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Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014

Picturing the Past 53: Back to school

Posted Tuesday, March 23, 2010, at 9:53 AM

(Photo)
The old Central High School on Bryant Street, which later was a junior high school for many years. (Photo contributed)
Here's a look at the two high schools which served Shelbyville before today's Central High, which itself has been around 33 years. I was a senior in the first year of today's building and it was an experience beginning the fall of 1977 in a new and already overcrowded facility.

This high school that gets less attention than the still-standing Elm Street building. This structure on Bryant Street was the first known as Central High, and was only there 13 1/2 years, from 1925 until early 1939 (from what I've read the student body moved en masse during the 1938-39 school year.). Today's school administration building, built as Madison Street School, was constructed about that time and the existing ex-high school became a junior high for years.

Note that the photo is labeled 'Junior High School' at the bottom, so it must have been made sometime in the 1940s. At the far right is what appears to be the front end of a 1940s Hudson.

Apparently the Bryant Street building wasn't well-built. When I was a Madison Street student in the early 1970s it was in such poor shape students were only allowed in the first floor, which itself was in shambles with holes in the ceilings and walls. Supposedly the second floor was being used for storage. It was gone by, I think, the end of the 1970s and was definitely in too poor shape for rehab. The newer building, by the way, was in great condition.

If you're trying to picture it in your minds, it was where the parking lot behind the administration building is today. THe

That's one of two problem-filled school-related buildings that were built in that area. Remember Madison Street Gym? From what I've read it was built in a mid-1950s project which also included the stand-alone gym at the Elm Street high school (now Central Memorial Gym), a gym and classroom addition at what was then Bedford County Training School and Community School, a new East Bedford School (a pre-integration black school in Wartrace), and South Side School in Shelbyville.

Most of those buildings still stand today. But Madison Street Gym was demolished a few years ago, supposedly due to termite infestation. A bank is at that site today. And old-timers can tell you about the SCHS football field of the 1930s and 1940s where the bank and Chinese restaurant are now located.

Photobucket

Here's a contributed photo of Central High from 1951, the Elm Street building used as a high school from 1939-77 and a middle school from 1979-2006. And if you look at the building today, it looks almost exactly the same. This photo could have been taken today.

I attended there from my freshman through junior years and remember mostly the people who occupied the building. The empty school's halls are quiet now but the memories live on.

But I do remember that the old school seemed to be either steamy hot or icy cold in the winter, depending on where you were, and parts of it were more than a little worn down by the 1977 move. Those tan brick walls made the place look institutional. I also remember sitting at a desk with "Dinah Shore Sat Here" and references to 1940s singers carved into it. It was definitely aging.

The original parts of today's SCHS are almost as old as the Elm Street building was when I was there. Yet today's building looks fresh and modern and still relatively "new", at least to me. Someone's doing something right out there as far as maintenance.

Picturing the Past is featured each Tuesday in this blog. Reader contributions are welcome.


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Ah yesss, Ye old Junior High School. The basketball dressing rooms were on the lower level as well as the entrance for the players into the gym which was on the back side of the building. Spectators entered the gym from the middle level with seating only on one side. The part of the building on the left of the picture was the football dressing room.

In the 51-52 school year I was in Mrs. Pete Vires' 6th grade class. It was located on the upper level in the middle of the building designated by the three windows in the middle. In the 52-53 school year I was in Mrs. Horace Wilson Hudson's 7th grade class. It was located on the middle level on the extreme right of this picture. In the 53-54 school year I was in Mrs. Clara Clark's 8th grade class. It was located on the middle level on the extreme left of the photo. It is strange that I do not remember the location of the rest rooms, but I am guessing that they were the two small windows on the middle level. The double windows on the middle level just to the left of the front entrance designate the sick room, and the double windows on the middle level just to the right of the front entrance designate the music room. The auditorium was on the upper level on the back side of the building. We ate our lunch on the upper level of the Madison Street Elementary School out of the picture to the left and down a few steps. We made that trek to the other building for lunch rain, snow, or sunshine.

