher, boarded with the H.P. Bayless family; and Mr. Bayless paid $26 a month on her salary since he had two children attending this school. In 1919 a school was erected at 401 W. College Street and was officially named First Bnceton School. County funds were not available to build this school.

So many interested citizens went ahead with plans for the building and it was paid off by public subscription and donations from many people. Some teachers at this school were Mrs. Maude Black; Lilly Ann Turner; Bro. Boyd, a Baptist minister; and the last remembered was Henry Stevenson. Mr. Stevenson bought this building and renovated it into a house which is now owned by Gene Wilson. (Gary is a junior; Wendy is a freshman; Michael is in the second grade.)

grade_schoolWith the operation of this school, the Coach School closed and all students in this area attended First Bruceton School. Soon Bruceton Grammar School was erected (the old Community Center). When it overflowed, some of the students from Bruceton Grammar School attended school in the Compton House, near the present site of Regina Arnold’s Dance Studio. These two buildings served as grammar schools for Bruceton until finally, in 1927, the building at Central was occupied. This building housed grades 6-12. This building has served this community until the present time. For the sale of history, the citizens of this community voted a bond issue which will finance the construction of a new high school and eight elementary classrooms. Construction is planned to begin this summer. Superintendents of the Hollow Rock-Bruceton Special School District have been Mr. E.E. Wright, Mr. W.L. Darnell, Mr. H.B. Smith, Mr. Joe T. Herndon, and the present superintendent, Mr. H.H. Reed. All of the people to whom we talked were brimming with interesting and amusing facts from their school days. Space would not allow all us to print all; however, we have chosen a few to share. Mr. Joe Ted Herndon past student, coach principal, and superintendent recalled from his student days being the State Baseball Champs. (Note picture on p. 164) Mr. Hemdon also recalled moments from his coaching era when his football team defeated Jackson for the Little Cotton Bowl. Mr. Herndon attributed much of his success to the fact that the boys did what was asked of them. To prove this point he remitted of one particular practice when his boys were in a huddle and he spotted a wild goose. He motioned for the boys to hold the huddle and to keep quiet. Mr. Herndon got in his car, went to town, got his gun, returned, killed the goose, and then broke up the huddle. Another small victory for CHS. History records that the school grounds were once a graveyard. One grave still remains. It was discovered while building the highway. The casket was buried and the new highway built over it.

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History of the Hollow Rock-Bruceton Special School District  

 

 In 1867 the Nashville and Northwestern Railroad built a station and telegraph station at the present site of Hollow Rock. On February 3, 1869 the Town of Hollow Rock was incorporated. 

Prior to 1919 present day Bruceton was composed of several farm families. The area was crossed by the Memphis to Bristol Stage Road and the tracks of the NC&StL railroad. Beginning in 1919 the NC&StL began moving terminals from Paris, Lexington, and Martin to the present railroad yard in Bruceton. The Town of Bruceton was incorporated in 1925. 

The Hollow Rock-Bruceton Special School District was formed in 1927 by an act of the Tennessee State Legislature. The formation of the district was first approved by the voters of Bruceton and Hollow Rock. Prior to the formation of the school district the only area high school was located in Hollow Rock at the location of the present fire station on Seminary Street. This high school was in operation from 1914-1927. Students in the area could attend high school in either Hollow Rock, Huntingdon or Camden. Transportation to Camden and Huntingdon was provided by the railroad at no cost to the students. 

Various elementary schools operated in both communities prior to the establishment of the school district. The most famous was a railroad car that was bumped from the tracks and used in Bruceton. 

Central High School was built in 1927. The first classes were held on the campus on January 1, 1928 as the building was not completed when the fall term began. Classes were held in Hollow Rock until the completion of the building. Football games were played on the Central campus in the fall of 1927. In the mid 1960’s games were moved to the present Joe T. Herndon Stadium.  Mr. E.E. Wright who had served as principal at Hollow Rock became the first Superintendent of the Hollow Rock-Bruceton School District. He served in this position until 1936 when he was elected to county office. 

The school district had elementary schools in Bruceton, Buena Vista, Hollow Rock, and Vale. A fire in the 1960’s destroyed the school at Vale and the school in Buena Vista was closed at about the same time. Students from Buena Vista and Vale could choose between Bruceton and Hollow Rock Elementary. 

Bruceton Elementary School was located at the present site of the Life Care Center of Bruceton-Hollow Rock.  It was constructed when the school district was formed. Hollow Rock Elementary was located at the site of the former Hollow Rock High School. New buildings were built for both facilities in 1960 and 1961. At this time Bruceton Elementary moved to the high school campus. The schools were consolidated on the Central Campus in 1970. 

In 1968 voters of Hollow Rock-Bruceton School District approved a $200,000 building project that would make major changes to the high school campus.197_. 

At the close of the 1969 school year the school auditorium was converted into classrooms. At the same time a building project was begun for a new complex that would house a band room, gymnasium-auditorium and science department. In January 1970 the complex was occupied. The last game in the old gym was with Greenfield while Huntingdon was the opponent in the first game in the new gym. The class of 1970 was the first to perform a senior play and graduate in the new gymnasium-auditorium. 

In 1977 a bond issue was approved for the building of a new high school and the addition of new elementary classrooms. The last class to graduate out of the original Central High School was 1979. At the end of the school year the building was razed and a new building was begun. Classes were held in the old auditorium, old gymnasium, and elementary school during the 1979-1980 school year. The first classes in the new building were held in August 1980. It was now possible to walk through the entire school complex and not have to go outside the building. 

During the 1998-1999 school year the old gym and auditorium were torn down. These were the last remnants of the original high school building. New classrooms were added to both the high school and middle school. At the beginning of the 21st Century the Hollow Rock-Bruceton School System featured state of the arts technology that helped to bridge the gap with larger urban schools. 

Buddy Smothers