Holt Elementary School & Union Hill M.B. Church

Stories & Photos

35.04778, -86.87639

Holt Elementary School & Union Hill M.B. Church

Union Hill Church was built as Holt Elementary School in year 1930.The construction of Holt Elementary was partially financed by the Rosenwald Fund, which contributed to the construction of 5000 school buildings in the South between 1917 and 1948. Rosenwald Schools were intended for the education of African-American students in an effort to ameliorate the effects of segregation. Built according to plans produced at Tuskegee University, the schools were designed to take advantage of natural light.

Julius Rosenwald was the president and chairman of Sears, Roebuck and Company. His philanthropic efforts led to his introduction to Booker T. Washington. It was with Washington’s encouragement that Rosenwald endowed the fund that bore his family name.

For rural youth in the early Twentieth Century, education and work on the farm were often competing priorities. Bob Swinea, a student in the 1930s, remembers having to balance farm chores with academics. “I would pray for rain, so I could go to school.” A typical day began with milking the cows at home, arriving at school on time (a walk of three miles), starting the fire, fetching the water from the spring, and catching up on the work he had missed for harvest. Agnes Bridgeforth taught as many as fifty students at a time at Elkton School. Although she supervised all subjects, English was her favorite. “I enjoyed every moment.” On moonlit nights, Mrs. Bridgeforth would take the students to Violet Swinea’s for popcorn and peanuts.

The old school building now houses the Union Hill Church.

on to Elk River Bridge >>

Location Details

Holt Elementary School & Union Hill M.B. Church

Dixon Town Road

Elkton, TN 38455