Category Archives: Schools

Bradley School Campus, early 1950’s

Perusing the Bradley school yearbooks from the early 1950’s can be interesting in more ways than one.  Besides the people around whom most of the yearbook is centered, there are pictures of the campus at that time which reveal features and views no longer there.  Because most of these pictures are little more than candid shots, appearing in the yearbooks as part of a collage taking up an entire page, many are rather grainy.

The picture below, from the 1953 yearbook, was apparently taken from a window on the second floor of the south side of the old high school building, or possibly from the top of the slide on the elementary school playground.

090420 front yard to buses, 300 pixels

It looks southeasterly, in the direction of what most of the students of my generation would remember as the house of J. W. “Buck” Camp, Sr., and family.  On the left side of the picture is a small portion of the goldfish pond that once adorned that part of the campus.  A better view of that pond is shown below in a photo also taken from the 1953 yearbook.  The yearbook does not identify the young lady sitting in front of the pond.  The street (7th Street) behind her goes to the Bradley Baptist Church and on further east to the railroad right-of-way.

090420 goldfish pond, 300 pixels

Below is a photo of the old gym (now auditorium) apparently taken from the second floor of the west side of the old high school building.  Judging from the number of students on the merry-go-round in the foreground, it must have been a busy day on the elementary playground.

090420 Gym from old high school building, 300 pixels

The photo below, from the 1951 yearbook, shows the seesaws on the elementary playground, and looks north toward the Meek residence, which is now the home of Joe and Darlene Middlebrooks.  This picture would have been taken almost a full decade before part of this view would have been obstructed by the 1960 elementary school building on the north border of the campus.

090420 seesaws, 300 pixels

The photo below of the baseball field, also taken from the 1950 yearbook, shows the rather substantial stands which once were located on the third base side of the field.

090420 baseball field 3rd base bleachers, 300 pixels

And, finally, I find the photo below, also taken from the 1950 yearbook, most interesting of all.  It shows Miss June Colvin, appearing as F. F. A. Sweetheart.  What is so interesting, however, is that there appears to be an elevated water tank in the distance behind the vehicle on the right side of the picture.

090420 June Colvin water tank, 300 pixels

This photo also offers an good view of the west side of the old high school building.

Old Gymnasium, 1935, Part 2 of 2

Here are a few photos from the interior of the old gym, before it was remodeled into the auditorium it functions as today.

Just off the northwest corner of the playing surface of the old gym were two very important items.  First, the heater (even though the gym seemed perpetually cold and drafty during basketball season), located just in front of the door to the girls’ dressing room:

1959 Yearbook 039-1 B

The above photo was taken from the 1959 yearbook. These unidentified young men appear to be enjoying themselves.

[UPDATE 3/9/09:  I received an e-mail from Bruce Burton regarding the above photo.  Bruce says that Larry Tyler and Wynne Copeland Tyler have identified these four young men as, from left to right, Mike Burton, Freddie Lamar, Clyde Spence, and Mike Sparks.]

Then there was the scoreboard, which would now be quite antiquated, but functioned well enough in its time:

1958 Yearbook 037-1 A

As is apparent from the picture above (taken from the 1958 yearbook) the balconies went all the way back to the west (stage) wall, and the balcony on the north side was almost within reaching distance of the scoreboard.  The clock part of the scoreboard operated like an old-style stopwatch, in reverse, with minute and second hands.

The photo below, taken from the 1957 B. & P. W. scrapbook, shows the floor-level seating on the south side, and was taken on the occasion of a New Year’s Eve dance sponsored by the P. T. A.  The bottom of the south-side balcony can be seen at the top of the photo.

DSC02267 B

The photo below, also taken at that dance, clearly shows the relationship of the stage to the goal at the west end of the playing surface.  It was possible to sit in chairs on the stage and look down at the games.  Also, it was from here that James Drake took the action photo of Ginger Hamner contained in the 2/13/09 post on this site.

DSC02267 D

At the other (east) end of the gym were located the front doors (although usually only the doors on the south side were used) and the stairways on each side up to the balconies.   The photo below, looking toward the northeast corner of the gym, shows the “Rhythm Club,” and is taken from the 1957 B. & P. W. scrapbook.

DSC02234 B

The gentleman in the center of the photo, keeping a watchful eye on these students, is Coach Leo Johnson.

