Sunday, February 1, 2009

An Old Friend Remembered...

Our hometown was once the site of a very notable and prestigious Military Preparatory Academy.
Castle Heights Military Academy.
The town was always bustling with Cadets, in uniform, and looked as sharp as tacks.
On weekends the local restaurants and places of entertainment were their choice, since most of the students were living on campus and miles apart from their own homes and families.
Many local families were "hosts" to the cadets, knowing they were living in barracks, and mostly strangers in a new town.
It was a welcoming sight, one I grew to value.

After the Campus closure in 1986 the buildings were sadly left to deteriorate, their only residents, being the pigeons.

After several years, it's buildings have now been restored and serve as the local City Hall, Museum, and History Center. Cracker Barrel Corporate Headquarters, among other small businesses have now made the Campus their home.

The Campus is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Castle Heights Military Academy Campus 1902-1986

Castle Heights Military Academy, Lebanon, TN Castle Heights School was founded in 1902 by David E. Mitchell and I. W. P. Buchanan. Early Headmasters were Buchanan, L. L. Rice and O. N. Smith. In 1914 the school became a military academy.
Acquired by the McFadden Foundation in 1928, it has been a ROTC unit and an honor military ever since. - (from historical marker) Castle Heights ceased operation in 1986 due to financial difficulties.

Originally the academy was a non-military school, but the entrance of the United States into World War I prompted a conversion, and the school no longer accepted female students. By 1954, Castle Heights Military Academy had nearly 500 students and occupied more than 150 acres.
The school included a Junior School and a hospital, and also conducted a boys’ summer camp.In the 1970s, female students were permitted to attend, but low enrollment, due in part to the Vietnam War’s lasting effects, along with the high costs of operating a boarding school forced the school to close in 1986. A restaurant and offices for Cracker Barrel now occupy some of the school buildings.

Castle heights Cadets Taking a Break from Studies.

Castle Heights Military Cadet with Colors
Prominent Alumni

Wesley Clark, former United States Presidential aspirant in 2004
Peter Rademacher, heavyweight boxing contender (Olympic gold medalist, Melbourne, 1956), Ohio civic leader, philanthropist.
Greg Allman and Duane Allman, founders and members of the Southern Rock and Roll Band, Allman Brothers


Betsy Banks Adams said...

Neat post, Josephine.. We've been through Lebanon many, many times and I never knew about the Castle Heights Military Academy. Very interesting!!!!

I do know that the first Cracker Barrel EVER was in Lebanon--somewhere near Highway 109 I think...


Carol Murdock said...

I know it well.......Also have a long time, very dear friend in Lebanon.

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George said...

A very interesting post. I've been past the old Castle Heights Military Academy, but didn't know much about it. Thanks for the information.

cheshire wife said...

It is sad when they let these old buildings decay. I am glad that they have restored it and found a new use for it.