PALMER TOWN HISTORIAN
Who would have thunk it? When this group gathered on November 14, 1927, no one could have imagined that the “new school” would still be a school almost a century later.
In 1927, and for years afterward, the teachers from Tracy City would come by train in the morning and go home the same way in the afternoon.
In the letter below, note Mrs. Johnson’s optimism about other Grundy County schools in five years. But lurking just beyond the horizon was something called “The Great Depression,” with economic hardships that brought America to its knees. Those who survived it never forgot and passed their remembrances on to children and grandchildren.
The following article is from “Mrs. Grundy Newspaper,” November 17, 1927:
“The new school at Palmer opened its doors for work Monday morning the 14th, and the auditorium was crowded with students, their parents, and friends, all very happy with the realization of a dream come true after so many years of waiting. Two hundred fifty-four students registered the first day and 269 the second, filling the six classrooms and giving the new faculty plenty to do. The faculty is made up of the following: Principal: Mr. Eugene H. Ward of Tullahoma; Teachers: Mr. Louie Berry, Miss Margaret McCurdy, Miss Louise Schulze, and Mrs. Doris Arnold all of Tracy City; and Mrs. Martin E. Conry of Palmer.
“As the building is not yet complete, this was a very informal opening. The dedication of the building will be some weeks later. However, a number of interested friends made short talks to the students and visitors. Mr. Joe Geary, the local board member and I were there to bid them Godspeed. The building committee consists of Dr. C.W. Hembree, Mr. Ted Starbuck, and Mr. John Barker who all made short talks with Dr. Hembree giving the history of how the building was secured, and Mr. Starbuck, the secretary of the committee, telling how they had used the money.
“The county owes this committee a large debt of gratitude for they have been untiring in their efforts to get for the county the full worth of the money set aside for the building. It is due to them and Mr. Henry Brown, the contractor, who put in most excellent material and gave his best thought, and to the Tennessee Consolidated Coal Company, which helped in many ways, that the county has secured one of the best grammar school buildings in the state. A description of it would better be left until it is completed.
“Palmer is fortunate in having a live Parent-Teacher Organization, for no school can do its best work until it has the hearty cooperation of the parents; local interest and initiative is imperative if the community is to have a worthwhile school. The P.T. A.’s were out in full force Monday, and short talks were made by Mr. Everett Roberts, Sr., the president, and by Mr. & Mrs. Raymond Swann. The evidence of the interest of the P.T.A.’s was shown in the fine new piano which is already installed in the auditorium.
“We are rejoicing over the vote of the county court at its recent meeting which will secure from the state the $8,000 for rural school buildings. If each community will organize a Parent-Teacher organization and will show a real interest in securing for its children the best advantages possible, Grundy County could reorganize its whole school system and have good buildings for all its schools within the next five years. The county board should be simply the leaders in this work. What is really accomplished will depend upon the local initiative and interest.
“Wishing the very best for our beloved county, Lilian W. Johnson, Chairman of Grundy County Board of Education.”