Strict Women’s College Entertained Local Community, Letter from Mark Womack

As published by the Daily News Journal, Sunday, December 18, 2010

By Greg Tucker, President Rutherford County Historical Society

To the editor,

Greg Tucker’s Remembering Rutherford column in the issue of Nov. 28 on the former Tennessee College for Women sparked some memories of  my own.

In the mid-’30s, I had a paper route for the now defunct Nashville Banner, which ran along East Main Street and the college.  All of its facilities and functions were contained in one building, and I had access to its entirety, including the third floor dormitory area, where I had several subscribers.  Since the student body was all female, this area was normally off limits to males.  Quite a treat for a teen age boy!

I well remember President Atwood and Dean Kirtley, and delivered their papers to their homes on East Main Street, near the college.

A yearly tradition was the Christmas pageant by Tennessee College students in the sanctuary of the First Baptist Church, my boyhood church.  Illumination was by candlelight.

Sometime during this time frame, the congregation of the church had to vacate its premises due to inability to retire debt.  The invitation of  Tennessee College for the church to hold its worship services, Sunday school classes, etc., there was accepted.

In due time, the debt situation was at least more manageable and the congregation was permitted to return to the church.  I remember a bond  burning ceremony, in metal barrels, along the sidewalk adjacent to the front steps of the church building.  This ceremony was presided over by  Dudley Fletcher, a local men’s clothier and a prominent layman in the congregation.

This venerable institution has certainly played a serving role in the history of Murfreesboro.

Mark S. Womack, Chattanooga, Tennessee

Greg Tucker can be reached at

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