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Old Oak Hill School–a history and a hope for preservation

February 23, 2015

Schools have long been important to Oak Hill, operating and educating in the area since 1856. When the Public or Free School Law was enacted in 1879, James Andrew Patton, the unofficial mayor of Oak Hill, was elected one of the first Oak Hill trustees. He would hold that position for 40 years.

The “Live Oak Springs” school was replaced in 1865 by a log cabin: the Shiloh School. A wooden frame building on Williamson Creek replaced Shiloh in 1879. This one-room schoolhouse was enlarged to two rooms simply by hanging a curtain across the center.

Citizens passed a bond election in the early 1920s to construct a new school. J.A. Patton donated an acre of land to build Oak Hill Elementary School, which opened in 1923. Rooms were added to the school in 1933, 1953 and 1958.

After 50 years, it was shuttered when a newer Oak Hill Elementary School opened in 1974 on nearby Patton Ranch Road. Even now, memories of the old school remain.

Edith Hector Tyler told the Gazette, “My mom, Willie Mae Marx Hector and her oldest brother, Bennie Marx, were among some of the first children that attended the school. Mom’s youngest sister, Emma Lee Marx Johnson, and her future husband, Jimmy “Cotton” Johnson, attended the school at the same time.”

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