The Legacy of Western School

Western School in the 1960's1949 Sophomores: Shirley Flynn, James McGaughey, Brice Warford, Bobby Gene Disponett, Eugene Corley, Frances Louise Sparrow, Faustina Hayes, Ruby Ella Bryant, Betty Jane Brown, Betty Jean Peach1949 Western Basketball Team and Cheerleaders: Delmer Netherly, Garnet Gritton, Curtis Grubbs, Walter Jeffries, James Brown, Curtis Flynn, Tony Shely, Billy Grubbs, Ralph Cox, Bobby Summers, Betty Leathers, Wilma Joyce Burke, Peggy Burgin, Georgianna Hahn

Although not known to recent Anderson County residents, Western School sits firmly in the hearts of many with numerous fond memories.  The school also served an important role before the days of easy transportation around the county.

Lawrenceburg and Anderson County were very different back in the 1920’s.  US 127 Bypass didn’t exist and small communities dotted the countryside providing the essentials for those living out in the county so they didn’t have to travel Lawrenceburg.

Dozens of one and two room school houses sprung up in these communities so children could get basic education.  But there wasn’t easy access to high school education in these areas.  The only option for these students was the only county high school at the time, the Kavanaugh Academy, which was located in Lawrenceburg.

The idea of having a high school in the western part of the county started in 1925 when Raymond Sparrow asked Ezra Sparrow about getting high school credit via courses taught at home by Ezra.  Ezra took the idea and consulted with Rhoda Kavanaugh, principal of the Kavanaugh Academy, as well as the superintendent of schools and the state department of education about the possibility of building a high school in the western part of the county.

Ezra learned that the school could only happen if the board of education could be convinced that there was enough interest in building such a school.  Ezra organized a large meeting at New Liberty Church that sparked off sentiment among the county residents to build a school.

Soon enough, he was able to get a class going in an old store in Johnsonville.  Eleven students attended this makeshift school before the board of education finally authorized it as an official school.

An actual school building wouldn’t be built until the following year.  Through the years, the building saw numerous additions and changes.  A gymnasium was built in 1936, a lunch room in 1946, and more.  The smaller schools in the area were also consolidated with Western, creating a school that served both high school and lower grades.

Eventually, Western would be shut down as easy access to schools in the eastern part of the county in Lawrenceburg made consolidation an option.  But the history of this school will live on for many years to come.

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