Renovation uncovers a small piece of history at Waverly-Belmont School
We knew Waverly-Belmont had a lot of history, but little did we know some of it would appear by surprise as we prepared to renovate it. High up in the school's attic, Metro workers found a small pile of notebooks and a love letter dated from the 1950s and '60s. They were covered in coal dust, but otherwise in good shape. And what we found inside was as fascinating as it was illuminating.
For those of us too young to remember school in the 1950s, this is very exciting. What did they learn in those days? What did their assignments look like? Take a look:
Among the school work, we found some... ahem... not school work. There was a lovely letter (some might call it a love letter) from a high school student to his sweetheart, along with an empty pack of Beech-Nut gum. We can only assume these were taken up by a teacher during class in an example of "some things never change."
Waverly-Belmont is about to undergo a multi-million dollar renovation and expansion so it can open for neighborhood students in August of 2015. We can't wait to see what else this historic building has in store for us!
Here is a brief primer on the school's history, courtesy of School Board representative Will Pinkston:
The Beginning: Construction of the Waverly-Belmont building began in 1935 as part of President Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration (WPA) to help America recover from the Great Depression. Construction wrapped up in 1937, and the building opened its doors that year to 425 students. [The architectural style is a hybrid of Art Deco and Art Moderne, designed by the Architectural firm of Marr and Holman. This same firm designed the downtown US Post Office that is now the Frist Center for the Visual Arts.]
The first Principal, until 1943, was Mr. S.T. Johnson, and the school had a very active PTA. They organized chili suppers every spring to support the PTA, and they had a Christmas program every year in early December.
In 1942, students and parents conducted a “salvage drive” to support the war effort, and they helped roll bandages for the Red Cross.
In 1950, the Grand Ole Opry’s Minnie Pearl visited Waverly-Belmont at the invitation of the PTA President, Mrs. George Jones. We’re not sure whether or not it was the Mrs. George Jones. But hey… it’s Nashville. Anything is possible.”
Yes, anything is possible! We look forward to learning about our history and creating a great future for our Waverly-Belmont children and community.
You can learn more about the school and the dedicated parent group already forming to support it on the PTO website, WaverlyBelmontSchool.org. You can read all about Waverly-Belmont principal Kimber Halliburton here on Children First.
High resolution copies of these pictures are available for free download and use on our Flickr page.