Whitesburg KY

Moments and Memories of WHS



Can you identify these Whitesburg High School graduates?

Answers are at the end of the column.

Soliloquy of The Old High School Building by Nora Boyd

When you read this I will have been long gone. What the storms of many winters of sleet, snow and wind, a tornado, a blast from work on the new bypass have failed to do, the wrecking crew with their high-powered machinery will accomplish in a few short hours.

How well I remember the day in 1916 when the carpenters, stonemasons, bricklayers and others gathered up their tools and left me standing so majestically on the beautiful rolling hillside overlooking the little town of Whitesburg.

Back of me, over the hill flowed the sparkling clear waters of the North Fork of the Kentucky River, above me a beautiful hillside covered with tall green trees. In front of me, just over the gently sloping hillside stood the little town of Whitesburg. A small friendly town where most of the people had lived all their lives. There I stood so proudly, the first high school building in Letcher County with my many windows shining, the bricks of the walls glistening in the sunlight, and all my beautiful stone steps so perfectly carved by master stonemasons. I felt ready for the many students who would walk my halls, and graduate with honors from my rooms.

In the many years to come there would go out from my walls many students who would become doctors, lawyers, teachers and many more who would make names for themselves in their professions. There were many wonderful principals in the years to come, but in 1917 the principal was Paul Hounshell. In memory I can see him standing on one of the steps ringing the small hand bell to call the students in from dinner and recess.

In those days the Bible was used, and many times in Chapel there were Bible readings and prayer. Drugs were unheard of and sex was never mentioned in a schoolroom. At different times we had many interesting speakers. Once when Professor Squires was the principal, two of the speakers were “Chunk” Craft and Uncle Jim Collins who had been in the Civil War. One in the Union and one in the Confederate Army. It was quite interesting to hear some of their experiences.

Not many months after my demolition, while some of my bricks were still lying scattered on the schoolhouse grounds, a girl who had years before graduated within my walls lay upon her deathbed. When asked by some friends what gift they could bring her, she replied, “Just bring me a brick from the old high school building”, and until her death the brick was a cherished possession.

For some class reunions some scattered bricks were scraped, cleaned and used for gifts.

Perhaps as long as bricks from my walls remain in the hands of those who have walked my halls and have loved me, I will still remain a happy beloved memory.

Picture 1, Earlene Cornett ; Picture 2, Wendy Williams; Picture 3, Nikki Williams; Picture 4, Helen Fields; Picture 5, Whitney Cooper; Picture 6, Phoebe Honeycutt; Picture 7, Libby Fields; Picture 8, Adam Honeycutt; Picture 9, Charles R. Hicks; Picture 10, Charles H. Hicks; Picture 11, Randy Brown; Picture 12, Jason Brown.

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