Enterprise School November 5, 1898.
First Row Left to Right: John Douglas, Charley Wood, Clabe Burleson, Hugh Douglas, Bascom Barnett, Huey Potts, and Will Held.
Second row L to R: Sallie Clare English, Callie Daniels, Ray Daniels, George Douglas, Lonnie Daniels, Ebb Murphy, Herschel Lancaster, Thomas Lancaster.
Third Row L to R: Herschel Wood, Betty Hekau, Esther Daniels, Florence Douglas, Susie Murphy, Ina Douglas, Naomi Nelson, Minnie Cooper, and Hattie Douglas,
Top row L to R: Cleveland English, Ben Murphy, Will Douglas, John Murphy, Chad Murphy, John English, Buford Cooper, Webb Cooper, and teacher Will McLauren.
This framed news clipping today hangs in the Enterprise Community Center as a reminder of those pictured above who once were a part of this school. It was not a brick building at that time but a frame one. The building today has largely retained its old Spanish Oval twin doors architecture and the interior has the original ceilings.
Enterprise School November 4, 1905 - as labeled.
History of Enterprise School
A white frame building that once stood on "the Neal place." Near the home of George Douglas was one of the first two schools on record in the Enterprise Community, according to a 1980 research paper by Mt. Pleasant High School student Kay English and an article contributed by Professor J. W. Higgins to the April 15., 1938 Mt. Pleasant Record.
About the same time there was another school on Spencer Hill, Higgins noted.
One of the first teachers in the frame building was "Miss Ina" Douglas, Mrs. Laurie Dawson said in an interview reported by English. Miss Ina lived about a mile away. Every morning she walked to school, and every evening she walked back home. Though she was offered rides from time to time after the advent of the automobile, she never accepted.
One of her former students in the frame school house was T. Y. English, later known in the community as Captain English, and in succeeding years, Miss Ina taught his children and his grandchildren.
The frame building burned in 1914, and Capt. English promptly took the lead in a successful effort to build a replacement and combine its students with those attending the Spencer Hill School of which was being used as a dwelling as late as 1932.
Though the county court contributed some money for the project, it was up to the community to raise the balance needed for the school, and the people also donated building materials and labor.
A site was purchased from J. D. Barnett, and a brick mason company, J. E. Barnett and Son, in Florence, Ala., was hired to work on the school. While the masons were in Enterprise they stayed in English's home, which was opposite from the construction site.
As far as Higgins could determine, the three room, $7,000 building completed in 1915 was the first rural consolidated school (grades one through 12) and would have been the first brick grade school in the county.
Water was available from a nearby well equipped with a hand pump, and toilets for students were separate from the main building, according to a 1980 research paper by Mt. Pleasant High School student Brenda Nolen, who interviewed Edna Pruitt.
J. T. Stamps was the first principal, and he served for two years.
Apparently, in the early third of the 20th Century, mostly unmarried females were hired as teachers, though at least one male teacher is on record and it appears it was customary for the women to give up their positions at the end of the school year if they were married.
The faculty consisted of two to three teachers for the most of the life of Enterprise School, but in some years there were as many as six. Albert A. Roberson is known to have taught in the Enterprise School for the years, 1922, 1923 & 1924 . His daughter Ann Roberson, Schleusner even today 4/7/07 has the certificates for each year.
In 1922, Capt. English spearheaded a campaign to enlarge the school, and community residents contributed enough money to add a fourth room and a hot air furnace, Nolen wrote. They also pitched in to help excavate a basement for the furnace and a small lunchroom.
About this time, Enterprise School had a large auditorium and a library that contained 500 volumes, but the playground had no equipment. Students worked at 20 single and 50 double desks.
Pruitt recalled girls had to wear dresses that fell below their knees, and if a girl wore pants to school, she was promptly sent home to put on a dress.
Misbehavior was punished by paddling, staying after school or a swat on the hand with a ruler, she added.
Later, Enterprise School was reduced to a junior high school, then to an eighth grade grammar school. The nearest junior high and high schools were in Mt. Pleasant, but few Enterprise children attended them after graduating from the eighth grade because there was no transportation system between the two communities for students.
Captain English took the initiative in solving the problem, and temporary arrangements were made to ship students back and forth on the milk truck that operated between Enterprise and Mt. Pleasant, according to Higgins. Occasionally students had to hitch rides on hay wagons.
"At the present time (1938) the children are brought to school in modern school buses which are a credit to any community," the professor wrote. "One of these in an all-steel body."
In 1922 Enterprise had three teachers and 210 students. In the 1927-28 school year, enrollment dropped to 115 , and the next year it had fallen to 85. The decline continued next year; only 66 students were in the school. Enrollment began to rise again in the 1930s. In 1938 there were 125 pupils.
However, the decline resumed later, and in the 1957-1958 school year there were only 53 students. At the end of that year Enterprise School was closed, according to English's paper, and the community children were bused to Mt. Pleasant.
Another major factor in the demise of the school was the difficulty of finding the teachers willing to commute to Enterprise or to move to the community.
After the school closed it was converted into a community center, which is still in use today.
This short Enterprise School History appears on the wall in a frame in the Enterprise Community Center. Revised to include teacher Albert A Roberson history, donated by Ann Roberson Schleusner 4/7/2007
Photo & labels were all published in the Columbia Herald at one time.
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