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THE OLD TUXEDO SCHOOL MAY BE SOLD AND TORN DOWN SOON

THE OLD TUXEDO SCHOOL MAY BE SOLD AND TORN DOWN SOON THE OLD TUXEDO SCHOOL MAY BE SOLD AND TORN DOWN SOON

RE-DESIGNED AND BUILT BACK AFTER A FIRE 87 YEARS AGO BY HISTORIC ARCHITECT ERLE STILLWELL    

LIKELY TO BE DEMOLISHED TO MAKE WAY FOR CONDOMINIUMS   

By Larry Freeman   

Rumors have been circulating for some time concerning the possible sale of the old Tuxedo School property. Reliable sources now indicate there is a contract for the sale of that property between “buyer” and “seller”. That proposed sale is now in the “due diligence” process...and if the sale goes through, the old school will likely be torn down and condominiums and/or apartments will be built on the property.

The old Tuxedo School property is currently owned b the family of the late Clifton Shipman. Elementary school classes have not been held in the old school since 1994, and it has formerly been the site of the Tuxedo Extended Day School which was joined with the old Balfour School about 2003 to create a new “career academy”. That “career academy” and the county’s “Early College” program have a new facility currently under construction on the main campus of Blue Ridge Community College.

The old Tuxedo School was built back in 1924...and it was later re- designed by acclaimed local architect Erle Stillwell.

After Joseph Oscar Bell built the historic mill that was the heart of the Tuxedo community in 1907, he and his wife formed a school for the children of mill families that in 1957 became the property of Camp Wendy Wood. And according to Henderson Heritage, the bricks  in that first school and later for the old Tuxedo School were made in the lake bed next to Green River.

According to old records, on April 12, 1923...the Henderson County School Board purchased 6.93 acres of land from what was then the “Green River Manufacturing Company” for $1,600. In 1924, what had been the Double Springs School closed and students were moved to the Tuxedo Graded School. Construction of the Tuxedo School was completed in 1925 and students began attending here in 1926.

That new Tuxedo Graded School burned on November 22nd 1929 and it was in 1930 that architect Erle Still contracted with the county to re-design the school. Earlier schools in the community, Double Springs, Cedar Springs and Green River Schools, all eventually consolidated to form the Tuxedo Graded School, which included high school until high school students began attending Flat Rock High School in 1935. Those high school students were later moved to East Henderson High School.

The late Theron Maybin, a true Green River icon, said of the school, “We were taught family values and had family ties. It was a real close-knit community”.

The old Tuxedo School property many years later was sold to Shane Shipman, son of the late Clifton Shipman, for $225,000 and it remains in the Shipman family. Tommy Shipman reportedly said some time back that he’d love to preserve the property, but he doesn’t have the money to do so.

Few details are available about this latest contract offer to purchase the property, and there is no indication how soon something might happen.

The old school property, one if the last historic old schools in Henderson County and one of the few remaining creations of architect Erle Stillwell, has been heavily damaged by vandals in recent years and is located on U.S. 225, which was the former U.S. Highway 25 through Tuxedo.

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