Finally, here is a photo, also taken from the 1957 B. & P. W. Scrapbook on the occasion of the Harvest Festival, which shows a little more clearly the relationship of the east goal to the east wall of the gym.

DSC02264 B

Old Gymnasium, 1935, Part 1 of 2

As mentioned in the previous post, the last school year that the old gymnasium was used for junior and senior high school basketball games was 1961–1962.  The first official game in the “new” (now current) gym was in the fall of 1962, with the Bright Star junior boys defeating the Bradley junior boys, 26–22.  (I remember watching that game from the bench.  James Simmons was the Bradley boys’ coach at the time.)

Back to the old gym, though.  In 1997, Frank M. Cochran, Jr., wrote the following piece containing his recollections of the construction and early use of the old gym:

“In 1935, the Federal government, through one of its relief programs, agreed to build gyms for several of the schools in Lafayette County.  At the time, the sawmill at Stamps had gone out of business.  The lumber company gave Bradley a section of tramway (a runway about 8 ft. above the ground).  The W. P. A. crew tore down the tram and ran it through a planer mill.  The government paid for all the labor, except [for] the foreman.  They would only pay three days work for any one man, so the Bradley School Board had to pay the other half of his wages.

The building was a 50 ft. by 90 ft. rectangle for the main part.  The studs were 24 ft. long and, diagonally between each four studs, another braced them.  The big studs were 6×6 and the others were 2 1/2 x 6.  The floor joists were 2 1/2 by 12, planed on the edges only.  The subfloor was planed to a 1–inch thickness.  The finished floor is of the best grade of pine.  About half is 3 inches wide and the rest is 4 inches wide.  … The roof trusses are made of lumber in a semicircular shape.  The overhead ceiling was installed after World War II.  It is of a Masonite-type material.  The stage part was 20 x 50 ft. and had dressing rooms on each side and showers downstairs on ground level.  The back room, called a kitchen, was about 12 x 30 ft.  It was made possible by a gift of $25 by Mrs. McGill.  No money was solicited for the project.  When completed, the cost for the District was $1,625, including insurance for a year.

The building was heated with wood until natural gas became available in 1940.  The electricity was all on one circuit and during plays, etc., it was necessary to have someone near the switch box with a flashlight and a box of fuses.  The light fixtures were aluminum wash pans, inverted with a socket installed.

The seating consisted of a double row of seats on each side, the rear row elevated.  There was a balcony on each side with one row of seating.  In the rear (east), there was a double row of seats.  The scoreboard used cardboard painted numbers and was on a very small triangular platform in the southwest corner, level with the balcony.”

Shown below is the front (east) side of the old gym as it appeared in the 1957 Bradley yearbook:

090220 Old gym front 1957

And here is a slightly different view, from the northeast, which shows the north wall and which is taken from the 1959 Bradley yearbook:

090220 Old gym from northeast 1959, 300 pixels

The east side of the old gym had two entrances, double doors on both the left and right of the center of that wall.  In the center of the east wall itself were two windows, under which a small window for the sale of tickets was located.  Below is the best early, relatively close view of that ticket window that I could find, although what group or class is shown in this view and exactly what year it was taken is unknown.

090220 Old gym front closeup group, 300 pixels

And, finally, below is a photo, in relatively poor condition, which shows an early, very creative use of the front (east) porch of the old gym.  It shows what is apparently a backdrop for a dramatic or musical production.  Note the piano on the right side of the picture.  Judging by some of the automobiles in some other pictures which were apparently taken at the same time as this one, this must have been not very long after the building was constructed in 1935. 

090220 Old gym 1930s musical, 300 pixels

The next post will be a look at the interior of the old gym.

Old Elementary School Building, circa 1930

In the previous post, reference was made to the disassembly and move of the Walnut Hill School building to Bradley.

The 1963 Bradley School yearbook says that the old elementary school building was originally built in 1934.

In 1997, Frank M. Cochran, Jr., wrote the following short piece on that building which places a different date on the construction of that building:

“[This] building … was built in the summer of 1929 to prepare for students added by the consolidation with the Walnut Hill, Hackney, Canfield, Arkana and possibly other small districts.  The lumber used was salvaged from the old Walnut Hill building, a three room structure built about the turn of the century.  The doors and windows were also salvaged and used (notice the transoms above the doors).  The walls were covered with beaded ceiling.  There was one electric light in each room.  The old roof was unusable and was replaced with asphalt shingles.

