There was a time – long before this pandemic and its resultant changes – when September brought the first day of school.

Normally, Labor Day marked the end of summer vacation.

The swimming pool in Springfield was open that one last day. It would not reopen until Memorial Day of the next year.

Eckles began gearing up for the onslaught of selling spelling workbooks and manila folders. Community grocery stores all over the county had notebook paper and tablets and fat pencils for the youngest children.

Teachers from everywhere in the county gathered in the auditorium at the old Springfield High School. New teachers for each school were introduced. Joe Morris led everyone in singing “School days, school days.…”

And yes, Scripture was read and prayers for the new school year were shared.

So many neighborhood schools out and around the county are gone now.

The buildings may still stand, but no students will come there to learn after Labor Day. Coleman School, Cave Springs, Center Point – those are only a few.

Main Street School, located where the Center in Springfield now stands, is one of those schools.

Before Main Street School, there had been several schools in Springfield – Bell Academy, Liberty Academy, the Female Academy. There was a town school located on property belonging to Prof. Huey.

There was, however, no public school building.

Local historian Charles H. Love arrived in Springfield in the same month (February, 1897) that citizens gathered to request a school. He wrote about the process.

At the Courthouse, a petition was given to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen. It asked that they “Establish and maintain a system of high grade common schools in our corporate limits.”

On Feb. 8, 1897, the city attorney moved to ask the Legislature to issue “interest bearing negotiable bonds” in order to buy a lot, erect, and furnish a school building. The amount was $10,000.

The “enabling act” was passed.

At that time, Col. R.H. Bartlett was the representative for Robertson County in the Legislature. Arch B. Couts was direct representative and Joseph W. Byrns was “floterial representative” for Cheatham, Davidson, and Robertson counties.

The land was purchased from William McMurry for $2,750.

The lot was known as the Murphey property or the Braden property. It had belonged to D.P. Braden, whose daughter was the second wife of Col. Bob Murphey, a veteran of the Mexican War.

The lot faced Main Street and ran along 4th Avenue (then, Elm Street) to Locust.

In actuality, the lot, building, and fixtures cost $12,000. The Board had to borrow the additional $2,000.

Elected as school directors were C.C. Bell, John Y. Hutchison, H.C. Crunk, Ben H. Sory, J.E. Patton, as well as Dr. A.G. White.

Main Street School opened in the late fall, 1897. Prof. Huey was Superintendent.

The Locust Street addition was built later.

In the Eagle’s Eye is sponsored by the Robertson County Historical Society. Call 615-382-7173 for more information.

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