Murfreesboro Public School, aka Maple Street Grammar School, 1891-1922

A predecessor of CRICHLOW SCHOOL was MURFREESBORO PUBLIC SCHOOL, 1891-1922 which was housed in the old MURFREESBORO FEMALE ACADEMY on Maple Street across from the present MTEMC building. An Act of the Tennessee Legislature in 1891 had given the city the authority to levy a school tax. At that time the FEMALE ACADEMY property was donated to the city of Murfreesboro and the city elementary school system came into being. The school was at various times called MURFREESBORO FREE SCHOOL, GRADED SCHOOL 1909, HIGH SCHOOL, PUBLIC SCHOOL 1911, CITY SCHOOL 1916, and MAPLE STREET GRAMMAR SCHOOL.

In 1904, the city razed the building and built another two-story brick building in its place. In 1919, the school building was remodeled, renovated, and repaired.

Records of the state superintendent for 1895 showed an enrollment of 407 pupils in the school. In 1921-22, 525 pupils were enrolled.

Elijah Carroll Cox was the first city superintendent, c1891-1904. He was followed by P. A. Lyon, 1904-1911, who was later president of MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE COLLEGE; J. M. Northcutt, 1911-1918; and J. C. Mitchell, 1918-1945, who was also principal of CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL which was built in 1918.

Among the teachers under E. C. Cox were Miss Ida Clark, Miss Addle Ledbetter, Miss Ella Howse, and Miss Margaret Wendel. In an agreement between the State Board of Education and the Murfreesboro City Board of Education, MURFREESBORO PUBLIC SCHOOL in 1911 became the “Town School” for practice teaching for MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE NORMAL SCHOOL. The staff at that time consisted of: Eugenia Neilson, Anna McFadden, Madelene Bryan, Cornelia Wendel,Bessie Carney, and Ann Ordway, with J. M. Northcott, principal, and Louise Gordon, substitute teacher.

In 1922 the name of the school was permanently changed to CRICHLOW GRAMMAR SCHOOL in honor of James H. Crichiow, who for many years was president of the City Board of Education.

SOURCES: *Homer Pittard, The First Fifty Years Murfreesboro: MTSC, 1961 , pp. 26, 27. J. C. Mitchell, “City Schools Organized by J. C. Mitchell in 1918,” The Daily News Journal, Nov. 7, 1948, p. 6. Mutual Realty and Loan Co., Handbook of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County, Tennessee 1921-22 *Mrs. Dallas Ison, “Murfreesboro City Schools Date Back to Crichiow School,” The Daily News Journal, Nov. 13, 1963, p. 8. “City, County Schools Are among Most Modern,” The Daily News Journal, April 6, 1952, p. 25. *Ernest Hooper and *Mary Frances Hooper Brandon, children of Mary Frances Jones Hooper, b. 1882. *Mary Belle Jordan, who has the report card of her mother, Belle Travis Jordan when she was in the first grade under Eugenia Neilson.

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