History of Hubbertville School


    1. New River School 1899-1923
    2. Hickory Rock School 1905-1923
    3. Pleasant View School (Jones School)    1911 or 1912 - 1923
    4. Hubbert School 1912-1923 

    NEW RIVER SCHOOL -1899-1923

    New River Community did not have a school building as such. They held school in their church building, the New River Church of Christ. It is known that school was held at New River from 1899 to 1923. It is probable that school could have been held earlier than 1899 since the New River Church of Christ was started in 1886. The New River Church of Christ has since been rebuilt, but it is still at the same location as the first church and school.

    Thomas Harbin was a teacher at New River in 1899. There were forty pupils that year in grades 1-7. Wilburn Haley was the teacher in 1910. Some of the other known teachers at New River were Ruth McCaleb and Eunice McCaleb.

    When New River School was closed because of its consolidation with other schools to form Hubbertville School, there was no bridge to cross the river for the students from-the New River Community. These students had to walk to Hubbertville School in the early years. Students had to cross the river in a small boat. They would tie up the boat until they came back in the late afternoon on their return trip home.

    PLEASANT VIEW SCHOOL (or JONES SCHOOL)- 1911 or 1912--1923

    The Pleasant View School was also known as Jones School because it was built on John Jones' land. It was a one-room frame building, and it was located about amile off Highway 129, across the road in front of Thomas Hollingsworth's house. School was held at Pleasant View from 1911 or 1912 until 1923 when it was consolidated with other one-room schools to form Hubbertville School. The school building had closets all the way down each side of the building. The closets came out far enough to make an open front porch. The building had two front doors and one side door. It also had a stage. The History of Fayette County Alabama, compiled and edited by Mr. And Mrs. Herbert Moses Newell, Jr. probably referred to Pleasant View School as the Jones School since Pleasant View was built on John Jones' land. The Newells history failed to include Hickory Rock School as one of the four schools consolidated to form Hubbertville School.

    There were no school buses at the time, and students had to walk to school. The ones that lived the farthest away would start walking and would be joined by one or more students at every house they passed. By the time they got to school, there would be several students walking together.

    A hand pump well was located near Stud Hose Creek where students had to go to get water. This was only a short distance from the school. An interesting fact about the pump was that it would frequently overflow. Drinking water had to be brought to the school in a bucket, and the students shared a dipper from which to drink. Node (Mc Arthur) Hubbert said that she was one of the lucky students who had a tin cup of her own. It was made of bands about one inch wide with each band a size larger than the next one. The cup was called a folding cup, as it would fold down until the top band would fit over all of the other bands. Her grandson, Mark Hubbert, now has the cup along with the buttonhook that was used to button up high top button shoes that girls wore. Node's grandfather McArthur was a shoemaker, and he made her shoes as well as those of many other people.
    Some of the teachers at Pleasant View were Raymond Hiten, Burgess Anthony, Mattie Ezell, Lois Wilson, Tolbert Wakefield, Vera Wakefield, Oscar Smith, Lonnie Smith, and Myrtle Herren. Mattie Ezell boarded with the John Jones family for a while, and she later stayed with her sister, Ruth Ezell McCaleb. Mattie rode a mule back and forth while teaching school at Pleasant View.

    Myrtle Herren began her teaching career at Pleasant View School in 1917. She had 80 pupils that year, ranging from the first to the seventh grade. Many of her pupils were as old as she was. The main subjects taught were reading, writing, and arithmetic. However, they also had history, English, and penmanship. School hours were from eight until four o'clock. One project conducted by her students was to raise money to purchase an unabridged dictionary for the school. They purchased a pig that they fed with scraps from the lunch pails of the students. When the pig became fat, it was sold to CM. Hubbert. The money was used to purchase the dictionary which was the first reference book for students in the Hubbertville Community.

