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April 13, 2014

Holly Pond’s historic schools

(Continued)

HOLLY POND — Holly Pond School

In the 1860s, there was one small log house east of Holly Pond on Mud Creek that was used for a church and school house. Lemuel M. Bryson attended his first school at this location.

In compiling Bryson’s information, the Scott’s discovered that in 1872 the settlements from the south and north came together with the Mud Creek settlement to construct a schoolhouse. The site selected was at the campground on the Blountsville – Somerville Road near the large pond which is now in the Town of Holly Pond. Mr. Bryson stated, “The nearest house was one mile away from the school house.” The school was made of logs with split-log seats placed around the exterior walls, creating a back to the seats. David Hood was the first teacher at this school in the summer of 1872.

In 1939, students from Holly Pond School interviewed N.S. Stisher, David Lewis, and George Dodson concerning the history of their school. According to this interview, there was a one-room log structure built for the purpose of a school as early as 1873. This school was located near the intersection of the Blountsville Road and Highway 278. They also indicated that by 1890 or 1891, a two-story building with four rooms had been constructed across from the Holly Pond Baptist Church.

The third school building was constructed in 1909 in the vicinity of the Easterwood Gymnasium. A photograph, shared by Christine Shaw Wise, reveals a very ornate, red-painted structure with white trim. It had seven rooms: four downstairs with a stairwell in the center, and two classrooms and a large area the size of two classrooms used as an auditorium for programs or community meetings. This building was damaged by a tornado in 1914 while school was in session. No students were seriously injured. Support poles were used to brace the building until another building could be constructed.

The fourth building was constructed in 1915 where the old Ag Building now stands. This building was known as the White Building and students were enrolled in grades 1-10. Students desiring to further their education could attend the County High School in Cullman, or the High School in Blountsville.

A school tax was established in 1927 which allowed Holly Pond to have a high school. Much of the material and labor were donated by the Holly Pond Community to construct the brick building. A grade was added each year until the first seniors graduated in 1929.

“By 1933, the school was thriving,” said Dan Scott. “Three wings were added that year: an elementary wing on one side, a high school wing with administrative offices on the other side, and a large gymnasium/auditorium in the center. There was a basement under the gym where the boiler was located for central heat.”

After the close of the 1952 school year, the Holly Pond School building was completely destroyed by fire. Lightning was determined as the cause of the fire. No one was injured, but the event was devastating to the community.

“In 1952-53, classes were sent to various places in the community including: Industrial Arts Building, Ag/Home Ec Building,  lunchroom (which was an old Army barrack), Food Canning Plant, Baptist Church, Turkey Hop Church, Methodist Church, and  homes of Herman Gilley, Jesse Duke, and Marion Hammock,” said Dan Scott. “The new building was complete enough for the class of 1953 to hold their graduation in the new gymnasium.”

Currently, Holly Pond School consists of an elementary, middle and high school with over 1,000 students enrolled.

The Details

Other community schools consolidated with Holly Pond School:

Shaddrix School – consolidated in 1931

Oak Level School – consolidated in 1932

Redan School – consolidated in 1936

New Hope School – consolidated in 1939

Unity School – consolidated in 1941

Center Point School – consolidated in 1948

Brooklyn School – consolidated in 1952

Union Grove School – consolidated in 1956

 

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