Uphill both ways to Lane Hill School

Published 8:02 am Tuesday, February 28, 2023

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By C.Y. Peters
Lane Hill School sits at the top of the hollow, and it was a good mile walk uphill either by Peters or Liberty Hollow if you lived close to the bottom. Snow back in those days sometimes hit three feet, and it rained many days in the winter and was very cold. Young girls wore knee-length dresses, often starched and decorated with lace. They generally wear longer socks and black shoes. Boys wore knickerbockers with Sailor suits, and garments inspired by military uniforms were especially popular.
According to research, Lane Hill School was erected between 1910 and 1915. It was built of stone, brick and logs. It began with well water and had 30 chairs for students of all grades. It sat on two acres and had two outside toilets. Heat was provided by a big pot belly stove that sat in the corner. Boys would bring in split wood, and coal for the stove. The school’s objectives was competency in use of fundamentals of learning; to be able to practice satisfactory relationships with others; vocational competency and Spiritual and moral values; and to provide continuous learning of opportunities for every child.
The daily schedule started at 8:15, with a daily prayer, and the pledge to the flag. Learning classes would go until 11:15 when everyone ate lunch, and would have some play time. At 12:25 classes resumed until 2:15, when supervised play activities followed by music and art until 3:05. Teachers’ comments on report cards would say something like, satisfactory progress was made in student relationships with each other as well as instructions involved.
As the years went on teachers changed classes and the daily schedule. Health and Handwriting was inserted as classes, but most of all the years were English, Social Studies, Arithmetic and Reading. The school was run by one teacher and in later years had two classrooms and two teachers.
John W. Peters was one of the early teachers. Stanley Morgan was the teacher in 1929; he would go on to become a basketball coach at Unaka High School. Teachers had a strict guideline to go by, to teach the Constitution of the United States and the state of Tennessee. They also had to serve as custodian of the school and open and close the school each day. They kept a roll with the student’s date of birth, parents’ names and what grade the child was in, along with their grades.
In 1931 Elma Peters was the school teacher. She had 42 students from grades 1-8. There were 25 boys and 17 girls. The students were made up of Peters and Liberty Hollow. Liberty Hollow could of been known as Forbes Hollow in early years. Students walked to school, some rode horses and some of the wealthy kids rode bicycles, but there wasn’t many of those.
Some other teachers were Irene Hart in 1934, Carolyn Summers in 1936, Mary Nell Haynes in 1937, Fay Taylor in 1940, Emma Jean Ritchie in 1941, Kathryn Williams in 1941, Elma Peters came back in 1942, Magdalene Garland in 1943, Wilma Richardson in 1946, Luther Boyd in 1947, Darrell Egli in 1948, Margaret Hardin in 1949, Alga Motychak in 1950 and Marjorie Peters in 1952. In 1956 Euclid Campbell, Dorothy Bowles and Robert Guy would be the teachers and Eugene Street would be the last teacher in 1957 as the school closed at the end of that year.
The teachers had full control on whether you would get to go to high school and kept records that they reported to the central office.
Some boys and girls did not get to go because they missed too many days or just didn’t pass the classes. Back then you worked in tobacco. Almost everyone put out a garden that had to have work in the spring. A lot of parents were farmers and the children had chores on the farm they had to do to provide food for their family, brothers and sisters.
In the late 1950s Lane Hill would put together one of the best basketball teams in the county. Most of the boys were big boys built from hauling hay, putting up tobacco and doing heavy farm work. They did not have a gym and had to play their games at Unaka School. They defeated everyone and never lost a game. They also had cheerleaders to cheer them on. They did so good the following year all athletes had to play at Unaka.
The school was remodeled and sold a few times. The Hoover Williams family lived there in the 1960s and early ’70s. The school building was sold to Henry Colbaugh in 1958, Hoover Williams in 1966 and Bobby Wilson in 1974.
Bobby and Judy Wilson live there today.

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