    Among activities held at the school were Box Suppers and Sock Suppers. They were held to raise money for the school. Sock Suppers were similar to Box Suppers. A girl would purchase a new sock, pack a lunch in it, and sell it to the highest bidder. Boys would often try to bid on a lunch packed by their sweethearts. The two would then eat the lunch together. Many plays were held at the school. Students played basketball down in the pasture. They also played town ball, which was similar to baseball. In the game of town ball, the players had to throw the ball at a runner and hit him to get him out, or a batter could be caught out when striking a ball. Spelling bees were held each Friday. Students anxiously awaited these. The student doing the spelling had to start his word with the last letter of the word previously spelled.

    HICKORY ROCK SCHOOL -1905—1923

    Hickory Rock School, which was located in the area of Sand Springs Church, was an unpainted, one-room frame building constructed with boards and batten. The boards and batten went up and down, and a strip was placed over the seams joining two boards to keep the cracks from showing. The school building was not sealed inside. Planks were just laid up here and there for a ceiling in the top of the building, but it was not sealed completely. Long wooden benches made with pegs for standards were used to seat the students. The building had a belfry close to the front and a chimney near the middle of the room.

    The school was named for a petrified rock, which was found in the area near where the school was built. A hickory tree had fallen and had turned to rock. This was amazing to many people that a tree could turn to rock, and it was significant enough to cause the people of this area to name their school for the petrified tree. A piece of this petrified tree is housed in the Hubbertville School Library today as a part of the history of the community.
    Some of the teachers at Hickory Rock School were Raymond Hiten, Oscar Smith, Fred Wycroff, Hazie Airs, Lester Davis, Sally Holliday, Seddie Weathers, Mrs. Upton Shaw, Ida Rye, Jessie Reeves, Doris Griffin, Mattie Dowell, and Mrs. Allen.

    HUBBERT SCHOOL (or FROG HEAVEN) - 1912-1923

    Hubbert School was an unpainted, one-room frame school building located near Highway 129 about amile just past the home of Dewey Hubbert. The school, which served grades 1-7, was also called Frog Heaven. Many of the early schools in this area just went to the fifth or sixth grade, but Hubbert School went to the seventh grade. The persons who were leaders in getting the school started were Bud Hollingsworth, John Hubbert, Eckford Hubbert, Belton Hubbert, and Dewey Hubbert.

    Community members made up money to construct the building. Timber was cut, carried to the sawmill, sawed, and then used to build the school. The outside of the building was made from weatherboarding that ran horizontal. The building had two front doors and two sets of steps. There were three windows down each side and a side door at the back of the building on one side. The doors and windows were store bought. The roof was covered with homemade board shingles, and it also housed a belfry.

    The inside of the building was sealed with tongue and grooved, center-matched lumber. A big place was marked off at the front of the classroom and painted black to make a blackboard. After the lumber dried out, there were cracks in the blackboard, and the teacher and students had to skip over the cracks with their chalk. Students sat on wooden benches made from 2 x 12's. The benches had slat backs. The teacher's desk was a homemade wooden table.
    A wood stove was used +o heat the room during the winter. Parents cut and supplied the wood. The older boys would go out and gather up pine knots when the fire began to get low to supplement the wood supplied by parents.

    School hours were about the same as today, starting at 8:00 and turning out at 3:00 o'clock.  Since Hubbert School had a belfry, the teacher would ring the bell about five minutes before the class was to start, and students had to be ready to start school at the end of the five minutes. The bell was loud and could be heard for miles. It was rung for the beginning of school, recess, lunch, and at the end of the school day.

    There were about 40-45 students who attended Hubbert School. Parents had to go to Fayette to the bookstore to purchase textbooks. A report card was given to each student at the end of the school year showing if the student completed a grade and if he passed or failed. Many students often stayed in the same grade for several years until they mastered the material. There were no compulsory attendance laws at the time, and students attended school only when they wanted to attend. After students completed the seventh grade, they could take a test. If they passed the test, they could get a certificate to teach if they so desired.

