gather to celebrate
By HEATHER BRYANT
P-I Staff Writer
Saturday was a time of celebration for Grove High School alumni and for those who are
grateful to the late E.W. Grove for endowing the high school, making free secondary
education a reality for county students.
The purpose of the Grove Centennial was to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the laying
of the cornerstone of the Grove Tower building on June 26, 1906.
A wreath was laid and a historical marker was unveiled Saturday morning at Grove's grave
in the Paris City Cemetery.
"Probably no single individual has had a larger impact upon the citizens of Henry
County," said David Webb, Henry County historian, of Grove, a successful
turn-of-the-century businessman who invented Grove's Tasteless Chill Tonic.
Webb explained a temporary marker was unveiled because the Tennessee Historical Commission
had only approved the text for the actual marker a week
before the centennial celebration. The permanent marker will be displayed soon, he said.
About 80 people gathered in the cemetery to hear remarks from Henry County Mayor Brent
Greer, Paris Mayor David Travis, Arthur Lodge, outgoing pastor of First Presbyterian
Church in Paris, and James Grove, E.W. Grove's great-grandson.
Both mayors read proclamations declaring Saturday as E.W. Grove Henry County High School
Centennial celebration day.
"He (Grove) had the financial ability to convert the fabric of his dreams into the
texture of concrete reality," Webb said. "His plans were laid in sound judgement
... to Grove, wealth was a tool for work, an instrument for making big vision
Travis said Paris would probably be a much smaller city had Grove not formulated his
famous chill tonic, and said most of the city's, funding more than a century ago was based
on stock in the Paris Medicine Co.
"His life may be an example to any youth with ambition and industry," he said.
Staff photo by Heather Bryant
James Grove, E.W. Grove's great-grandson, speaks
audience of about 400 Saturday night at the Grove Centennial
celebration dinner in the Paris Convention Center on East Wood Street
Grove's great-grandson thanked everyone who helped save
the Grove Tower building and those who helped in its renovation to preserve its history.
He and wife Dudley live in St. Louis.
"It's just terrific to meet so many Grove alumni," he said. "When he (his
great-grandfather) decided we needed a high school here, he didn't just do it half and
Grove said his great-grandfather didn't receive a great deal of education .
"He wanted other people to have a better opportunity than he had," he said.
He said that Grove liked to spend his spare time walking because it allowed him to think.
Staff photo by Heather Bryant
James Grove (left), E.W. Grove's
great-grandson and Henry County Board of Education member Tim Brannon unveil a
historical marker in front of the Grove Tower Building Saturday as part of the Grove
All of this thinking helped Grove to market his chill tonic to be taken every day for
nutritional purposes, instead of just a treatment for malaria.
Grove said this was a smart business venture for his great-grandfather, making the crowd
"He wanted to make everyone's life better," Grove said.
Lodge also began with a humorous note saying, "I thank God Dr. Grove was a devout
Presbyterian," since Grove paid for much of the construction of First Presbyterian
"Look at the quality of the people (in Henry County) ... and in part it is because of
the generosity of Dr. Grove," said Lodge. "He simply saw needs and he filled
them ... we now honor the vision of a man who so generously gave."
Another historical marker was also unveiled Saturday at Grove Tower and Masons from the
Paris Masonic Lodge 108 reenacted the laying of the cornerstone as it would have happened
100 years ago.
Tim Brannon, Henry County Board of Education member said, "We realize we have a
tremendous heritage ... and an even more important job of upholding the present."
Nocona Canady, president of Paris FFA Organization, said Dudley Clements was instrumental
in putting Paris on the map because he taught the first vocational agriculture program in
the United States at Grove High School.
"We have produced many community leaders, accredited farmers and business people all
thanks to the legacy and life of another great Parisian, Dudley Clements," she said.
Alumni and community members toured Grove Tower, Weston Hall and Grove School after the
A Grove Centennial social hour and dinner brought about 400 alumni and friends to the
Paris Convention Center on East Wood Street Saturday night.
James Grove told the crowd that his great-grandfather's greatest investment was the school
because it touched so many lives.
"You have just fulfilled all of his expectations," he told the alumni.
Bill Looney was the master of ceremonies and Suzanne Richter introduced the guest speaker,
Larry McGehee, who entertained the crowd with a speech about the legacy of Grove High
School. Mrs. Richter said McGehee, who was a member of the class of 1954, symbolizes what
it means to grow up in Paris and have the opportunity for an education.
"Above all, he, as well as E.W. Grove, never forgot they received their opportunities
for future success from Paris," she said.
At the end of the program, Looney told the alumni that their years at Grove "went by
at a pace that would make our children and grandchildren yawn.
"The only sad thing is that we can't go back and live it again," he said.
"The friendships made and remembered make it all worthwhile."
Webb said the Grove Centennial celebration was a community effort. He told the alumni that
some possible projects he would like to see happen include a marker for the location of
Cavitt Hall, a dormitory for the school's students, a permanent exhibit for E.W. Grove
High School and renovation of Weston Hall.
"Let's see if we can get those things accomplished," he said.