Saturday, December 28, 2013


I have had this watercolor painting of "Old Schoolhouse - Reliance, Tennessee on the Hiwassee River" painted by Nancy Fortune of Signal Mountain, Tennessee for over thirty years.
It has always had special significance for me because it is the building where my Mom went to school.
I have been back to the area several times and I always go by to see the building.
Today my hubby and I took a road trip up to Reliance, Tennessee to take a look at Spring Creek Retreat.  Of course, I had to stop to take a look at "Mom's school".
I took some photos.
This is the front of the building.  Two things were different:  a porch has been added and an information plaque on a stand.  The porch is okay, I guess, but it really did change the way the building looked to me.  I had never seen the building with the porch that had existed much earlier.
The *plaque explains that it was a church that was also used for the school for a while; that it was a meeting place where the Masonic order convened; and served as a place of worship.

This side view gives a better look at the pillars on which the building stands.
Here in this rear view you can better see the bell tower that the artist had placed in the front view in the watercolor.

This is the view of the two bridges over the Hiwassee River.  One to the west and the other toward the east.  The locals will tell you that this area flooded badly many times before the river was re-directed to better handle the heavy currents during rainy season.
It was such a fun trip today.  The weather was overcast and as I was finishing the photo snapping, the rain started.  It did not change the warm spot I felt in my heart.
I shared stories with my hubby on the way home that my mom told me about growing up in Polk County and the fun they all had swimming in the Greasy Creek.  Yep, that is a real place. 
Miss you, Mother!

*  "Erected about 1899 through the joint effort of the Hiwassee Union Missionary Baptist Church and the local Masonic Lodge, this two-story, frame structure served as a multi-use community building.  The upper floor was for lodge meetings while the first floor served as the church meeting hall.  The first floor was also used as a schoolhouse for a brief time.
     Originally the first floor had a full front porch.  The porch was enclosed in 1927 when the church added two small meeting rooms, leaving a narrow entry way into the main hall.  The church and the lodge moved to new facilities less than a mile to the east on Highway 30.
     It was founded on October 8, 1848 as Hiwassee Union Baptist, and then in 1859 joined Sweetwater Baptist Association.  In 1861 the Ocoee Baptist Association was formed, so they asked to be released from Sweetwater's Association and joined the Ocoee Baptist Association.  Hiwassee Union Baptist went on to join Eastanallee Baptist Association in 1871, and finally it joined the Polk Baptist Association in 1921."



  1. Thank you Sandi for sharing this with us today. I enjoyed reading about the history of the old school house. I love the painting you have she did a great job!