    Lunch usually consisted of biscuits and sausage or ham, baked sweet potatoes, and fried apple, peach, or cocoa pies. Since several members of a family went to school, lunch was usually packed in a gallon bucket as there were no paper bags or newspapers in which to pack or wrap lunches.

    If the children needed to be disciplined, the teacher would send a big boy to cut a switch, and the teacher used it. The switch was called a limberjim.
    Some of the teachers who taught at Hubbert School were Jim Wakefield, Virginia Holliman, Carrie Reed, Jennie Holliman, and Jessie Beakley. Felix Hollingsworth taught a summer school there once. Carrie Reed drove back and forth in a buggy when she taught at Hubbert School. She taught for three or four winters there. Gorman Whitehead's sister, Elsie, who was a student at the time, rode to school with Mrs. Reed. Virginia Holliman was teaching at the school when a storm tore up the school in December of 1914. There was no more school that winter, but Mrs. Holliman came back the following summer and taught about six weeks to finish out the school year. The school had been rebuilt by parents and finished by summer.

    One or two school programs were given at night during the school year. These programs were called concerts. A play was usually presented.

    Church was held in the Hubbert School for several years when it was closed as a result of its consolidation with other schools to form Hubbertville School. John Hubbert, who had been going to church at New River Church of Christ, wanted a church closer to home. He started church in the Hubbert School building. In 1927, the Hubbertville Church of Christ was built near Hubbertville School, and community members attended church at Hubbertville. The first church building at Hubbertville was a wooden building. A New brick structure was erected in 1952.


    Hubbertville School is a K-12 grade school located in the northern part of Fayette County on Highway 129 near the Sipsey River. It had its beginning in 1923 when four local one-room schools—New River, Hickory Rock, Pleasant View, and Hubbert School—were consolidated. Original plans called for a three-room building. It was to serve grades 1-9. The Fayette County Board of Education decided that this school should be a State-Aid building, and they agreed to give to enterprise $100 to each room. The people in the community gave donations to pay the remaining cost of the building, and they donated labor to construct it. When school opened on October 8, 1923, enrollment was more than expected, and the citizens of the community donated the money and labor to add two more rooms to the original plans, thus making a five-room school. That year, school was held for five months.
    The school was named in honor of the family of Mr.  & Mrs. CM. (Curt) Hubbert who deeded five acres of land to the State of Alabama for the beginning of the school in 1923. Around the year of 1935, they also deeded 10 more acres of land to the school as it was enjoying steady growth. Mrs. Edril Hubbert McCaleb, the daughter of Mr.  & Mrs. CM. Hubbert, also donated land to the school when the Wiley Hollingsworth Gymnasium was erected in 1966-67. Three more acres were purchased from Mrs. McCaleb in 1970. Her son, Hubbert Steven McCaleb, also donated three acres of land to the school in 1984, thus making a total of 21 acres, more or less, in the school campus. Mr. CM. Hubbert was a member of the Fayette County Board of Education at the time the four schools were consolidated to form Hubbertville. He played an important part in the formation of the school.

    Another local citizen, Mr. Houston Haney, was instrumental in bringing about the consolidation of the four schools. He met with trustees from each of the one-room schools and visited families in the area, convincing them that it would be more economical to build and maintain one large school rather than several small ones. He was successful in his efforts to convince trustees to build Hubbertville School. The school was built on a hill across from Mr. CM. Hubbert's store.
    The local citizens of Hubbertville School Community have always been education-minded, believing that their children should have the opportunity to receive the best education possible. Their dream was to provide a school, which would enable their children to obtain a high school education without leaving home to board in some other town. Local citizens went to work and succeeded in making their dream a reality. They became the backbone of the school and played a major role in its progress and success.

