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The  Tower   Building
Main  Entrance ~ North

From  1944 Grove Yearbook


Tennessee Trailings

History of Grove Tower is told


I happened to be in Commercial
Bank the other day, and saw on dis-
play the limited edition prints of the
drawings of historical sites in Paris,
being offered by the Paris Civitan
I was very impressed, and decid-
ed that since I had just done the ser-
vices on the early churches of the
county, I might try to look up a little history on the other buildings
shown on the prints.
One of the drawings was of the
Grove Tower building, and I knew
that Marly Ball had done an article
on that, so the following is a reprint
of hers.
This article was compiled and
mailed to The Post-Intelligencer by
Mr. F. Paschall Key. The photo is a
copy of an old postcard. (changed -ed.)
"Grove Tower's Design, Site
Inspire Admiration"
The Grove Tower building has a
lot going for it. One does not have
to be an expert to be struck with
instant admiration when looking at
it. Both the site and the design are
unmatched. It is one of a kind, and
there will never be another like it.
The chain of events leading up to
the dream and the building of the
school have been often recounted.
this article deals With the building
The man who was called upon to
design the building in 1906 was
Reuben Harrison Hunt (1862-1937)
of Chattanooga. He designed the
first brick Henry County courthouse. which was built in Tennessee's Centennial year, 1896. Hunt was 44 years of age when given the task.
He had already engaged in
in Chattanooga for 26 years,
starling at the age of 18 in 1880.
The Grove project came at about
the mid-point of his career, as he
was to put in a total of 57 years in
his field by the time of his death in
Hunt wisely chose to incorporate
a tower in his design. Any good
architect will tell you that it is easy
to design a building around a tower.
Many persons overlook it, but there
are actually two towers in the
To the west of the north porch is
a small multi-storied, hex-shaped
tower incorporated in the wall. It is
not a true lower because the eight
sides are not defined until it
extends through the roof, where it
is topped by a bell-shaped roof.
This little tower is a beauty, and
serves a real purpose, to admit
additional light and air into the
adjacent classrooms.
The main tower overshadows
the small tower, and everything
else about the building. It portrays
a sense of strength and stateliness
and lends elegance to what would
have been an austere building.
The northeast cone at the top of
the tower is the largest of the four.
One morning in 1936, students
coming up the hill noticed that this
cone had tilted dangerously toward
the south. As is always the case on
school grounds, when someone
begins looking up, pretty soon everyone is looking up. This problem
was brought to officials and soon
the tower was scaled and the cone
secured , in place.
Above the roof line, the tower
has arched windows, three on each
These windows definitely
define the style as Romanesque, a
style of architecture which developed in Italy. Builders there reached great mastery in this style by the year 1300. Above these windows is a small plain entablature whose purpose is to define the space occupied by the round "bulls
eye" windows. There are three of
these windows on each side.
Exploring the inside of the tower
is equally interesting. There is a
rough unfinished room in the basement. On the first floor is a room
that was used for the principal's office. In the second floor is a small
room used for Latin classes for two
We did not know it at the time,
but when we studied Latin under
Mr. Weston we were without a
doubt the only Latin classes in the
United Stales studying in a tower
of authentic Roman style. This little room was known as Browning Hall.
From the upper part of the tower, it is said that one could see the
Tennessee River. This could be
true, but it would have had to be a
very clear day, and might require
The north porch adds much to
the building. Its sturdy construction and beautiful iron railings give
a feeling of strength. The only
structural iron in the building are
the riveted iron beams supporting
the lintels on this porch. These
beams are truly antiques today, as
rivets have long been replaced with
Today, as stately as ever, the
Tower serves as offices for the
Henry County Board of Education.


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