Mid-South News
7:03 am
Fri May 30, 2008

Tipton-Rosemark Academy Tops Ten In Tennessee

www.preservethetradition.com

Rosemark, TN – Each year, the Tennessee Preservation Trust announces the ten most endangered historic sites in the state. Sometimes progress means tearing down history. But not so fast, say some who attended school in Rosemark. Today, the Tennessee Preservation Trust announced its Ten In Tennessee list of critically endangered historic sites. Number two on the list is the Rosemark School, located in northern Shelby County and built in 1912.

The Rosemark School is one of the last historic buildings still standing in rural northern Shelby County. There are a few churches left. Two stores were demolished in the past two decades.

Just two weeks ago, the building was still used as a high school by the Tipton-Rosemark Academy.

It's a landmark of the community, said Mark Davidson, who grew up in the shadow of the school.

It's a large building, built of brick, wood floors, and tall paned windows that allow light to pour into each classroom. Over the years, a cafeteria and gym has been added. At one point in time, there were separate entrances for the boys and girls.

Generations of the Davidson family have both attended and taught at the school. Now his children spend their school days at Tipton-Rosemark Academy.

As the seniors were readying for graduation, the school board sent a letter to alum and parents telling them that the school was slated for demolition in early June.

Davidson, and other alums Molly McCalla Hampton and Shirley Williams Lowe, who also taught and whose granddaughter now attends were outraged. They contacted the board and the Tennessee Preservation Trust to save the building.

And today, the Tennessee Preservation Trust listed it as one of the most endangered sites in the state. The board says in order to save the building, the community must raise $200,000 by June 30th.

Jim Craig, Tipton-Rosemark Academy Board Chairman, who graduated from the academy in 1980, says he'd like to see the site turned into a Fine Arts Center for the community.

Both the board and community members of Rosemark believe they can raise the money to save the Rosemark School, thus continuing its legacy.

For more information about the Tipton-Rosemark Academy and to help, go to www.preservethetradition.com.