The southeast room was for the first and second grades with Ray Crabtree as teacher.  The southwest room was for the third and fourth grades.  This room was so crowded that most of the students had to sit two in a single desk.  Donnie Marie Cheek Collins was the third and fourth grade teacher.  She got married at Christmas and had to resign because of a rule that there could be no married teachers.  This was my room and was very hot on fall afternoons.  I think that [in] the first year, the fifth and sixth grades were in the northeast room.  After the first year, the seventh and eighth grades were sent to the high school building, [but] may have been sent to the brick building from the start.  After a very few years, the teachers taught certain subjects and the students moved from room to room.

In 1946, the State Line district consolidated with Bradley and the two north rooms of the building were added.  These were built of newly purchased lumber, doors and windows.”

This is how the building appeared in the 1956 yearbook:

 1956 Bradley Yearbook 009-1 A

And this is a slightly different view of the building from the 1961 yearbook:


The building has recently undergone a remodeling.  The photo below was taken earlier this week.  The sign on the right (north) side of the building says, “Bradley Head Start Center.”

IMG_0177 A

Walnut Hill School, circa 1910’s

Photos of Walnut Hill in the early twentieth century are quite rare, but below is a photo of the Walnut Hill School. 

Walnut Hill School, 300 pixels

This building was located on the northwest side of the intersection of what is now Highway 160 and the old Washington (Arkansas)-to-Shreveport Road.  It was probably taken on or close to what is now Highway 160, looking north.  Judging from the shadows and the clothing worn by some of the students in the picture, it was probably taken in the early to mid-afternoon of a relatively cool day, although some of the students are indeed barefooted.

Glynn McCalman, in his book Bradley Connections, says of the Walnut Hill School:  “A new building with two large rooms was constructed in 1900, and after consolidation into the Bradley school the white frame school building was disassembled and reassembled in Bradley.  It has continued to serve after having been expanded and remodeled.”  (More on the reassembly, expansion and remodeling will follow in a future post.)

At great magnification, the American flag in this photo appears to have six rows of eight stars each, which would mean that this photo was taken sometime after July 4, 1912, when the number of stars in the flag was expanded to 48 to reflect the admission of New Mexico and Arizona to the Union.

This photo is courtesy of Nancy McGee Ward, and many thanks to her for sharing it with  On the back of the photo is written:  “Walnut Hill School, Walnut Hill, Ark.” and “Photo belonged to William Alford (Dick) and John Blanton Martin McGee.”

Bradley School Campus, 1957

The 1957 B. & P. W. scrapbook contains many pictures of the campus and activities of the Bradley school, some of which are reproduced here.

Below are two views of the “new” high school building.  The scrapbook states:  “The new Junior-Senior High School building was completed at a cost of around $80,000.00.”

081201 new high school building, front, 300 pixels

081201 new high school building, side, 300 pixels

Below are two pictures of a building that no longer exists.  It is referred to in the scrapbook as the “Music Room.”  Mrs. Sigel Allen gave piano lessons in the east side of this building.  The second photo shows her conducting the Glee Club in this building.

081201 Music room, 300 pixels

081201 Glee Club, 300 pixels

And, finally, below are photos of three items on the elementary school playground at that time.  First is the slide, second are the swings, and third is the merry-go-round.

081201 slide, 300 pixels

081201 swings, 300 pixels

081201 merry-go-round, 300 pixels

Demise of 1930s Bradley High School Football

This past weekend, I visited with Mr. and Mrs. Dick Bishop in their home.  I asked Mrs. Margie about the story I had heard of the accident that ended the Bradley High School football program of the 1930s.  She confirmed the story and was able to provide enough details that I was able to pinpoint the precise date of the accident.

She remembered that the “bus” carrying the football team was side-swiped on “old” Highway 29 coming back from a game.  The “bus” in those days was nothing that resembles today’s school bus.  It was basically a large truck, with the rear passenger compartment framed with lumber and the windows covered only in poultry wire.  George Baker was driving the bus, and apparently he was not at fault in the accident.  “Old” Highway 29 refers to the road that now runs by the Arkansas Division of Youth Services Wilderness Camp.  It was Highway 29 prior to the 1954 paving and straightening of that highway.

Mrs. Margie was able to give an approximate year for the accident by remembering what grade she was in when it occurred.  She also remembered that the two boys most seriously injured were Basil Henderson and Ernest Jewell Hamiter.

