Christiana High School, 1931-1971

CHRISTIANA HIGH SCHOOL 1931-1971 was built east of the old school, on the south side of Church Street, and across from the Church of Christ. The Rutherford County Board of Education bought four and 1/2 acres from J. G. Sugg and wife, three acres from A. J. Brandon, both parcels signed in March 1931, and 1/4 acre from R. B. Bragg acknov1edged on March 21, 1932.

The $15,000 brick building had eight classrooms and an auditorium. W. P. A. labor was later used to dig basement rooms under the west wing. These rooms, unsatisfactory for classrooms, became in time a projection room and space for storage. A central heating system was installed. The auditorium of the old building became a gymnasium.

The two classrooms on each side were removed and replaced by long sheds which became bleachers. The ceiling was raised. Hoyt Beavers, Fred Kelton, and Maurice Broiles were the carpenters in the conversion.

Immediately after World War II, a government surplus building from Camp Forrest was used to build an agriculture shop and classroom.

In 1955, a four-room brick building was erected to the west of the main building to house the first four grades, and a cafeteria building was constructed to accommodate one hundred students at a time. New science and home economics rooms were built.

Principals of this school were H. F. Delzell, C. H. Rogers, Oscar Baskin, Robert Martin, Bealer Smotherman, Whitson McLain, Robert Jones, T. W. Flowers, Thomas G. Gault, L. A. Waggoner, Joe Higgins, L. Freeman Crowder, James W. Taylor, W. F. Welchance, and Roy Johnson.

Teachers in 1933, besides Principal H. F. Delzell, were Annie Ethel Cason, Jennie B. Clark Hill, Orvalene Lannom Maples, Clarence H. Rogers, Ora Todd, and William W. Wood, Jr. Other teachers were Elvira Brothers, Lena Gilbert Young, Margaret Perry, Katherine Beasley, J. N. Jaggers, Lurlene McCrary, Myrtle Wilson, Mae Johnston, Olga Hoover Ellis, Gladys Herrod, Madeline Bomar, Myla Parsons, Sally Miller, Nettie Laura Powell Vaught, Mrs. Robert Jones, Lucille Scott, Mary Lou Gordon Davidson, Chester Davidson, Mack Looney, Sarah Gilbert, Mrs. Paschal Johns, Blanche Becton, Marie Couch Maples, and Jean Raper.

Graduates of 1933 were Rolly Dean Beasley, Bettie Mae Brothers Messick, Clemmie Brothers McKay, Nina Brothers Whitworth, John Edwards, James Ford, Gilbert Gordon, Aline Haskins Heath, Woodrow O’Brien, Raymond Rigney, Naomi Smith Roden, Mattie Lou Smotherman Brock, Malvin Swafford, Marjorie Taylor Miller, and Isabelle Wiggs Moody. Barton Dement, Jr., who also attended Christiana, became a state legislator.

Through the years, increased emphasis was placed on science and mathematics. Foreign language was added to the curriculum. A commerce department was established in 1948. The F. H. A. was affiliated with the state organization also in 1948.

Boys were active in basketball and in FFA. In the 4-H Club, Catherine Beavers won first place in Automotive in the state and James Edward Beavers won first in Automotive in the nation. The Cristolite was published by the annual staff.

Fosterville students were bussed to Christiana in 1931 and 1932. During 1965-1966, the first tour grades were reassigned to the 231 SCHOOL. In 1971-1972, grades five through eight were bussed to the same school which was renamed the CHRISTIANA ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, and the high school students were sent to ROCKVALE or to CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL in Murfreesboro. In 1972-1973, students of high school age went to the new consolidated school, RIVERDALE.

The empty school building was at first vandalized and then burned.

Allen J. Gambill and wife Marion bought at auction on April 1, 1974, 4.17 acres including the building. Others who bought school property were: Blanche Summers, 3 acres; Carl F. Montgomery and wife Rose S., 4.65 acres; J. J. and G. Construction Co., 2.1 acres; Trustees of the Baptist Church, 0.7 acre; William J. Kelton, .4 acre.

SOURCES: Deed Book 225, pp. 172, 427; Book 229, pp. 209, 226; Book 230, p. 224; Book 243, p. 540. Hazel Miller Alexander, “First School for Christiana Was Started Century Ago,” The Daily News Journal, Nov. 13, 1963, p. 23. *Gene Sloan, “Memories Linger at Christiana,” The Daily News Journal Accent, Feb. 27, 1977. Emmaline Miller, “History of Christiana,” term
paper, MTSC 1939 . Marjorie T. Miller, “Christiana High School” in the program of the 50th anniversary class reunion of the 1933 class. Interviews, April 17, 1980, with Elmo Beasley, d. 1983, and with Roberta Miller Beasley, d. 1983; September 18, 1981, with Epper Bell Webb, b. Dec. 9, 1898,
d. July 9, 1983; October 1979, with Nathan Burns, d. July 3, 1984; October 1980, with William Miller, b. 1889.

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