Progress: Salute To Murray

April 4, 2012

‘From the cliffs of old Cohutta’

Murray’s historic Rock Building restored to its original glory


The expansion

The Rock Building was the biggest building Florence Brackett had ever seen.

“I started at Cisco, with a two-room school,” said Brackett, who graduated in 1947 and lives in Cisco. “I thought (the high school) was the biggest building I’d ever been in. It was rather exciting. I thought it was pretty.”

World War II didn’t affect school much, she said. Some teachers left for a few years and later returned. Rationing of fuel never prevented Brackett, who rode the bus, from attending school.

“I didn’t miss many days,” she said. “If it snowed or anything like that we stayed home and didn’t go. We were all out at cotton-picking time. I had to pick cotton.”

Brackett wasn’t involved in many extracurricular activities. She was in Glee Club, and liked home economics best. She occasionally attended a basketball game, which cost 10 cents for admission.

By the mid-1940s the school was becoming more crowded.

“We had a full class it seems like,” Brackett said. “The rooms were full. I don’t remember being in any class that was slim.”

In 1949, a gym was built nearby, and the following year, four classrooms were added.

Taylor had returned from college with a bachelor’s degree in English. With her husband in the military, Taylor wasn’t always able to live with him. She would teach off and on at the high school for the next several years.

Arrival of football

It may be hard for some alumni to imagine Murray County High School without football, but it wasn’t part of the traditions at the school until 1950 when a football field was built.

“Parents and grandparents, they didn’t know anything about football, and they didn’t know when to yell and what to yell about,” Taylor said. “They were playing out in cow pastures (at some of the other schools during away games). They had to dodge cow patties.”

Taylor said she had seen football games at college and she and other people would help teach the game.

“It was a fun thing,” she said. “I remember they had no idea what a first down meant. I remember sitting with some of the moms and grandmas trying to explain what a first down and a second down was. It’s hard for me to remember much because I’m nearly 88 years old. It has been a long time.”

Though she was never a cheerleader, she became the cheerleading sponsor.

“I helped them to do what they do,” Taylor said. “I directed the senior play that year. It was a fun year. I started the next year, but my husband came home in December. That was the end of my Murray County living.”

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Progress: Salute To Murray
  • rock building1.jpg ‘From the cliffs of old Cohutta’

    Helen Taylor was a bit frightened, but still very excited to be entering Murray County High School.

    April 4, 2012 5 Photos

  • P-logging story mlh.jpg ‘Pretty hard work’

    Buford Witherow said his father told him he saw the remnant of a huge tree cut down some 70 to 80 years ago in the logging days of what is now the Cohutta Wilderness Area that defied imagination.

    April 4, 2012 4 Photos

  • wright hotel:depot2.jpg The Wright Hotel

    Chatsworth has the distinction of being Murray County’s youngest, largest and only “planned” city.

    April 4, 2012 5 Photos