The following letter was written by Alice Violett around 1998 at a request by Louise (Hood) Couch to capture memories of the old Mission Ridge School that sat near the Veteran’s Hospital. For more information, see the post “Rascal Ridge School”.
“In 1924, my mother began teaching at Mission Ridge. The school board gave her permission to take me to school, so at four years old I began my school career.
There were two rooms at that time. Mom had the primary room, 1st, 2nd, & 3rd grades. Mr. J.L.D. Hartwell had the other and he was principal.
The school was where the Veteran’s Hospital is now. The school was moved to give ground to the hospital about 1939 to 1941.
My mother taught there for six years, I went there for five. I never went to Mr. Hartwell. Before I was in the fourth grade Mr. Harwell retired and they hired Carl Jack as teacher and principal.
We had see-saws and a slide in the “primary” yard on the north side of the house. The house faced the east. In front of the house and yard was a fence. It was wooden and made by putting two boards together in a pointed shape /\. They made the fence level but the ground underneath was not level so in places the fence was very low to the ground and in places it was very high off the ground.
We had a game walking the fence and one day I fell astraddle the fence in a place my feet would not touch the ground. I still remember a boy running across the field to find my dad and have him bring the car to take me to the doctor.
Where all the houses are in Bainbridge Addition was Aikman Woods. Where Patricia Ann Apartments are now was a big red barn. Walter Feurer was road commissioner and he kept his road equipment and mules (I think) there.
Carbon Street up to the barn was “gobbed” (slack coal from mines). I lived two blocks east of Carbon on Copeland and the streets were dirt. If you had to get out, to go to town or something you had to take your car out of the gobbed part of Carbon Street.
From my house on Copeland it was an open look to the school. Sometimes at night you could see flashes of light moving at the school and mom and dad knew that the Ku Klux Klan were having a meeting in the school yard there.
About the time my mom had taught six years was the beginning of the great depression. The banks closed, the mines shut down and times were very hard. We sold our home, bought a farm and moved into the country.
I do know that after my mother quit, that my cousin Lillian Hudspeth taught one year there before. She married Carmen Dickey. She is now 93 years old. I don’t remember how soon after mom quit that she taught.
Venita White Miller taught at Mission Ridge after it was moved. She was teaching at Bainbridge and they closed the school to build the ordinance plant during WW II. They moved her to Mission Ridge and she knew absolutely nothing about the history of the school.
I remember lots about the school. All the good times, the picnic suppers, the last day of school picnics in Aikman’s Woods. One time we had some real American Indians, I remember one was named Bright Star. We made friends that have stayed friends until this day.”
(Written for Louise Hood Couch by Alice Violett circa 1998)