Wheel School in what appears to be the late 1950s, based on the 1954 Ford and 1956 Chevrolet in the photo. (Photo submitted)
Most of the really small country schools in Bedford County were gone by mid-20th century but a few of the larger ones - Normandy, Flat Creek, Pleasant Grove and Wheel - lasted into the 1970s.
Here's one of those, Wheel School, as pictured in what I'd guess was the late 1950s judging by the cars and the gym/cafeteria.
A reunion for all who attended Wheel School is scheduled for noon Saturday at Shiloh United Methodist Church. Those attending should bring a dish for a potluck meal.
The building still stands, although it's been remodeled into a private residence (enter "2572 Tennessee 64 Scenic" on Google Maps for a relatively-current view). The attached gym at left was many years later used as a garage/tire store.
Pleasant Grove and Flat Creek - also still standing and both converted into private residences - along with Wheel were consolidated into today's Liberty School in 1976.
I covered basketball games at those schools during their last season. It was an experience, people crammed into tiny gyms, but the atmosphere and excitement was contagious. Many of those schools' athletes went on to stardom at Shelbyville Central High.
Construction on the building above began in 1939 and the first classes were held in August 1940, according to the contributor who brought the photo.
Here's a photo of the previous Wheel school, from 1938 (actually a clipping from a 1987 Times-Gazette). Note the water bucket and jug in the background. This will also be published in our Sunday print edition with names included. Where was that school?
The gym and cafeteria at the 1940 building were, I'd guess, added in a mid-1950s building program that added the gym and "annex" building at Central, a new South Side School, a new East Bedford School in Wartrace (the pre-integration African-American school there) and gyms at Madison Street in Shelbyville, Community High in Unionville and maybe Flat Creek. At least, all those gyms and buildings appear(ed) to me to be the same vintage with similar designs. All still exist except the Madison Street gym, which was demolished in the 1990s due to termite damage and the land's value as commercial property.
Picturing the Past is featured each Tuesday in this blog, with portions and/or some previously-used material in the print edition of Wednesday's Times-Gazette. Reader contributions are welcome.