Now the high school building I remember as being a great time in my life as well. Those were some of the greatest years of my life, even if I did not think so at the time.

-- Posted by leeiii on Tue, Mar 23, 2010, at 1:57 PM

The rest rooms were on the lower level. I graduated from jr. high in 1947 and my mother graduated from high school in the same building. I have both of the diplomas. I had Mrs. Powers in the 7th.grade and Mrs.Clark in the 8th.

I graduated from Central High in 1951.

I agree leeiii those were great times

-- Posted by jim8377 on Tue, Mar 23, 2010, at 4:57 PM

Thanks jim8377, then I am going to guess that at least one of those small windows was the teacher's lounge.

-- Posted by leeiii on Tue, Mar 23, 2010, at 5:02 PM

leeiii too many winters have gone by, I don't remember.

-- Posted by jim8377 on Tue, Mar 23, 2010, at 5:14 PM

jim8377, Let me ask you a question. Did you ever work with Shields Rambo?

-- Posted by leeiii on Tue, Mar 23, 2010, at 6:41 PM

Wasn't there are also a school on Shelbyville Mills road? If I remember correctly, my mom and dad went to school there. It is still standing and is to the left of the old Shelbyville Mills Baptist Church. Any info of this one?

-- Posted by bugforever on Tue, Mar 23, 2010, at 10:09 PM

bugforever, Yes the Shelbyville Mills School stood exactly where you are talking about. I am not sure whether it is still there or not. Also, I am not sure about whether the gym is still standing or not. There was a lot of good basketball played in that old gym.

-- Posted by leeiii on Wed, Mar 24, 2010, at 6:40 AM

There was, indeed, a school at Shelbyville Mills -my husband and his brothers and sister attended school there. They talk about their experiences frequently. Apparently, there were some good sports teams coming from that little school.

-- Posted by reilly on Wed, Mar 24, 2010, at 6:43 AM

leeiii after I returned from the army in 1956, Iworked for Altamil and Sealtest. We moved to GA in 1961 to work for Lockheed. I lived in a flat roofed house on No. main St., where a Sonic is now.

Jim Morrow

-- Posted by jim8377 on Wed, Mar 24, 2010, at 7:00 AM

jim8377 I remember that house very well. I am trying to think that Roland David lived in that house at one time, or at least in the neighborhood. He would have been a few years younger than you.

Your sister Ann was in my class in high school.

-- Posted by leeiii on Wed, Mar 24, 2010, at 7:13 AM

leeiii Roland David lived in the house next door.

My sister Anne is now dead.

-- Posted by jim8377 on Wed, Mar 24, 2010, at 7:20 AM

jim8377, I am sorry to hear about Anne. Ervin Thomas lived on the other side of your house. Billy Thomas who was another classmate of mine passed away in the past few months. In his obituary I noticed that John R. is still living.

-- Posted by leeiii on Wed, Mar 24, 2010, at 7:26 AM

leeii, didn't Billy and John R. have two sisters?

The Davids and Brantleys were good neighbors to my parents in their latter years.

-- Posted by jim8377 on Wed, Mar 24, 2010, at 8:13 AM

I can remember Erwena, but I can not remember another girl right off the top of my head. Would she have been older or younger?

-- Posted by leeiii on Wed, Mar 24, 2010, at 8:43 AM

She would have been the youngest,but like I said before about all the winters.

-- Posted by jim8377 on Wed, Mar 24, 2010, at 8:45 AM

leeiii I remember the youngest Thomas girl being named Catherine.

-- Posted by jim8377 on Wed, Mar 24, 2010, at 10:09 AM

A memory I have of Madison Street School is when the Circus came to town and unloaded at the train depot,then walked the elephants up Madison Street to the Horse Show Grounds. We all came out and stood along the street to watch.We later walked with our class to the big tent to see the show.This would have been 1948 or there abouts.

