June 20, 1988

Surviving trials of God and man for education

By Helen Weir

Not much is known of. the early grade school in Hoxie except that the location was west of the Frisco spur track, 100 yards north of the main line of the Frisco Railroad (now the Burlington Northern) and about 450 yards west of the Union Pacific (Iron Mountain). This location was behind the Boas Hotel on a ridge that runs through Hoxie from north to south.
The building was reportedly a "two-story red, brick, which housed the grade school until a new one was built about 1908 on Lindsey Street in the 300 block facing north. It, too, was a two-story brick building.

The high school

About 1920, a few young men attending Walnut Ridge High School visualized a need for a high school at Hoxie. Petitions were circulated by Earl Thomas, Cecil Jones, Conley Groves; Harry Belk and others and presented to the school board for action.
At first a two-year course was offered in the grade school. Mary and Marion Bassett became the first Hoxie High School graduates. Later more courses were offered to make Hoxie a four-year high school.
In early 1925 the school board composed of three men, L. R. Warner, C. A. Bassett and Ralph Lehman, set out to secure land on which to construct the high school building. After finding the owner, Mr. J. G. Richardson   president of First National Bank of Lawrence County, Mr. Warner contracted for a token sum to purchase four acres of land. Bonds were sold and funds procured by June, 1925.
The high school was finished and occupied the first of January, 1927. It was a two-story red, brick building.
That very same year, May 9,1927, the new building was heavily damaged by a tornado, which killed two persons. Also the former grade school building was damaged, its top literally blown away.

Re-building

When the grade school was rebuilt, it was made a single story gray stucco building, housing six classrooms and a music room.
The high school was rebuilt into one of the finest in this part of the state. It was a two-story red, brick with a full basement. The south end of the structure was the gymnasium with bleachers and a hanging balcony, and the north end was the auditorium, which seated approximately 640 in theater type seats.
The building also housed science labs, home economics labs, study hall and a library.

Fire destroys in 40's .

The new high school and grade school were both detroyed by fire in the early 1940's. After this devastating blow, one building was built on the site of the high school which housed all twelve grades. Two additional buildings for Home Economics and Agriculture were later built.
In 1949 when a large number of rural schools consolidated with the Hoxie District, two wings were built north of the high school for grades one through four. Later, another wing was built to accomodate grades five and six.
Salaries during the early years varied. During the time from 1925-1929, an elementary teacher earned $80 a month while a high school teacher earned $100 monthly. During the depression years an elementary teacher earned only $40 per month.
Playground equipment consisted of a see-saw, which accomodated six, and a "flying Jenny" , a contraption with a pole in the center and six to eight chains which were held by children as they ran for a good start and were lifted into the air.

Hay Day at Hoxie

In the early years the Railroad "Hay Day" at Hoxie School attracted teachers from Texas, Louisiana, Kentucky and Missouri. This was due in part to easy access by train.

Weir, Helen  "Surviving trials of God and man for education" Centinennial Edition 1888-1988 HOXIE, ARKANSAS. 20 June 1988