Flames destroy Fleming-Neon High
State school-men coming Friday to discuss future plans for students
The 10-room Fleming-Neon High School was destroyed by fire Wednesday night, February 11, 1958, leaving 380 high school pupils without a place to go to school.
The fire was discovered in the teachers’ lounge at the school about 6 p.m. Firemen from Fleming and Neon, Jenkins and Whitesburg fought the flames for several hours but were unable to save any portion of the building.
County School Superintendent W.B. Hall said today he will meet Friday with representatives of the State Department of Education in an attempt to find some place to send the Fleming-Neon students the remainder of the year.
Hall said he did not know just what could be worked out. He said there are three or four possibilities. One would be to hold double-shift classes in the Fleming-Neon grade school, with grade pupils attending class half days and high school pupils the other half.
Other possibilities include the use of the old Fleming Hospital building or the office building or store building of the old Elkhorn Coal Corp.
Hall said that none of the suggested solutions would be entirely satisfactory. He said quite a bit of work would have to be done on the store, hospital or office buildings before any could be used. And, he added, double-shifting in the grade school building would be hard for everyone concerned since classes would have to run to about 7:00 or 7:30 o’clock at night.
All the various possibilities will be explored tomorrow when a delegation of state officials arrives from Frankfort, Hall said.
The school building situation in the Fleming-Neon area already had been complicated by the fact that the six-room Seco Grade School burned down a few weeks ago. Many Seco pupils have since been going to school in the Fleming- Neon Grade building. Both burned-out buildings were among the best in the county.
All of the Fleming-Neon High School records for the current year were destroyed by the fire. However, Hall said that records from previous years are on file in Whitesburg.
Some equipment from the home economics department was the only thing saved from the flames. The fire could be seen for several miles and attracted a large crowd of onlookers. Efforts to fight the blaze were hampered by frozen water supplies.
Cause of the fire has not been determined, but firemen ruled out the possibility of arson.
The class schedule that was finally decided on was for the grade school students to attend classes in the grade school building from 8:00 until 12:00 Monday through Saturday and the high school students would attend from 12:00 until 6:00 Monday through Friday. New school dedication held February 11, 1960
The building was given final inspection by the Letcher County Board of Education from the contractor, J. Marcus Jones, of Morristown, Tennessee. The building was designed by Architect D.E. Perkins, Harlan. H.B. Reedy Co., Whitesburg, installed the plumbing.
The new building is of concrete block and brick veneer construction at an overall cost of about $ 200,000. It replaces a building which burned last February. There are 14 classrooms and a library in the two-story rectangular building. The classrooms include a modern science and home economic laboratory. Our Principal is Mr. Roy Reasor. The faculty consists of Mrs. Lillian Webb and Mrs. Ruby Adams, teachers of English; Gary Yonts, mathematics; Charles Stallard, social studies; D.T. Craft, mathematics; Sara C. Webb, science; Mrs. Margaret Penny, home economics; James Waddell, English. Mrs. Sue Blair, librarian; Jack Hall and Robert Atkins, physical education; William Banks, commerce; Russell Walkup, science; Harold Brewer, music; James Amburgey, social studies; Louie Martin, guidance counselor and Miss Peggy Collins, secretary to the principal. Bus drivers for the school are Harrison Salyers, R.B. Meade, Archie Meade, James Hampton, Virdie Boston and R.H. Welch, Jr.
Members of the first class to graduate from the new Fleming-Neon High were: Louise Baker, Cassie Sue Belcher, Freddy Bentley, Marvin Lynn Collins, Ruby Nell Fleming, Douglas M. Hall, Verling Hall, Kenneth Harlow, Gary Herron, Goldie Hunter, Clester Isaacs, Linda Sue Kincer, Esther King, Michael Kunst, Thomas Little, Edna Claudine Madison, Bobby Joe Pass, Carolyn Sue Pass, Patricia Patrick, Jane Anne Quillen, Madonna Quillen, Roger Rudd, Jerry Stephens, Elberta Webb, Frances Webb and Jesse Wright.
(The above articles from the 1958 and 1960 Mountain Eagles)