Tuesday, May 6, 2008

History of Parramore's One Room School

Parramore - A couple of weeks ago I mentioned this little one room school that still stands along Oak Grove Road just north of Parramore in eastern Jackson County.

A longer article will appear in this week's issue of the Jackson County Times and I thought you might be interested in reading it here as well:

Parramore – Along the side of Oak Grove Road just north of the Parramore community in eastern Jackson County can be found a rare relic of life in Jackson County’s early years. A historic one room school still stands, looking out on the old dirt road just as it has for many decades.

The Cox School was established during the 1870s as part of the early move to create public education in Jackson County. Originally located about one-quarter of a mile west of its present location, the little schoolhouse was located on land donated by members of the Cox family. There was a wood stove at one end of the building for heat and students of all ages sat on plank benches.

At that time, Parramore was a growing and thriving community. Located on the hills overlooking the Chattahoochee River, the community was an important riverboat port that grew to have a number of stores, a post office, sawmill, gristmill, cotton gin, blacksmith shop and several turpentine operations. The need for education was filled several of these small one room schools.
In addition to the Cox School, the community also had little schoolhouses at Oak Grove Church, Circle Hill Church and a number of other nearby locations. Only the Cox School survives today, a unique reminder of life in the days of one room schools.

In 1979, I had an opportunity to interview several students who had attended class at the little school. They remembered how the structure was sweltering hot in warm weather and freezing cold in winter. They also recalled walking to class with a baked sweet potato in their pocket for lunch.

According to their memories, some of the teachers and officials who served at the early landmark were Florence Worline, Ely Johnson, Clemmy Nichols, Floyd Allen, Louise Bevis and Estel Hart.

The school, along with the other nearby one room schools, closed in around 1920. At that time it was returned to the Cox family and converted for use as a kitchen on the nearby home of William Henry Cox. Using round logs as rollers, family members and neighbors pushed the little building to its present location and connected it to the house with a covered walkway.

The house and walkway are gone today, but the old school still stands. Despite its age and years of use as a barn, the little building is still structurally sound. The massive hand-hewn floor joists remain strong and the old plank floors, worn smooth by more than a century of flood traffic, are in good condition.

Talks are currently underway to further stabilize and begin a slow restoration of the structure, assuring that it is preserved for future generations as a landmark of the early days of public education in Jackson County.

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