In September 2019, The Blount Countian reported on the placement of a historical marker established to recognize the location of the Holly Springs School near the intersections of County Highways 27 and 24. Blount County Memorial Museum curator Amy Rhudy researched the school through the county’s board of education and sought to have the location memorialized with a marker.
The research through the BOE showed the school closed in 1950; however, some contend the school was open for a few years after that. One such person is Calvin Butler, who still lives in Holly Springs and actually attended the school. His research uncovered records that, for some reason, were kept at Appalachian School and not the BOE, proving the school was in operation until 1953. He and his classmates in grades four through six were transferred to Appalachian when the school did close.
The records provide a microscopic look at the small Straight Mountain community. Butler was one of 15 students listed, five in the fourth grade, seven in the fifth grade, and three in the sixth grade. Also documented are the occupations of each child’s parents, presumably the father’s given the era. All but one listed their occupation as farmer, but two of those had second jobs. One was a minister and the other a bus driver. The outlier was the one parent who was a sawmill worker. Anyone interested in diving deeper into the records can do so at the museum.
As for the historical sign, Rhudy said the marker cost about $3,000 and was paid for by the Historical Society. She acknowledges the date of the closing on the marker is incorrect, but without a funding source, it will not be possible to replace it at this time.