Cleveland, TN – A new history marker has been installed at the site of the former Allen School.
The old school location is where the City of Cleveland Department of Public Works is now located on Second Street SE.
"There was no plaque or markers here. It's a historic location and we were concerned that the school would be forgotten," said Larry Presswood as fellow alumni gathered around the new marker last Tuesday. They shared School and neighborhood memories with each other and with Mayor Tom Rowland, City Councilman Bill Estes and City Councilman Charlie McKenzie.
"Most of us were in the same class," said Jim Payne.
Some of the former Allen School students who have been meeting informally decided to raise the money to fund a marker. They got approval from city and Bradley County and began the project. The city installed the marker on the slope just outside the Cleveland Public Works office.
The Allen Grammar School marker reads:
"On this site in 1910 East Side School was constructed to serve as a three year City High School. The students then transferred to Bradley Central High School when it was completed in 1916. The school was renamed Allen Grammar School in honor of School Superintendent R. T. Allen and operated at this site from 1916-1973. In 1969, the transition to integration came easily to Allen Grammar School due to the diversity of the neighborhood and the students having been long time friends.
"Dedicated by the former students of Allen School 2017."
Jim Finley was a student at Allen and then taught there for eight years. "This is a historic and important site, " he said.
The alumni held reunions in the past at Tinsley Park. The group plans to hold another reunion next year. It will be open to all Allen alumni. Watch for details later, the group said.