Throwback Thursday – T.C. Cherry celebrates 70 years

Primary education in Bowling Green is celebrating a milestone in 2020. This week we’re at T.C. Cherry Elementary School, a place that’s served area families for 70 years as of this fall. Named for one of the Bowling Green famous Cherry brothers, both the school and its namesake were groundbreakers of their time.

Dr. Thomas Crittenden Cherry was born in 1862 in Bowling Green. The brother of Dr. Henry Hardin Cherry, T.C. was also big in the education world. T.C. and H.H. were owners of the Southern Kentucky Normal School from the early 1890s until 1906, when the school became Western Kentucky University and H.H. became its first president. 

T.C. focused his time on primary education, and served instead as the superintendent of Warren County Schools from 1905 to 1937. He lived out his days in retirement until passing away in 1947, and the Kentucky Library has over 400 items documenting his impact on Bowling Green.

Three years after his death, the original T.C. Cherry Elementary School opened on Liberty Way in 1950. Serving grades K through eighth, seven decades ago, it was the first public school in Bowling Green to offer a kindergarten class. T.C. Cherry was the first of three new public schools under construction in a booming post-World War II Bowling Green of the 1950s. 

The original school operated for over 55 years before being torn down and rebuilt in 2009. The historic marker can be found at the school’s entrance.