Another memory was the car pool ride from the parking lot on the west side down the hill toward Madison Street, with the police officer directing traffic as he did every day. Then our driver realized she had no brakes, she started screaming to the officer that she could not stop and somehow we made a left turn west on Madison and then a right turn into A&W Root Beer around the back side without hitting anyone then back toward Madison where the traffic was now stopped for the light at Deery. We 'T' boned the car that was there and our ride was over.

-- Posted by Cal t on Wed, Mar 24, 2010, at 10:57 AM

On the lower right of the photo of the school on Bryant St., that I remember as the Junior High School, there is what looks like a date. The reason why I am wondering about the date of the picture is the cafeteria is visible in the picture. As you are looking at the picture, the cafeteria is on the back part of the left side of the building. This picture brings back so many memories, and I remembered the room in basement on the right side being the band room. This room was also used for girl scout meetings.

I also remember that the walk home in the afternoon, made a detour to the A&W Root Beer stand on Madison Street. How I would love to taste one of those root beers in the frosty mugs.

-- Posted by cookie on Wed, Mar 24, 2010, at 1:04 PM

Shelbyville Mills School is still standing and has been used as some sort of storage building. I went there the first 8 years of my education. My mother and aunt and uncles also went there. There were some GREAT sports teams from there. My sister and I both played basketball there. After the school was shut down, the gym was torn down. My aunt found out and went down to the gym and the crew that was tearing it down was throwing all the trophys, scorebooks and such in the back of a dump truck to take to the landfil. My aunt called several people and some of it was saved but I always thought what a waste of history! Shelbyville Mills students have had several school reunions in the past but none recently. Maybe some of us students can find some pictures for you to put on the bog. What about it SMS alumni?

-- Posted by ZNanny on Wed, Mar 24, 2010, at 2:12 PM

To Cookie, the numbers at the bottom of the photo are 1-T.312, which apparently have nothing to do with any date.

To ZNanny and any other Shelbyville Mills alumni, we'd love to have some photos.

-- Posted by David Melson on Wed, Mar 24, 2010, at 2:59 PM

Back to Cookie. Was there a cafeteria in both buildings at Madison street? I know I'm having lots of cob web senior moments here lately, but I seem to remember a cafeteria on the second floor Madison Street side of other building not shown. I think there was an auditorium on the first floor right below that.

I think all my classes 1-6 were in the Madison Street Building, and I found Mrs. Powers mixed class 1953 5th and 6th grades picture which has 3 of our 1960 and 24 of the 1961 class. The 7th and 8th were at the new building at Central on Elm. Do you remember Willie Lee the janitor? He always had a smile for us.

-- Posted by Cal t on Wed, Mar 24, 2010, at 4:21 PM

How I would love to taste one of those root beers in the frosty mugs.

-- Posted by cookie on Wed, Mar 24, 2010, at 1:04 PM

Unfortunately, a time machine would be required to recapture the unique taste of A&W Root Beer of that era, since the Food and Drug Administration, in their infinite wisdom, banned the use of sassafras in food products in 1960, because, they said, a component of it caused cancer in lab rats.

Sassafras was one of the main flavor ingredients of root beer at that time, and to me that taste has never been duplicated. I sometimes pause at the root beer display at Kroger,and just for a moment I'm tempted to pick up a carton, but then reality kicks in and I walk on by.

-- Posted by ilikeoldsongs on Wed, Mar 24, 2010, at 5:26 PM

Cal t, Yes I remember Willie Lee with great fondness. He was a friend to all of us. Willie Lee had a son named John that came over to the school with him sometimes and we would play out on the playground after school. I think that John is living in Shelbyville now according to the T-G. I have intended to look him up on one of our trips to Shelbyville but so far I have not.

ilikeoldsongs, On the brighter side just think of the great number of rats who have been saved by that decision.

-- Posted by leeiii on Wed, Mar 24, 2010, at 6:23 PM

Cal t- You are right about the cafeteria in the Elementary School facing Madison Street, and on the 2nd floor. I wish that I knew when the cafeteria at the Junior High was built, because leeii said it wasn't there when he was there. There has to be someone older than me that would remember, and that would have fewer senior moments.