    Twelve different principals have provided leadership for the growth and progress of Hubbertville School. They include the following:

    L.G. (Leland Govander) Cantrell -------------- 1923-24; 1924-25

    E.C. (Columbus) Herren ------------------------ 1925-26; 1926-27

    Clifton M. Kuykendall ------------------------- 1927-28

    Hollis Hiten ------------------------------------- 1928-29

    John Holliman----------------------------------- 1929-30

    Rufus Wiley Hollingsworth--------------------- 1930-1963

    Caldwell Hollingsworth ------------------------- 1963-1990

    Steven L. Whitson ------------------------------- 1990-1993

    William Raymond (Bill) Carothers --------------- 1993-1998

    Isaac P. Espy, Jr. -------------------------------- 1998-2005

    Morris Moore---------------------------------------2005-2006

    Timothy Joe Dunavant----------------------------2006-present

    When Wiley Hollingsworth became principal of Hubbertville School in 1930, one of his first goals was to make it a high school. He drew in students from adjoining communities and increased enrollment. Grade 10 was added in 1933-34, grade 11 in 1934-35, and grade 12 in 1935. Hubbertville had six teachers and 152 students in 1930. By 1935 enrollment had increased to 340 students, and the school had 12 teachers. In the first few years of the school, teachers were elected by popular vote, and many teachers only stayed at a school for a short time. In 1930, a Board of Trustees was set up, and they selected the teachers.
    Intermingled with the growth and progress of the school were two major tragedies. Fire claimed two different school buildings at Hubbertville within a five-year period. These tragedies seemed to bring community members closer together and make them more determined than ever to provide better school facilities for their children. On April 10, 1934, strong winds blew sparks on to the roof of the school from the river bottoms nearby where brush was being burned. The roof of the school was covered with wood shingles, which had been oiled to preserve them. Attempts to extinguish the fire were made by Chester Jones and others who were at the Hubbert cotton gin, which was located, near the school. However, they were unable to save the building, and it was destroyed in only a short time.

    A second school building was constructed by the Hubbertville community during the summer of 1934. The school had fire insurance on the first building from which $5100 was collected. This money was used to purchase a tract of timber that was cut and sawed. The people of the community provided free labor to build an eleven-room white frame building. The only paid help was the foreman, Wiley Faulkner, who was paid $5.00 a day for 51 days and a brick mason who was paid for seven days. The CWA and the ARA furnished 300 days of labor. The remainder of the labor was free of cost and donated by the men of the community. Over $3000 was raised by the community during the time that our country was in a period of depression. The new $10,000 school building bore evidence of the spirit of cooperation among the citizens of the school community.
    Just shortly after the completion of the new school building, Hubbertville applied for accreditation by the State of Alabama. One more room was needed in order to meet accreditation standards. Mr. Vester Hollingsworth, a teacher, helped to get construction started. Since it was still depression days, money was not readily available. A contest drive was started between the community members on the east side of the river and those on the west. Again the community responded. Leaders went from house to house to raise money. Since most people did not have money, citizens rounded up calves, chased down chickens, shelled corn, and gave items such as quilts, milk, butter, eggs, molasses, or whatever they had to sell in order to contribute money for the school room. Thus Hubbertville had its 12-room school. This enabled the school to become accredited by the State of Alabama in December of 1935. The County Board gave its support in helping Hubbertville become accredited by providing the funds needed for purchasing books for the library and equipment for the science laboratory. Mr. Wiley Hollingsworth and others went to Birmingham to purchase the required materials. This was the beginning of the first real library and science laboratory at Hubbertville as the previous ones had been meager. The high school has remained accredited by the State of Alabama since 1935.

    The second school building at Hubbertville was destined for a short life, as it too went up in flames, with all its contents, including the books of about 500 students on Friday morning, October 6, 1939. The flames were discovered about 7:00 A.M. in a vacant room. The janitor of the school had already arrived and was in another part of the building when the fire was discovered. Heroic work of citizens and students who had begun to arrive on school buses could not extinguish the blaze, and once again the school burned to the ground. Many of the bus drivers stopped their buses a safe distance from the school to protect the children who sat on the buses and cried while they watched their new school building burn to the ground. Many of these students said that this was one of the saddest memories of their lives. Miss Ruth Perry, a teacher at Hubbertville at that time, had luckily arrived at school on that tragic morning ahead of her principal. Through some extraordinary effort, which she was unable to explain, Miss Perry managed to drag a four-drawer file cabinet from the burning building—thus saving the student records from the fire. Some football material was also saved.
    For the third time, the people in the community went to work to build another school building. Under the leadership of Bruce Harkins, Fayette County Superintendent of Education, and with the cooperation of the Fayette County Board of Education, a modern designed, split-level, brick structure was erected during 1940-41. This building, which still stands today, was the most modern school building in Fayette County at that time.

