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Picturing the Past 118: Pleasant Grove Rhythm Band

Posted Tuesday, July 12, 2011, at 3:56 PM

The Pleasant Grove Rhythm Band from March 1, 1966. (T-G file photo)
Recognize any of these folks? Meet the Pleasant Grove Rhythm Band, in a photo dated March 1, 1966.

Bedford County still had rural schools scattered around its southern and eastern portions in the 1960s and 1970s, although far fewer than in the really "old days."

By the time this photo was made Pleasant Grove, Wheel, Flat Creek, Bell Buckle and Wartrace had schools which have since been consolidated. Pleasant Grove, Wheel and Flat Creek area students now go to Liberty while Normandy joined Bell Buckle and Wartrace at Cascade. Community already was serving a large area on its own in '66.

I remember shooting basketball photos at the old Pleasant Grove gym when I was first starting in the news business -- which means the 1975-76 school year, which I think was the last for Pleasant Grove, Wheel and Flat Creek. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think Liberty opened in the fall of 1976, a year before the then-new Central High opened in fall '77. What was Normandy's last year?

I originally wrote that Pleasant Grove had folding chairs in the gym but several co-workers confirm they did have bleachers. I seem to remember one school that had folding chairs in what appeared to be a combined gym/cafeteria. Is my mind playing tricks on me?

All of those old school buildings still exist as private residences (some highly remodeled) except for Bell Buckle, which burned in, I think, 1973.

I imagine former students have quite a bit to say about those old schools and their teachers/principals/coaches.

Speaking of schools, the Bedford County School System is wanting early photos of its administrative office building from its days as Madison Street Elementary School (1940 to the 1970s). They're hoping to restore the facade to its original style. As a former student it looks to me just like it did when I was attending. Maybe it was different long before my time, for example the 1940s or 1950s. We'll pass along anything you have.

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

Showing comments in chronological order
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What grade levels or ages does this look like? All High School or some Elementary? Some look pretty young.

I was in what we called the Dance Band in addition to Marching and Concert during similar years. Wow! Did we look that young?

-- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Jul 13, 2011, at 7:51 AM

Steve in the years that I remember Pleasant Grove as well as Wheel, and Flat Creek just went up through the eighth grade, and then they transferred to Central High School for their high school years. I hope that I am right about this.

-- Posted by leeiii on Wed, Jul 13, 2011, at 9:27 AM

You are correct, at that time those 3 schools were 1st grade through 8th grade. However, in earlier years, Flat Creek School included the first 2 years of high school.

David, the gym you are remembering with chairs instead of bleachers was Flat Creek. I attended there all 8 years and was in the eighth grade the last year the school was open. I played basketball 4 of those 8 years and remember very well setting those chairs out for the games. Would love to see any pictures you might have from our school in the early to mid 70's.

-- Posted by RexBicknell on Thu, Jul 14, 2011, at 5:26 PM

Was this the band started by one of the teachers, Lillian Tillett?

I believe this band was made up stictly of students from Pleasant Grove.

Who knows? I may have snapped this picture since I was on the T-G news staff in 1966.

-- Posted by bomelson on Fri, Jul 15, 2011, at 8:05 AM

Bo you are right the band was started by Lillian Cunningham who was a Tillett. I went to Pleasant Grove from the last half of the second grade to the first half of the sixth grade.

I was in the band while I was at Pleasant Grove and we traveled to different schools in the County to play for them. All the band members went to Pleasant Grove. Our mothers made our uniforms or if you were lucky you might be able to buy one from a former member if they were the same size.

-- Posted by bellbuckle62 on Tue, Jul 19, 2011, at 11:12 AM

Love this blast from the past! I attended the old Wartrace school during Jr. High and Wartrace elementary around 1968 with a portion of that at the old Bell Buckle school before it burned. I remember having Nancy Phillips as a teacher in Bell Buckle and Stella Haskins was one of my teachers in Wartrace (loved them both). I would love to get my hands on Wartrace/Bell Buckle elementary annuals 68'-69' 69'-70'70-71',71'-72',73'-74, 74-75', 75'-76, 77'-78. Or at least student/teacher photos during that time. I know that is a 10 year spread and will more than likely be hard to locate.

-- Posted by tyjohns57 on Sat, Aug 20, 2011, at 7:56 AM

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