The diaries of Della Cochran contain the following entries:

Friday, October 13, 1933:  “…Our football boys played Stamps at night.    
S[tamps] 21, B[radley] 0.  Last game for year for Bradley.”

Saturday, October 14, 1933:  “At midnight called F[rank Cochran, Sr., who was in Shreveport that night] to tell about truck wrecking our school bus.  Basil H. and E. J. Hamiter hurt worst.  Others cut and bruised….”

And thus ended the Bradley High School football program of the 1930s.

Bradley High School Football, 1930s

Bradley indeed had a football team in the 1930s, but I don’t know the precise year that the football program of that era began, or the precise year that it ended.

Below is a photo of one of those Bradley football teams, probably in the early 1930s.  The tall young man in the back row, second from left, with his left hand on his hip is Ralph C. “Bruz” Hamner.  If any reader is able to identify any of the rest of these formidable gridiron gladiators, it would be much appreciated.

Sunday, March 14, 2004 (5) A

Shown below is an announcement of a game against Lewisville.  A date and time for the game are given, but the year is unknown.  While this may appear to be a handbill which would be posted on a utility pole, or something similar, it is actually a small card about twice the size of today’s business cards.

Saturday, January 31, 2004 (73) A

It says:


Bradley Hi


Lewisville Hi

Wednesday, Nov. 23

Bradley Athletic Field

Come out and see the Bears drub the Red Devils in the last big game of the season.  Watch those Bears pull those Red Devil tails.

Admission 10 and 25c.  Time 3 P. M.”

– – –

The diaries of Della Cochran make mention of four home games in 1931 and 1932. On September 25, 1931, Bradley defeated Waskom, Texas, 27–0.  On October 2, 1931, Bradley defeated St. John’s, 19–0.  Who “St. John’s” was is a mystery. From the two 1931 scores, it appears that team defense was quite good that year.

On October 28, 1932, Hope defeated Bradley, 12–6.   On November 4, 1932, Stamps defeated Bradley, 26–0, and the Stamps High School Band made an appearance.  From the two 1932 scores, it appears that offense was a problem for Bradley that year.

As for the eventual fate of the 1930s-era football program, I’ve heard tales of a bus or auto accident which injured some of the players on the way back home from an away game, causing the cancellation of the remainder of the season.  I don’t know what year that happened, but apparently the program was not resumed in the following year.

Four Bradley scenes, 1957

Here are four photos taken from the 1957 B. & P. W. scrapbook, each showing a different view of Bradley.  Following each 1957 photo is a photo taken from approximately the same place and angle on September 23, 2008.

The first is a photo taken at the intersection of Highway 160, Woodruff St., and Crabtree Lane.  It shows Baker Bros. Garage (the “Esso” sign on the left) and Hamner Implement Co.  In the current photo, the Bradley Medical Clinic, with the apartment buildings in the rear of the photo, is now located where Hamner Implement Co. appears in the 1957 photo.

DSC02162 A


The second photo was taken on the Bradley school campus.  It shows what was then the gymnasium in the back of the left side of the photo, and the old high school building on the right side of the photo.  The “new” high school building is described and pictured prominently in the B. & P. W. scrapbook, so this would have been about the time the “new” high school building was constructed. It is possible that, when this photo was taken, the old high school building had been abandoned and was awaiting demolition.  When this 1957 photo is enlarged, 14 (!) buses can be counted.

DSC02219 A


The third photo is taken from the westbound lane of Fourth St./Highway 160 approximately in front of where the Post Office would have been located at that time.  The sign hanging from the awning on the right side of the photo, just above the automobile, says “Kennedy Grocery.”  The discoloration in the top portion of the photo is from the age of the photo, and not from a threatening sky.

DSC02290 A


The fourth photo is taken from what is now the interior of the Community State Bank, looking more or less east at the west wall of the Edwards Co. building and Fourth St./Highway 160.  Prior to the construction of the second Bank of Bradley building on this location, the Arkansas Highway Department used it as a storage facility for highway resurfacing materials and equipment.

DSC02273 A




Revival of Football Program, 1963

Football season is here and it’s a good time to look back at some Bradley football pioneers.  In 1963, after a hiatus of about three decades, Bradley High School revived its football program.  Ironically, the football program lasted about another thirty years before, due to lack of numbers, it had to be discontinued again.