-- Posted by cookie on Wed, Mar 24, 2010, at 7:02 PM

cookie, If I remember correctly I think they were beginning to build it at the end of my last year there. It seems to me that they were working on a ramp closest to the playground that would probably be used to deliver food and milk. My 8th grade year Willie Lee helped to get me the job carrying the milk upstairs to the cafeteria in the morning and then bringing the empties (glass bottles) down in the afternoon. At that time all of the milk was delivered to the Madison Street Elementary cafeteria.

-- Posted by leeiii on Wed, Mar 24, 2010, at 8:23 PM

Madison street School and Junior High School had separate cafeterias. Thank goodness! The woman in charge of the cafeteria at Madison Street School when I was a student there treated everyone, especially the students, like she was a mean drill sergeant.

-- Posted by bomelson on Thu, Mar 25, 2010, at 3:32 PM

I was in Mrs Vires room in 6th grade in 50 & 51 then Mrs Hudson in 7th and Mr Shubert in 8th. The Lunch room was there all that time . It was on the end next to Madison st, on the floor above boy's restroom. Mr Harris's room was on floor with restroom. I hope this helps. The cafeteria lady was Mrs Bryant. No one will ever forget her.

-- Posted by Wilderness 68 on Thu, Mar 25, 2010, at 3:49 PM

Thanks cookie, bomelson, and Wilderness 68 for trying to help me remember the cafeteria. I surely spoke too soon. I do not know why I am having a blank spot concerning the cafeteria. The name Mrs. Bryant certainly rings a bell. I can even see her gentle smiling face. I am pretty sure that I was brown bagging it in those days, but surely they would have made me go to the lunchroom to eat it. Sorry about the mis-information gang.

-- Posted by leeiii on Thu, Mar 25, 2010, at 4:13 PM

I am a proud graduate of the Shelbyville Mills School.

You are right in saying we had some great basketball teams.

Hixon Pugh,Austin(Chick)Davis,and Woody Thompson were our coaches.

All those great days in that old gym,are some of my most cherished memories.

I have a copy of the only year book,to my knowledge that we ever had.

I did have some pictures of some of the ball teams,which featured some of Shelbyville's finest,however I think my daughter has them now.

I will try to find,and send to you,David.

At one time the girls team was as hot as the Eaglettes. In fact I recall at least one of those girls played on the Eaglettes state champion team in the early 60's.She was an outstanding player at SMS,and all 4 years at CHS.I don't know if I should mention the player by name in the blog,but I was proud to be a bench warmer,and be a part of the team.

-- Posted by Gus on Thu, Mar 25, 2010, at 9:58 PM

Oh yes,I almost missed the chance to brag about how many times Shelbyville Mill's girls team beat the Madison St. Jr. High girls team.

-- Posted by Gus on Thu, Mar 25, 2010, at 10:10 PM

I was a student at CHS from 1958 to 1961. What memories I have. Don't laugh, my most memorable teacher there was Mrs. Laura Morton. What a colorful lady! I thank Mrs. Breast every day for teaching me a skill that has served me well and opened doors for me all my life. She was a great teacher and a classy lady. I enjoy the photos and the stories David, keep up the good work.

-- Posted by chs61 on Fri, Mar 26, 2010, at 9:00 PM

Mrs. John K. Breast was a wonderful teacher. Not only did she teach me, but also my Mother and Father. When she taught my Dad, it was her first year of teaching. At that time, she taught both typing and shorthand. Another of my favorites was Miss Sara Thomas, who was also my neighbor. She was the recipitant of many Halloween pranks. There were many times that she woke up to street signs all over her front yard. There was one time that my Dad and I made a large "Just Married" sign that we put on her passenger door of the car. She didn't find out until most of the school day was over. She never found out who did it, and we sure didn't let her know the pranksters were her next door neighbors. She was a lovely person, neighbor, and teacher.