    A large portion of the funds needed to build this school came from a WPA Federal Grant. With the help of Fayette County Probate Judge, J.M. Moore and Chester Jones, Hubbertville School Board Member, Principal Wiley Hollingsworth made a joint application with the Fayette County Board of Education through the U.S. Senator from Mississippi for a WPA Grant. Circumstances were favorable and the school received a WPA Grant of more than $46,000. In their November 1939 meeting, the Fayette County Board of Education expressed their responsibility in helping to rebuild a school at Hubbertville. The County of Fayette issued a sale of $50,000 Capital Outlay Warrants for this purpose.

    The families of the community also provided cooperation in rebuilding the school. Each teacher at Hubbertville at that time made a cash donation in an effort to provide financial help toward completion of the school. Mr. CM. Hubbert matched the money donated by the faculty. He also paid for some of the labor for the digging of ditches and drain lines. About forty community residents worked for fifty cents a day to help rebuild the school. Attempts were made to relocate the school on another site when the second school building burned, but it was decided to rebuild in the same location. It took two years to complete the building of the present school.

    Mr. Early C. Wilson served as supervisor of construction over the entire job of rebuilding the school, and Robert T. Black from Fayette served as foreman over the WPA construction group. Van Burns did the plumbing. Vaughn McCaleb, one of the workers, drove a truck to Birmingham and hauled the oak lumber used to floor the school building. He and Grady Hubbert, another worker, were the only two workers who had enough nerve to put up the steel beams that were, used in the school auditorium.

    During the two years required to build the third school, elementary classes were held in local homes and churches. High school students attended classes in the new school buses that the county had purchased in that same year of 1939. Butane gas heaters were installed in the buses to provide heat during the winter. These were the first real school buses in Fayette County as earlier buses were homemade buses made from trucks owned and driven by private individuals. Fayette County had purchased 40 school buses in 1939 and was truly a pioneer in the operation of county owned school buses. Only one other county in the United States, and that was in California, had purchased the same number of buses (40) owned by the county for transportation of school children at that time. School officials came from everywhere to see Fayette County's system of transportation for school children.

    Wiley Hollingsworth was responsible for establishing the first Athletic Department at Hubbertville. L.E. Hutchenson was the first football coach. Mr. Hutchenson said that none of the boys had ever played football before. They played in CM. Hubbert's cow pasture. Basketball has also been a favorite sport at Hubbertville. During early years, students played on outdoor basketball courts. Old pictures of basketball teams in the early history of the school show the outdoor basketball goal posts and the outdoor restrooms. Indoor basketball and indoor restrooms were not available at Hubbertville School until the third school building was erected. The following Hubbertville athletic teams have won 1-A State Tournaments: 1948 Boys' Basketball, 1980 Girls' Basketball, 1989 Girls' Basketball, 1989 Girls' Softball, 1990 Girls' Softball, and 1991 Girls'Softball.

    Additional buildings have been constructed at Hubbertville School in order to improve the school program. In 1950, a separate vocational agriculture shop and classroom were constructed. In 1959, Mary Hubbert Hall was constructed to be used at the discretion of the school administration for a health center, for social events, and school activities. Maxine Rutledge, Edril McCaleb, and Carrie McCaleb were instrumental in getting Mary Hubbert Hall constructed. A football stadium was started in 1948. 

