Sharing our memories

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The ceremonial ground breaking for the Carroll County Middle School renovation was held March 27. Afterward, the public was welcomed to a reception was held in the gym, where those in attendance shared their memories about the old gym. Carroll County School Director of Public Relations Carl Roberts also created a video capturing community members’ memories.



“When you would come to a ball game here on this back wall where the door is now back here, you went to the second floor of the high school. That’s where a big door opened and there were popcorn machines. You couldn’t find a spot to sit in this gym. This place was packed with the students. No one missed a ball game. You had to come early to find a place to watch the boys play basketball. …

I’ve had a lot of the especially the older graduates from Carrollton High School who started out here and graduated, their main concern was, ‘What are you going to do with the bleachers?’ Everybody wants a little piece of the school, and that was one thing that Dr. (Lisa) James really expressed. She wanted to incorporate the bleachers, and she wanted to incorporate the gym floor into the new part of the school and the board talked about that and that was something we wanted to make sure that we did with this gym was to make sure that the people and the taxpayers in this community that they saw that we were trying to take the part of the old gym and incorporate it into the new part of the school and leave these memories with the people of Carrollton and let them see that we were trying to keep the memories alive.”

Carroll County School Board Vice Chairman Carolyn Jones


“I had the privilege of playing for the black and gold in basketball and baseball and other activities. So, to be honest with you, we spent an awful lot of time in this gymnasium here. … Our high school team at that time, I was a junior, we went to the finals so we had a lot of pep rallies that were held in this gymnasium through those last couple of seasons, we played some really good basketball teams, and some of those teams had as many as two all-state players. We were successful, we did get beat in our regional final by three points by then-Shelbyville High School. We had defeated the defending state champions, which was Shelby County, and then the next night (Shelbyville) actually beat us. It kept us from going to the state tournament, but throughout that time that we spent here and knowing so many athletes, even those that we looked up to back in the late 60’s before us. It’s built a lot of memories for this community and some of them who have actually left this area, but they still talk about the Carroll County High School days.”

Carroll County Judge-Executive Harold “Shorty” Tomlinson graduated from Carrollton High School in 1968.


“Good memories and bad. It was in our regional tournament that we had here my junior year [1946], and we were playing Valley Station and it was the quarterfinals and going down the floor and I’ve got the ball and was heading in there and all of a sudden I was going to shoot and Manion on the other team jumped up just enough – he looked like he was 8-feet-tall to me, he was about 6 feet – and I missed it, and it would have won the game. That haunted me for years. … But then, I got my degree in this gymnasium. Our auditorium had burned the previous year when I was a junior so we had our graduation here.”

Jim Fothergill


“I had my first kiss under the basketball goal in the gym in sixth grade.”

Board member Rob Spenneberg


“There was another gym where the auditorium was and it was burned, unfortunately. This gym was built after the burning of that and then the new auditorium that’s still here is there. … This has been a stablehold here for many years. I have lived here all of my life. Once it became the middle school, even before then, all of the Little League players played basketball here. It’s been a community center for years. Dances were held here, district tournaments were held here, in fact I was crowned basketball queen in the middle of this floor, and that was many years ago too. But it has been a stablehold as far as providing a place for the youngsters who are in sports and play basketball. At one time we had volleyball too.”

Councilwoman and former Carrollton mayor Ann Deatherage attended Carrollton High School and later taught there.


“One of those that is most vivid in my mind is the scoreboard used to be over there [pointing to the current scorekeepers spot next to half court], and the judge – he wasn’t called judge-executive, he was just called judge – but he would spit tobacco juice against the wall down there and operate the clock. … “I painted all of those bleachers one summer, varnished them, and during that summer Carroll Yager, probably 10 years old, he came in and played all summer while I was working up there. He turned out to be a very nice ball player because he started early and worked at it. I also remember, going way back, my sister graduated from here in 1949 or 50 somewhere along there and she used to bring me to the ballgames and we would sit in the bleachers up there and I was, of course, a very small child then, and that’s where I got my first acquaintance with the gym, and then I went to high school here one semester.”

Dalton Oak was the Carrollton High School basketball coach from 1966-1969.


“In the 12 years that I was in the old building, there were a lot of events that were held in this gymnasium. All of the high school proms were held in the gymnasium, as well as sock hops after games. There were special carnivals held here, fall carnivals. Also when I was in elementary school here, we were allowed to leave the campus and go home for lunch. We had an hour for lunch and many times when we would come back, particularly if it was inclement weather, they would be set up in here showing movies during lunchtime or cartoons during lunchtime, particularly for the smaller children.”

Carrollton Main Street Manager Sam Burgess graduated from Carrollton High School in 1962 and returned to teach there in 1966.


“My father kept the score book for 20 years at Carroll County, so I never missed a game. Like they say, it was always packed. We never missed a game, it was loud. It was just a great atmosphere for a ballgame.”

Cheryl Woods graduated from Carrollton High School in 1964. Her father kept the basketball score book from 1957-1976.


“There was a lot of pride in this building and there was a lot of pride in being a Carroll County Panther. So if you represented in one of the sports, it was really important and at that time, basketball was played at a very high level here and was very, very big in the community. We would play games here, and it would be standing room only. ... I tell people how there was crowds on the other side and fans on the other side of the gym here and the team sat on the ends of the gym, and they say, ‘How in the world is that possible?’ Well, they were right on top of you if you were playing a game. There was no room. If you stepped out of bounds, I can even remember people that would have to separate so that you could get out of bounds right here and folklore has it that maybe if you were an opponent and you were taking the ball out of bounds, that they might pinch you a little bit if you were in front of the Carroll County crowd or might even pull the hair on your legs a little bit. I’m not sure about that, but it was a great atmosphere.

Carroll Yager played middle school and high school basketball in this gymnasium. He played in the last home game played in the building during his sophomore season in 1968.