Carr Creek School 1919-1974

This article was taken from “History and Families Knott County Kentucky” 1995        

         Carr Creek School opened in an abandon storehouse in the community of Dirk, Kentucky in 1919. 

         Earlier the community had raised the frame of the school on a hill overlooking Carr Creek Valley.  The land was donated by W. T.  and Simeon Francis, other men gave their labor, and the county had given all the money it could give. Then came bitter disappointment, the funds to finish the school were unavailable.

         About this time, 1920 two educators, Olive Marsh (Minnesota) and Ruth Weston (Boston) were encouraged by Marion Francis to come Dirk and get the community going in the matter of education.

         They came and started school in an abandoned storehouse. Miss Weston taught primary grades, Mr. Hiram Taylor, taught the older children, and Miss Weston acted as secretary.

         Contributing to the success of this endeavor was 90-year-old Miss Lucy. She encouraged, sheltered and fed the ladies until their “Patchwork Cottage” was built.

         With donations of money, labor and lumber the school house was finished in 1922. It contained four rooms downstairs and a loft-room library.

         By 1926, Carr Creek Community Center included about 40 acres of land and eight buildings.

         In March of 1927, Miss Marsh and Miss Weston severed their ties with Carr Creek and move to California.

         The task of carrying on the school was given to Margaret P. Humes, Jersey Shore  Pennsylvania and Mr. W.T. Francis. Miss Humes was a wonderful lady. Her wisdom and intelligence were insurmountable, and she love the mountain children.

         In April 1927, Lona Hale, Cora and Raleigh Johnson, Lawrence and Oscar Hale and Chester Back were the first to graduate from Carr Creek High School.

         Also, in 1927, Berea College held an Extension Opportunity School at the ‘Center’. President Hutchins loaned six of his staff for the experiment.  About 1,193 people attended the ten lectures on Child Care, Agriculture, Industry and Religion. The round table discussions proved most of all the splendid mentality to be found in the community.

         Then came 1928. On the hill the school was now incorporated with a newly elected Board of Trustees: Executives, Margaret P. Humes, Martha A. Beecher and W.T. Francis. A new post office, Carr Creek, had been established.

         Also, in 1928, Carr Creek basketball team won fame throughout the USA. The team had a volunteer coach, Oscar Morgan, the manual training teacher. The boys played on an indoor court one-half the regulation size and with homemade baskets six inches lower than prescribed by rules.  They battle through three mountain tournaments in the state and were awarded the Kentucky YMCA Silver Loving Cup for Sportsmanship. They lost the state championship (11-13) to Ashland in four overtimes.

         Kentuckians raised money and sent the team to the national tournament in Chicago, Illinois. Carr Creek was the 36th of the 40 teams to be eliminated. In the season’s tournaments they played 18 straight games and never use a substitute nor called a timeout. Between 1928 and 1932 Coach Morgan guided Kentucky to three state tournaments.

         In 1936, a new stone high school building was started to further expand and improve classroom conveniences.  The site and stone were gifts of Executive Secretary W.T. Francis, labor was furnished by the US Governments WPA and material assistance was given by the Knott County Board of Education. The launching funds were provided by the D.A.R. of Michigan. The school was completed in 1938.

         Academics came first at Carr Creek but basketball continued to be a part of the school and the community. Being a community that started a school out of need in 1919, basketball wasn’t at that time in anyone's mind. However, because of the interest shown from the boys playing as recreation, the sport of basketball grew from a dirt court in the early 1920’s to a famous well-known tradition in the 1970’s. The tradition came about through the years in which Carr Creek was involved in so many famous tournaments and did so well with the talent it played on the courts.

         In 1928, with tradition got off to a rocket start. The Carr Creek team lost in the finals of the state tournament to Ashland, but both teams were invited to the national tournament in Chicago. This team is as famous today, 65 years later, as it was in those years.

         In 1948, Carr Creek placed third in the state tournament. In 1956, Carr Creek won the state tournament, a trophy it had played for for thirty years and in 1963 Carr Creek won is final big trophy by winning the prestigious Louisville Invitational Tournament. It has been said that these four trophies are the highest trophies to be best owed upon a school in Kentucky.

         A person associated with all those trophies either as a player or as a coach is the most accomplished Carr Creeker of all, Mr. Willard “Sprout” Johnson.

         Carr Creek Community Center, later Carr Creek Grade and High School, was located in a community from 1919 until the spring of 1974, it's last graduating class. Children from the waters of Carrs Fork were then moved into a new consolidated school, Knott County Central High School in Hindman, Kentucky.