GROVE HIGH SCHOOL HISTORY
|HISTORY OF GROVE HIGH SCHOOL
1906 - 1969
In the year 1906 Dr. E. W. Grove, manufacturer of Grove's Tasteless Chill
Tonic, proposed to the people of Henry County that he would endow a high
school with $80,000.00, five per cent interest bearing bonds on condition that the County provide ample buildings and grounds and make tuition free to all high school students and teachers in the county. To this end the City Council of Paris contributed about $12,000.00 and the Quarterly Court, fiscal, appropriated about $34,000.00.
June 26, 1906, saw the laying of the cornerstone with appropriate ceremonies by the Masonic Lodge, as was the custom at the time. Friends present recall that a bottle of chill tonic was placed in the cornerstone.
The school opened in September, 1906, with the opening ceremonies taking place in the Circuit Court Room. The first classes were held in the city hall, two rooms being utilized, the Library and the Council room. Clovis and Ashley Chappell brothers, constituted the teaching staff for the first half of the term. After Christmas two more teachers were added, Mrs. Sladen of Waverly and Miss Annie Edenton of Jackson, Tennessee. At the beginning of the second half of the school term 1906-07, the school moved to the beautiful $46,000.00 two story and basement building of gray pressed brick that had been erected on Jernigan Heights, a 171 acre campus given by Mr. and Mrs. T. P. Jernigan. To this there was added enough by purchase to make about 40 acres to be used as an agricultural experiment farm. Later a gift of two lots by Mr. John Sweeny has increased the campus to about 42 acres in size.
The first graduates from Grove High School were Louise Johnsonius (Mrs. Paul Dolan), and Fern Madole (Mrs. James Calhoun) . This was in the year 1908 and at the time of the closing of the school, the Rev. Lynn Broughton was holding a revival under a tent on South Poplar Street near where the First Methodist Church stands. At this meeting, on a Sunday night, the two graduates, Miss Johnsonius and Miss Madole were called to the front and presented with their diplomas, thus completing the first graduation exercises of Grove High School.
The second graduation was held in 1909 at the Crete Opera House, when a class of seven received their Diplomas, namely; Luther James, Herbert Morris, Paul Doran, Earnest Owen, Bertie Greer (Mrs. Charlie Watkins), Dessie Tansil and Vera Routon.
In 1909, courses in home economics and agriculture were offered. In the
summer of 1910, a two story basement and dormitory for girls, Cavitt Hall, was built by the generosity of Dr. Grove, Col. and Mrs. 0. C. Barton, Mr. J. C. Rainey, Mr. A. H. Lankford and other citizens of Paris and Henry County. On August 2, 1910, Mr. S. W. Sherrill, the superintendent, announced the dormitory for boys would not be completed in time for use at this term and that they had secured the beautiful home of Mrs. J. N. Thomason for a year. This home will accommodate 20 pupils. The boys can take their meals at the girls' dormitory with the Co-op Club. Boys are to furnish sheets, pillows, bed coverings and towels. The monthly charge is $1.50 for the room. A teacher will live in the house and have charge of the boys. "Who will be the first to apply and get
the best rooms?"
The commencement exercises for Grove High in 1912 were held on Thursday, May 23. The commencement sermon was delivered by Elder E. J. Barnett on Sunday, May 19th. The members of the graduating class were: Jewell Tyson, Dan Beasly, Alexander Johnsonius, and Misses Lemoine Anderson, Stella French, Minnie Jenkins, Alice Lampley, Corrine Lewis, Francis Martin, Isabel Morton, Johnnie Neal, Lora Pullen, Anna Laura Scates, and Edna Spicer.
Dr. Grove visited the school at Thanksgiving time in 1912 and the students
gave him a warm welcome out of gratitude for his gifts to them. On his return to St. Louis, the principal at that time, Mr. W. T. Robinson, received a check from Mr. Grove for $150.00 to be used for the purchase of fruits for the enjoyment of the students. For several years this check came regularly and fruits were placed in the hall on the first floor from six to eight weeks.
