Historic Structures

Galen Elementary School, Galen Tennessee

Date added: August 2, 2022 Categories: Tennessee School

Galen School was originally built to serve as a two year high school for the county. During this year (1928) a two year feeder high school was taught in the Antioch Church house in the community of Galen, by Mr. Lewis Banly. The four room building was built at Galen in 1928 and 1929, and opened in August of 1929 with one room for the first four grades, one for 5,6,7,& 8th, one for grade 9 and one for grade 10. The building was not used for a high school but used for an elementary school until about 1960.

When the first sanitation officers were appointed for the county the Galen School was a forerunner in sanitation. The old dipper water bucket method of dispensing water was replaced by a hand pump at the well. A concrete dispenser was built to hold an iron pipe with a half dozen holes placed in the pipe. When the pump was pumped the water was forced through the iron pipe, the water spurted up through the holes in the pipe and about 6 students could drink without having to drink in a unsanitary manner. The first hot lunch program for a rural school in Macon County was started in 1941 at the Galen School.

Since closing the school in 1960 the building has been a community center and a voting precinct. Home Demonstration clubs also use the building for meetings.

Building Description

Located on corner of Galen and Tucker Roads in the ninth civil district of Macon County, the Galen School was built between 1928 - 1929. The Galen four room school was built by Jimmy Bohanon, a local builder who constructed several local schools for Macon County. Galen School is a stock state plan for a two year high school with grade school. However, Galen was never used as a high school. Galen School is a local variation of plan 3-B the Building Plans For Rural School House, 1928 edition.

The Galen School has a side facing metal gable roof and a small box cornice with frieze board. The school is sided with weatherboard with corner boards. The entire structure has a flushboard water table above the dressed stone foundation.

The east (front) facade of the school has a central one story projecting portico supported by two square posts. Located beneath the pedimented portico is a recessed entryway with a stylized segmental arched opening. The recessed entry area is decorated with simple baseboards, vertical beaded board wainscotting, and horizontal beaded board walls above the simple molded chair rail. The door is a simple three paneled wood door. Flanking the central portico are banks of five nine-over-nine wooden double-hung sash windows, protected by simple board shutters.

The south elevation has a gable end with frieze and two rectangular louvered attic vents. There is a pair of small six-over-six double-hung sash windows, covered with plain board shutters. These windows represent the variation in State Plan number 3-B. In the state plan a door exists at this end of the building. The Macon Countians made a change with the interior plan to create a small "teachers room." To provide light for the room, two windows were placed high up in the elevation to act like transom light and to provide air circulation.

The weatherboard siding on west elevation has corner boards and a water table. There are two banks of six nine-over-nine wooden double hung sash windows, protected by plain board shutters similar to those on the facade.

The north elevation is a plain weatherboarded side except for a pair of rectangular louvered attic vents. The elevation has a water table, corner boards, and frieze board like the rest of the structure.

The interior of the Galen School is consistent through out. It possess beaded board ceilings running north to south, the walls are horizontal beaded board above a simple molded chair rail with vertical beaded board wainscotting. The baseboards consists of simple wide finished boards.

Galen School has three somewhat equally sized classrooms, the front northeast, and the back northwest and southwest rooms. The north two classrooms are divided by a wall with wainscotting with standard three foot wide blackboards above the wainscotting. The two blackboard areas could be raised up into the area of the wall above, so that an assembly room could be created. All of the blackboards and weight system to raise the boards are still in place and in a semblance of working order. All of the classrooms have at least two sections of three foot wide by nine foot long blackboard. The three large classrooms have stoves for heat.

The area which is usually the forth classroom in the state plan is divided into three smaller rooms: a small classroom, a coat room off the entrance hall, and a teacher's room. The small classroom was converted into a kitchen in 1941. Access to the teacher's room is from the southwest classroom.

There is one small outhouse constructed at the same time as the schoolhouse and is located behind the school. The one story structure is a small square covered by a shed metal roof that slopes to the rear, with vertical board siding.