EDUCATIONLast week I wrote that I am interested in learning as much about the more than 120 old school building that once provided an education for Walker County students. Since that time I have had …
Last week I wrote that I am interested in learning as much about the more than 120 old school building that once provided an education for Walker County students. Since that time I have had several individuals contact me regarding their memory or knowledge about these schools. I will attempt to pass as much of this information along to the readers of this column as is possible. Likewise, I welcome those who have knowledge of these schools and would like to share it, to contact me. Identifying information is found at the end of this column.
I am interested in the source of this information being submitted, the location of the school, the description if known (number of rooms, dual school and church use,etc), teachers and students if known, and comments for historical reasons. This week, while discussing these old building it was pointed out that there needed to be a water source (spring, well, creek or tank) and toilets for each gender. Many of the schools had a limited number of students and multiple grades were taught by one teacher. I was also surprised to learn that at one time only singles girls were allowed to teach-no married person need apply. The married woman’s place was in the home taking care of family.
In future columns I will share information from a number of elderly individual who have first hand knowledge of some of these old schools, or are descendant of those who attended these schools. I have already been informed by several people that they are in possession of pictures of some of these old schools, with students and teachers. An example of this is a book written by Lenell Woods Graham describing her neck of the Woods (play on words regarding the Woods clan). I am 80 years old and she entered school the year that I was born so she has recollections of early schools. She related that she started school at the old Enon school (located on the right at the base of Wolf Creek hill where the Blue Water road exits highway 69 south of Oakman. The Woods old home place was situated on the left hand side of highway 69 about halfway up the hill, so it was within walking distance of the school. The old building had two rooms used for school classes and an auditorium in which church services were held. A building replacing it was known as the Enon Church of Christ.
Nell further related that her father entered school in 1906 at the top of Wolf Creek hill that was called the Price Springs school which carried the name of a woman who donated the land on which the school was located. The building was later destroyed by a tornado and the new building which was constructed across the road from where it stood was renamed Bethel, the building which is still standing at the time of this writing. She has these stories and others with pictures in her book, MY NECK OF THE WOODS.
Martha Powell who was a long time secretary for the probation and parole office in the Walker County Courthouse has knowledge about these old schools. Martha was raised in the Karrah family before her marriage to Moultie Powell and claims a number of relatives who entered the educational field as teachers. I have collected quite a bit of information from her and intend to include it in a future writing. While talking with her I learned of old schools, of which I was unaware of their existence.
In the near future I intend to take Wilburn Ray Lollar up on his offer to take me up the steps that led to the old Providence three room schoolhouse, where he started his education, and see the site where it stood and the spring from which they carried their water. I also intend to visit the site of the old Big Ridge school where my mother started school. It is now grown up in trees and bushes and one would not suspect that a school building once occupied the spot. I think that this is the fate of many sites where children once received their early education. For this reason, and for the preservation of this aspect of the early history of Walker County, I believe it to be worthy of the effort to collect, and record, as much information as possible of our now shuttered and dismantled school buildings.
As stated in our last column, Pat Morrison is in the process of collecting the names of more than 120 old county schools. When this list is available I will denote one weekly column to the publishing of these names and solicit help in learning more about them. As I have had such a good response to my first forage into this subject, I feel that there are many who can help to provide information on many of them. I would first like to identify specific schools so as to share the provided submitted information regarding them.