After his death, the Grove Trust Fund received a gift of $10,000.00 from his estate. Four thousand dollars of this amount was used in repairing Cavitt Hall after a fire that occurred in 1943. The remainder of this gift provided for the lights and hardwood floors in the main building; these were installed in 1946 and 1948 respectfully. On May 30, 1913, Dr. Detweiler delivered the commencement address at Grove High School and the county superintendent Joe Routon, presented the diplomas to the following graduates; Robert Tharpe, Hillman Moody, Evelyn Martin, Lottice Littleton, Neta Roseberry, Martha Swinney, Mary Spicer, Lucille Forrest, Frances
Sweeny, Daisy Leffler, Mable Blakemore, Louise Brown, and Louis Boerner.
During graduation week Harmon Hoffman won the Barton declamation contest.
Robert Tharpe won both the Lamb Scholarship medal and the Tulane University
Scholarship. Hillman Moody won the Cumberland University Scholarship. Neta Roseberry won the Agnes Scott College Scholarship. Evelyn Martin won the Liberty College Scholarship, and Lottie Littleton won the Southwestern Presbyterian University Scholarship.
The recent and former graduates met and organized the Grove High School Alumni Association. There were fifty charter members. The officers elected were: Robert Tharpe, President, Minnie Jenkins, Vice-President, Clyde McGehee, Secretary, and Charles Johnsonius, Treasurer.
Commencement exercises began at the Grove Henry County High School on Friday evening, May 21, 1915, when the Junior class entertained the Senior class. Saturday night the Browning Literary Society gave a miscellaneous program at the Dixie theater. Sunday evening at the First Methodist Church, the commencement sermon was preached by Rev. Castleberry of Mayfield, Kentucky. Monday evening Miss Inez Burch, graduate in expression, gave a miscellaneous program. At the oratorical contest on Tuesday evening Jerry Fitch won the Barton Medal and Miss Rubye Humphreys won the Johnson and Van Cleve Medal. On Wednesday evening the senior class gave "She Stoops to Conquer".
Thursday evening May 27, the commencement address was delivered by Professor Tate of Peabody College, Nashville. This year furnished the largest class that has ever graduated from Grove School. They are: Messrs. Caldwell Dumas, class President, Jerry Fitch, editor in chief, Grove Comet, Jasper Wiggins, Astor Compton, Harmon Hoffman, Marquis Alexander, Earl Littleton, Hogan Grable,
Wilber Hamilton, Misses Gwendolyn Travis, Valentine Cooper, Hessie Smith, Ray Bomar, Sadie Ray, Luneta Hagler, Mayme Ray, Inez Burch, Opal Keelcy, Rose Veltman, Mary Tyson, Francis Miller, May Lampley, Beatrice Bilsky, Elizabeth Beasley, Mary Jenkins and Tommie Highfill.
By 1915 the faculty had grown from 3 to 19; the student body from 80 to 438. In that year the school was admitted to membership in the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. Only 2 public high schools in the state have been members longer than Grove. One other public school was admitted in 1915. Five private schools of the state were admitted before Grove.
Two days after the Smith-Hughes Bill was passed by Congress in 1917, Mr.
Albert Williams, State Superintendent of Education, came to Paris and established the first high school vocational department in the State and in the United States. Mr. D. M. Clements, now Director of Vocational Agriculture in the Southern Region, Washington D. C., was agricultural teacher at that time.
By 1924, there was no longer a need for a dormitory, hence the first floor was converted into a home economics department; two apartments, for the coach and the janitor, occupying the second floor.
Until 1949, the basement of the building served as a cafeteria for the school.The Main building, designed to accommodate 250 students, was inadequate for the enrollment for twenty years. Many appeals to the County Court for funds to relieve the crowded conditions failed. In 1937, an inadequate gymnasium with two classrooms, the present cafeteria, was erected with W. P. A. funds and labor. Even though handicapped by lack of classrooms, auditorium, library and adequate gymnasium facilities, the school continued to do a high type of work and to prepare students for adult life. Finally in 1946, the county superintendent was granted authority by the County Court to have plans and specifications drawn for the school in accordance with the requirements of the State Department of Education. In May, 1948, after 3 failures, the Henry County Court appropriated funds for a $700,000.00 building program for the
County schools. Grove's share of this fund was $370,000.00 for the erection of Weston Hall. The thousands of young men and women who have entered Grove are grateful to Henry County's best friend and noble benefactor, the golden haired philanthropist who made Grove school possible and whose name it proudly bears, Dr. E. W. Grove, founder of our school.
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