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Tina Turner's grade school in Nutbush being moved.

June 1, 2012

Brownsville Tn. The one-room building where singer Tina Turner once attended grade school in Haywood County is being moved to the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center. Center director Sonia Outlaw-Clark says workers began moving the Flagg Grove School building on Thursday but had to stop due to inclement weather. The move from Nutbush to the center in Brownsville is set to continue Friday.
The land the school was built on was bought in 1889 from Benjamin Flagg, a former slave who came from North Carolina after the Civil War. The school closed in the 1960s and has since been used as a barn. Owners Pam and Joe Stephens donated the building to the center, where it will be restored and become one of the center's permanent exhibits

A member of the Flag family emailed the following link, where her old school house was discussed.Click here

A few desks and benches were still in the school. Notice the stage in the background.
You just know Tina had to have sung on that stage at some time during her school days
Tina has acknowledged our work

Flagg Grove School moves to West TN Delta Heritage Center It's been an exciting two weeks here at the Center. First with the 2nd Annual Exit 56 Blues Fest last week and now this week we've moved the Flagg Grove School.

The one-room school was previously located in Nutbush, yes... the real Nutbush that Tina Turner sings about. As a matter of fact, she attended Flagg Grove School. To add to the history of the school, her great uncle, Benjamin Flagg, sold the land to the school's trustees for $25 an acre. I understand the going price at that time (1889) was $75 an acre. The school closed in 1968 and had been used as a barn since that time.

It's a journey that began several months ago and yesterday the school finally made it to our Center and now sits beside the home of Bluesman "Sleepy" John Estes. While the size of the school kind of dwarfs Sleepy John's, we are very proud of this addition to the collection and look forward to highlighting early education in Haywood County and, of course, the fantastic singing career of Tina Turner. Here's a few photos of the school's journey.
Inside the school
Work has began for its move...
Bracing for the move
Positioning the skids
Pulling out from the field on Elm Tree Road
Navigating the powerlines
Traveling down Highway 19, aka Tina Turner Highway
Almost to its new home
The building is positioned next to the former home of Sleepy John Estes.
Contractors were on site again today securing the building and removing the skids.

Thanks to Keith Alton Gambill and Tim Batross for the pictures.
Thanks to Johanna for the following news.

Tim: "The moving company stabilized the building by building support walls, they will come out when the roof work is complete and the building is placed on the permanent piers." Bill: "We have formed a not-for-profit 501C 3 to raise money for its restoration."

And an article about it: "For many Brownsville residents, the sight of an old wooden house sitting on the back of a semi-tractor trailer truck literally stopped traffic on Friday morning. Flagg Grove School, a former subscription school located in Nutbush, traveled from Tenn. 19 — also known as Tina Turner Highway — to its new home at the West Tennessee Heritage Center on Friday.

The center plans to restore the structure and use the building, once restored, to include interpretive exhibits about early education and former student Tina Turner, said the center’s director, Sonia Outlaw-Clark.

“The school was built in 1889, the land was donated by a former slave who came from North Carolina after the Civil War. It was a subscription school — each student paid a dollar a month to go,” she said. “Then it became one of our county schools. It’s a very important part of our early history in education. Also, of course, this was the school Tina Turner attended, back when she was Anna Mae Bullock. We are preserving a piece of the early African-American education system. There are not many of these buildings like this one left. I’m proud we’ll be able to move it to the center and be able to do exhibits.”

Outlaw-Clark said the school was donated by Pam and Joe Stevens, who own the Backyard Barbeque in Brownsville. His father owned the property when the school closed in 1968. Joe Stevens donated the building, the city agreed to pay for the cost of moving the school and now a private, non-profit group will work to raise the funds to restore the school, she said. Brownsville Mayor Jo Matherne watched as the school building was ushered into the space reserved for it at the heritage center. She and others had gathered to watch the final steps of the process.

“This is so important on so many levels, it’s hard to point out,” she said. “Certainly, this is preserving a very important piece of the history of Haywood County. The one-room schoolhouse and the historic significances one-room schoolhouses played in public education are important. And obviously the fact that Flagg Grove school was where Tina Turner, our most famous citizen, came and spent her elementary school days. The historic and cultural significance of this building make it worth saving.”

Matherne said Brownsville’s Board of Alderman voted to cover the cost of moving the schoolhouse, agreeing to pay up to $20,000 for the move. Mike Youngblood of BWY Construction Contractors LLC was the contractor for the move. BWY was also the company responsible for the preliminary preservation of the Old Denmark Presbyterian Church in Denmark."

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