-- Posted by cookie on Sat, Mar 27, 2010, at 8:04 AM

cookie, Likewise Mrs. Louise Breast, and Miss Sara Thomas were favorites of mine as well. Mrs. Breast motivated me to try harder by kindly guiding me when I was in her second year typing class.

Ahh, Miss Thomas----Everyone loved her, and I think that is why so many tricks were played on her. I have heard that someone pulled the pins from her classroom door hinges one year on the same day that someone had placed a can of water in the locker next to her door. As she unlocked her door and stood there with the door in her hand with only the door closer keeping it from falling, the person with the locker just happened to open it about the same time with splashing results.

Speaking of your Dad made me remember that I had heard someone say that on one Halloween night your Father's "Clean Rest Rooms" sign from his station on North Main went missing and re-appeared on Miss Thomas' porch on Belmont.

-- Posted by leeiii on Sat, Mar 27, 2010, at 8:47 AM

Miss Sarah was also another favorite of mine even though I did not have any of her classes. She was the organist at the church I went to. As members of the choir, Mr. Jeffries and I would deliberately (not a strech for us) sing off key, just to get a reaction from her. We sat just to her left and it was hard to keep a straight face. She had her sense of humor too. Sometimes she would kick her shoe off aimed our way. She loved teaching, young people and music. I wish I could hear her play that pipe organ again today sitting in my old choir spot.

-- Posted by chs61 on Sat, Mar 27, 2010, at 3:34 PM

great memories David - thx

-- Posted by Bjaj1 on Sun, Mar 28, 2010, at 10:19 AM

Do any of you who played basketball at the Junior High School gym remember the perils of going under the baskets for a layup? The walls were immediate back of the baskets and often had a hole, sometimes jagged, left by some player who had previously crashed through those one inch boards. I scored and immediately bounced off the wall a few times.

-- Posted by bomelson on Sun, Mar 28, 2010, at 3:21 PM

It's really fun reading all the comments about the old days at Madison Street and Junior High. I remember them both very, very well. My years at Madison Street were '43 thru '48 (6 grades) then Junior High '49 and '50 (7th and 8th). Your comments have brought back so many memories.

Yes, the drill master in the Madison Street cafeteria was Mrs. Bryant. After you paid your nickel for lunch, you had BETTER turn to the left with your tray....or you were in big trouble. Willie Lee was a classic. He loved to crank up that hand held siren for our fire drills.

Now leeiii, I'm confused about your memory of the cafeteria in Junior High. While I was there, just before you, the cafeteria was right across the hall from Mrs. Clark's room. The cafeteria was not new...it seemed as old as the rest of the building.Don't know when they started making the kids go back to Madison for lunch. The 6th grade classes were moved over from Madison Street to the back of the Jr. High auditorium while I was in the 8th grade....Ah, yes, those old basement rest rooms and that old gym....priceless!

-- Posted by steadyeddie on Wed, Mar 31, 2010, at 2:22 PM

steadyeddie, Yes, I had forgotten about Willie Lee's hand cranked siren, but now I can see it clearly.

From the comments of others I am sure that was the location of the cafeteria. I am just suffering a memory block about it. Some of it probably stems from my days of carrying the milk up and then the empties down. Surely there was someone doing the same thing for the Junior High. I guess my visual camera is just out of film.

-- Posted by leeiii on Wed, Mar 31, 2010, at 4:13 PM

Oh, another story just came to my mind. When I was in the Second Grade, Mrs. Haynes would take turns asking one of us to go out in the hall and see what time it was, then come back and tell the class. I was having a hard time with that (quarter after) and (half past) thing, so I would just stand there staring at the clock until I saw Willie Lee coming down the hall. I would ask him what the time was and he would tell me. So Willie Lee is the main reason that I learned to tell time.

-- Posted by leeiii on Wed, Mar 31, 2010, at 4:20 PM

leeiii...I love your Willie Lee story about telling time. I was disappointed that Willie Lee couldn't transfer to CHS when we did. But there we found Tom Brame. Good old Tom wasn't quite as sharp as Willie Lee, but he was fairly handy with that push mop.

