Crichlow Grammar School, 1922-1968

CRICHLOW GRAMMAR SCHOOL 1922-1968 was located in Murfreesboro at 400 North Maple Street on the site of the old MURFREESBORO FEMALE ACADEMY and across the street from the present MTEMC building.

In 1919, John Charles Mitchell, City School Superintendent, remodeled the old MURFREESBORO PUBLIC SCHOOL OR MAPLE STREET GRAMMAR SCHOOL, and in 1922 it was renamed CRICHLOW GRAMMAR SCHOOL in honor of James H. Crichlow, who had been president of the City Board for many years. In 1927-1928, a new building was erected at the cost of $44,503.70. The red brick structure had offices for the principal and the secretary, classrooms, a library, a cafeteria, and a teachers’ lounge.

On March 7, 1939, W. F. Hunt and wife Willie H. sold to the City of Murfreesboro a lot on the corner of Olive Street and Church Street which adjoined the school; and on March 24, 1939, Sam E. Vaughn and wife Claudia P. sold a lot on the corner of Olive and Maple Street. It had on it a gray brick, two story house. Until COX MEMORIAL could be completed in 1942, the house was used to accommodate the enlarged enrollments.

COX MEMORIAL was named in honor of E. C. Cox, who had been the first Superintendent of City Schools. The building contained six classrooms, a gymnasium-auditorium, library, office, restrooms for teachers; lockers, showers, and restrooms for students, and an efficient heating plant. The building cost $66,076.93.

As the enrollment became even greater, the junior high school was moved to the old Elks Club on North Spring Street. It had five classrooms and a cafeteria.

J. C. Mitchell was superintendent, 1918-1945, and principal, 1918-1930. Mrs. W. E. Reeves became a teaching principal in 1930; Mrs. Edgar L. Rogers, an assistant principal in 1941; and N. V. Underwood, principal in 1947. Baxter Hobgood was superintendent, 1945-1975. MITCHEL-NEILSON, REEVES-ROGERS, and HOBGOOD SCHOOLS were named for these people. Miss Eugenia Neilson taught first grade here and in Murfreesboro for fifty years.

Other teachers not mentioned elsewhere both before and after 1922 were: Morton Covington, Ada Julia Nance, Mattie Wade Neeley, Bessie Smith, Mrs. Grover Sneed, Evelyn Staley, Kate Wharton, Maude Hoover, Sue. McKee, Dean th1loway, Clara Conley, Mary Lee Van Sickle, Lillian Beasley Huddleston, Anna McFadden, Rachel Sanders, Carmine Jackson, Lugene Mitchell, Mary Frances King, Mary Belle Robinson, Louise McKnight Saunders, Martha Ison, Margie Mitchell, Elizabeth Ezell Prahi, Mary Alice Wood Kelton McNabb, Maurine Todd Cherry, Frances Hughes, Catherine Lowe, Mable Pittard, Myrtle Knight, Louise Sanders Brendle, Mary Garvin, Elizabeth Gwaltney, Sara Bumpas Jernigan, Julia Harris Snell, Sarah Moore, Helen Smith, Irene Morton, Vonnie Sanders, Fulvia Lasiter Smith, Ethel Lasiter Nelson, Annie Lou Ragland, Dorothy Williams Boykin, Florence McFerrin, Mildred Evans, Louise Pettit, Bob Burkett, Mattie Belle Patton, Nellie Malone Parsley, Jack Jolly, Betty Jean Guermanprey Hedrick, and Ruth Bowdoin, who organized the nationally-known CLASSROOM-ON-WHEELS program for disadvantaged pre-school children.

During the administration of J. C. Mitchell, Margaret Hitt and then Mrs. Peterson had charge of an Opportunity Class for retarded children. It was held in the COX MEMORIAL building and was the forerunner of the various special classes and schools now in existence.

In 1968, students and teachers, grades 1-6, were sent to the new area elementary schools. Grades 7 and 8 remained until the CENTRAL MIDDLE SCHOOL opened in 1972.

The vacant CRICHLOW building became the home of the Murfreesboro City School administrative offices. COX MEMORIAL Building is now used as the Rutherford County Activity Center. (ed. Cox Memorial Gym was razed in 1999 for the new Rutherford County Health Department).

The old Elks Club at 109 North Spring Street has been Linebaugh Library, the City Administration Building, and the Rutherford County Guidance Center. It is now (ed. ‘now’ being 1986) being razed for a parking lot.

SOURCES: Deed Book 85, pp. 304, 330. Mutual Realty and Loan Co., Handbook of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County, Tennessee 1921-1922 . *J C. Mitchell, “City Schools Organized by J. C. Mitchell in 1918,” The Daily News Journal, Nov. 7, 1948, P. 6. *Mrs Dallas Ison, “Murfreesboro City Schools Date Back to Crichlow School,” The Daily News Journal, Nov. 13, 1963, p. 8. Based in part on interviews with Mrs. T. S. McFerrin, Sr., Sam Cox, and Margaret Cox. “Local Health and Education Facilities Expand to Meet New Needs,” The Daily News Journal, April 6, 1952, p. 25. Interview, Nov. 6, 1984, with Mrs. T. F. Church, whose daughter Mary Church Parsley was born in the front room of the gray brick building in 1934 and who started first grade in the same room. *Kate Wharton, who taught *Elizabeth Gwaltney and *Florence Cox McFerrin in fifth grade. *Margie Mitchell, daughter of *J C. Mitchell. *Mary Frances Hooper Brandon and *Mary Belle Jordan, both of whom have their mother’s report cards from the old school. *Elizabeth Gwaltney. *Mary Alice Wood Kelton McNabb. *Mary Garvin. *Baxter Hobgood.

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