Tuesday, January 8, 2008

History Dudes Loose in the Woods

On Sunday afternoon, 6 January, Travis Vaughn, MMI faculty member, and I ventured into the wilds of Hale County (travelling down logging roads during deer hunting season!) to locate the site of the famed Green Springs School, Dr. Henry Tutwiler’s private boarding academy from 1847 until his death in 1884. Called the “Rugby of the South,” the school was so popular in Alabama and throughout the South that students had to apply for the few openings a year in advance. Located in the middle of nowhere then as now, the school was three miles (as the crow flies) from Havana and six miles from the nearest railroad depot (Tutwiler didn’t want any distractions for his pupils)! Enrollment was usually around 75 and included some day female students including Tutwiler’s own daughters. Julia Tutwiler also taught at Green Springs.

Travis Vaughn at the marker site of the Green Springs School. His mapping skills, truck, and intuition got us there! Directions from some partying deer hunters led us eventually to the marker site.

The massive granite stone marking the site of the school which was placed by the Hale County Historical Society in 1947. A state historical marker was also placed out on Highway 60 (two miles away) but it has been missing for years.

A handmade brick from the school site.

The large marker denoting that Henry and Julia Tutwiler are buried in the cemetery of the Havana United Methodist Church.

The church today. The cemetery is adjacent.

The stone marking Julia Tutwiler’s grave. Her parents are buried behind her.

The graves of Henry and Julia Ashe Tutwiler, owners of the Green Springs School. Following their deaths, their daughter, Julia, inherited the school property. A tornado and later a devastating fire swept Green Springs away.