In 1963, the number of players was not a problem.  There were 23 players, two coaches and 4 managers (Jimmy Burns, Donald Adams, Earl Vickers and Raymond Gildon), according to the 1964 B. H. S. yearbook.

The program for the 1963 home games was printed by George Bell of the Bradley Pioneer.  The front page:

Sunday, March 14, 2004 (8) A




Bradley High School

Winston Duke, Coach

Gerald Vines, Ass’t. Coach

Bradley Arkansas”

– – – – –

The back page contained the team’s schedule and two advertisements (which are transcribed with all the other ads, below).

Sunday, March 14, 2004 (8) B

“Bradley ‘Bears’ Football Schedule


Sept 6.  Bismark  There

Sept. 12  Hope (B Team)  Here

Sept. 20  Fouke  There

Sept. 27  Texarkana (B Team)  Here

Oct. 4  Strong  There

Oct. 11  Mineral Springs  There

Oct. 18  Murfreesboro  Here

Oct. 25  Horatio  There

Nov. 1  Lewisville  Here

Nov. 15  Foreman  There”

– – – – –

The roster page of the 1963 home-game program listed each player’s name, number, position, and weight, and designated the “probable starting lineup.”

Sunday, March 14, 2004 (9) B

“Bradley High School


Colors Purple & Gold

Name     No.   Position   Weight

Ronni [sic] Byrd*, 11, QB, 150

David Byrd, 12, QB, 150

Ken Allen, 13, QB, 145

Tommy Pauley, 17, QC, 110

Jimmy McDonald, 21, ET, 165

Gwen Lee, 22, T, 185

Mitchie Jones*, 23, HB, 160

Glenn Brackman, 24, HB, 145

John Taylor, 25

George Pickett, 26, HB, 135

Ronnie Odom*, 27, G, 160

Tommy Lindsey, 28, G, 145

Larry Jackson*, 29, E, 140

John T. Williams*, 30, C, 155

Jerry Clary*, 31, FB, 180

Dickie Bishop, 32, T, 220

Buddy Jackson*, 33, E, 155

Jimmy Gildon*, 34, T, 200

Charles McDonald, 35 E, 170

Larry Parks, 36, G, 160

Johnny Umphries*, 37, G, 155

Henry Maness*, 38, T, 170

Willard Bandy, 39, E, 175

Carl Pauley*, 40, HB, 170

Thomas Clarence [sic], __, T, 215”

*probable starting lineup

– – – – –

The remainder of the 8–page program consisted of advertisements, which provide a glimpse into Bradley businesses of that era.

“Compliments of Allen Bros. C & E Co; Allis Chalmers; New Holland”

“Bradley Pioneer; Community News; Commercial Printing”

“Roberson Farm Equipment; International Harvester Dealer”

“Compliments of Coker Hardware”

“New Phone TW4–2815; We Have All Types of Cotton Defoliants; Logan Seed Co.”

“Crain & Rogers; Mobil Products”

“The Bank of Bradley; Member F. D. I C.”

“Clary Butane & Oil Co.; Cities Service”

“Let’s Go Bears; Odom Dusting Service”

“Hamner Implement Co.; Your John Deere Folks”

“Baker Bros.; Automotive & Tractor Service”

“Cochran Hardware; Building Material”

“Kennedy’s Grocery & Market”

“We Want A Touchdown; Edwards Co.; Edwards Hardware”

And there were also advertisements for “Board of Directors; Bradley
School” and “Thomas E. Tincher, City Marshal”

– – – – –

Alas, fortune was not kind to the 1963 football Bears.  As might be expected with a brand new football program, the team finished with a record of one win and nine losses.

The Bradley Pioneer reported on the first game at Bismark:  “The Bradley Bears played their first football game against Bismart [sic] last Friday night.  One hundred and ten people from Bradley accompanied the team to Bismark and rooted for the Bears.  Bismark won 28–0 but Coach Winston Duke carried 24 Bears to Bismark and let each one play.  Coach Duke said that this experience was a big help to the boys and the support the people of Bradley gave them was a boost for their morale.”

If memory serves correctly, the only win of the 1963 season was the game at Fouke, which was also beginning its football program that year.

For some historical perspective, the final game of the season at Foreman would have taken place two days before the dedication of the new sanctuary of the Bradley Baptist Church (see post of 7/18/08) and one week to the day before the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Finally, if any of the players from that team should have any good stories about their experiences that year, would be most interested in hearing them.