    Hubbertville School has been fortunate to have two-long term principals. In addition to Rufus Wiley Hollingsworth who served 33 years as principal from 1930-1963, Caldwell Hollingsworth, a teacher and coach at Hubbertville, served as principal of Hubbertville School for 27 years from 1963-1990. Caldwell Hollingsworth, a 1949 Hubbertville graduate, also worked to make improvements to the school, including the upgrading of the football stadium with new concrete bleachers, additional lighting, and fencing. He oversaw the construction of the Wiley Hollingsworth Gymnasium in 1966-67, the addition of a new lunchroom in 1973-74, the remodeling of the old auditorium/gym into the school's current library in 1974-75, the air-conditioning of classrooms in 1976-77, and the building of a tennis court in 1977.

    Caldwell Hollingsworth was instrumental in establishing such programs at Hubbertville as Advanced Placement and instruction in foreign languages and the higher sciences and mathematics. He helped to set up the high school's first computer lab. Under Caldwell Hollingsworth's leadership, Hubbertville High School became accredited by the Southern Association in 1969, the elementary school became accredited by the State of Alabama in 1974, and Hubbertville became accredited as a unit school, grades 1-12 by the Southern Association in 1974. After Caldwell Hollingsworth retired in 1990, he continued to be very active in the support of Hubbertville School. He also spent many hours working with the Local Education Advancement Foundation which contributes to the enhancement of the educational quality of students in all of Fayette County public schools. Caldwell Hollingsworth and his wife, Jo Nell Hollingsworth who taught home economics at Hubbertville from 1953 to 1989, devoted the main part of their lives to Hubbertville School. Both were known for their congenial, friendly attitudes and their willingness to help students as well as other people.
    Principals after Caldwell Hollingsworth were Steven L. Whitson who served from 1990-1993, and William Raymond (Bill) Carothers who served from 1993-1998. Dr. Isaac Espy came to Hubbertville as principal in July 1998.

    While Mr. Whitson was at Hubbertville, he established an elementary computer lab and computerized student grades and demographics. He worked with the community to build Hubbertville Community Park, which today provides lighted baseball fields for all ages, a walking trail, concession stand and restrooms, and a playground area. He expanded visitor seating of the football stadium and installed new metal poles for lights on the home side of the football field. He worked to implement Tech-Prep classes at Hubbertville, and he encouraged technology and computer usage in the classrooms and library. He was the first principal in Fayette County schools to implement innovative approaches such as in-school suspension and after- school detention for disciplinary problems.

    Mr. Carothers established a new high school computer lab and helped to set up a Write-to-Read lab for kindergarten through second grade students. He raised funds through donations to construct a dressing room at the football stadium for use by visiting teams. He also moved the elementary playground equipment to the Hubbertville Community Park and added new playground equipment. A new geo-thermal heating and cooling system was installed by the County Board and was ready for use in fall of 1996.

    The progress of Hubbertville School has been directly related to the work of an outstanding PTA which was first organized in the early years of the school, 1924. This organization has given major support to almost every project undertaken by the school. Without the dedicated work of the PT A, the program of Hubbertville School would have been greatly hampered. This PTA won the Most Outstanding Program Award at the 1983 State PTA Convention. Members voted some years later to change over to the PTO, but they are still just as active as ever.
    The Booster's Club has also been very active in supporting the school's athletic program and in providing thousands of dollars and hours of free labor in order to complete school projects. Another group that actively supports the school is the Hubbertville Senior-Citizens Club that also sponsors many outstanding projects. The Lions Club has also given much support to the school.

    The Hubbertville citizens of the 1920's, who dreamed of replacing the one-room frame schools in the community with a modern, comfortable facility where their children could obtain a high school education without having to leave home, have lived to see their dream come true. These citizens possess a tremendous pride in their school that few communities can equal or surpass. Hubbertville School has graduated numerous students who have become outstanding citizens employed in all walks of life. Students from this school compare favorably with students in the county as well as across the state and nation. Strangers who visit Hubbertville School and community most always invariably remark that Hubbertville is just like one big friendly family. Perhaps this is the one most important quality that has contributed to the success of the school.