Miss Virginia Haynes was my teacher and my neighbor. She lived two doors away on North Main and let me hitch a ride with her in that big black Buick from time to time. Her secret to good health was to wash your hands with Lifebuoy soap when you got home from school. Must have worked--I don't think she ever sneezed.

-- Posted by steadyeddie on Thu, Apr 1, 2010, at 11:20 PM

steadyeddie, If you will look back in the archives of Bo's blog columns you will find one called "If you had been the principal" on January 17, 2008. There you will find a story that involves Tom.

-- Posted by leeiii on Fri, Apr 2, 2010, at 8:03 AM

leeiii...Thanks...I got a kick out of reading Bo's blog column you referred me to. I just can't remember "John and Pete" being that playful. Hope "Tom" was able to clean up that wet spot under his feet....You brought back more memories by mentioning the old Lemac Club...I don't remember any girls in the club...do you?

-- Posted by steadyeddie on Fri, Apr 2, 2010, at 4:22 PM

No, I do not ever remember any girls belonging to the club.

As for John and Pete, yes they were quite the jokesters. I can remember one time when Pete put some Analgesic Balm in the lowest part of a very important piece of an athlete's support wear of one of our basketball players.

Then another time when Pete was laying face down on the training table John poured some Wintergreen in a very vulnerable place.

-- Posted by leeiii on Fri, Apr 2, 2010, at 4:39 PM

Oh-h-h Man!...that really smarts, leeiii. Never knew their jokes became that physical. I do remember Pete made lots kidding remarks in History class to (and about) his star athletes.

Did the characters we call Pete and John ever move beyond S'ville to greener pastures?

-- Posted by steadyeddie on Sun, Apr 4, 2010, at 6:52 PM

steadyeddie, I lost touch with both of them after Shelbyville. I really do not know what became of them. I do not even know if they are still alive or not. I remember that Pete was very fond of his schooling and basketball days at Lincoln Memorial.

Another fond memory that I have is of him and Mrs. Mullins shooting hoops in the old gym on the main floor for milkshakes. She was quite the basketball player in her day both at Shelbyville and at the Middle Tennessee Teachers College.

-- Posted by leeiii on Mon, Apr 5, 2010, at 7:34 AM

Leeiii...I do recall that Mrs. Mullins was quite an athlete (and a cheerleader). I understand that she later became Mrs. Wakefield. Someone told me that Elizabeth Troxler is still alive and well. Do you have an update on any of the other "original" faculty members?

-- Posted by steadyeddie on Mon, Apr 5, 2010, at 10:41 AM

Mrs. Crockett was at our 50th Reunion and she appeared to be in good health. It seems to me that I heard another one of our teachers had sent her regrets. I think that it may have been Mrs. Hulan. We had a list of deceased teachers on our Class of '58 website. I did not make a copy of them and that website has been taken down now.

-- Posted by leeiii on Mon, Apr 5, 2010, at 12:10 PM

leeiii....when y'all met for your 50th was there an opportunity for you to see inside the old CHS building? We haven't met since our 40th....and if we EVER get back for another reunion, I wish someone could arrange for us to have a quick "field trip" back to old Central. I want to check out the old band room..HA.

-- Posted by steadyeddie on Tue, Apr 6, 2010, at 9:50 PM

steadyeddie, Sorry, no the only places we visited were Riverbend Country Club and Cortner's Mill.

-- Posted by leeiii on Wed, Apr 7, 2010, at 11:32 AM

I remember two girls who were members of the lemaC club (Camel spelled backwards). Because girls who smoked were thought to have loose morals, back in 1961, I will not name names. Of course at age 16 with a bad case of raging homones, I had to find out. It did not take me long to figure out that a cigarette did not make a girl easy and it was not fun to kiss her after a cigarette. If only all the other lessons of life had been that easy to learn......

-- Posted by chs61 on Wed, Apr 7, 2010, at 5:47 PM


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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.