Tuxedo School

When Joseph Oscar Bell built the mill in the community of Tuxedo in 1907, he and his wife formed a school for the mill children located on property that in 1957 became the property of Camp Wendy Wood.
Longtime native and resident Leo Levi said Bell named the school Tuxedo Graded School.
The bricks for the first Tuxedo school and the later Tuxedo Elementary were made in the lake bed next to Green River, said Steve Waggoner. Waggoner had in his possession a 1920 Lake Summit Subdivision map that named the first school, Tuxedo Graded School, on a plat located on the Camp Wendy Wood property.
At the time, there were other small schools in the Green River community.
Double Springs School was held in the J.P. Anders store. There was also a school located near Green River Baptist Church and another near Cedar Springs Baptist Church. There was also a small “colored” school in the district.
On April 12, 1923, the Henderson County Board of Education purchased 6.93 acres of land from the Green River Manufacturing Co. for $1,600, as stated in a land deed signed by Joseph Oscar Bell, vice president of the company. A plaque in his honor is in front of the school on old U.S. 25.
In 1924, the Double Springs School closed and students were bused to the Tuxedo Graded School. A graded school at this time meant the school included a high school.
Construction of the new Tuxedo Graded School was completed in 1925 and in 1926 the first students entered the new Tuxedo Graded School.
This new Tuxedo Graded School burned Nov. 22, 1929.
In 1930, architect Erle G. Stillwell contracted to rebuild the Tuxedo Graded School.
Cedar Springs and Green River schools consolidated with the Tuxedo Graded School the following year.
High school students began attending the Flat Rock High School in 1935 and the “colored” school in the area closed. Black students were now bused to a school in East Flat Rock.
The Tuxedo School then served students from first grade to eighth grade.
In 1960, high school students moved to East Henderson High School and seventh and eighth grade students attended the former Flat Rock Junior High.
Tuxedo Elementary School then served students grades one through six.
“The principal and teachers at this school grew up in the community,” said Theron Maybin of the Green River community, who attended the school in the 1950s. “It gave the school a family atmosphere. They knew your parents. We were taught family values and had family ties. It was a real close-knit community.”
Flat Rock Middle School was built in the early 1970s. Tuxedo Elementary School then served grades one through five.
In 1994, the Tuxedo Elementary School closed. Students were sent to Upward and Hillandale elementary schools. The school became Tuxedo Extended Day School. Later the Extended Day School was moved to Balfour.
The school system declared Tuxedo School surplus property in 2005.
The Friends of Tuxedo, a grassroots group, wanted to preserve the school.
The group was working with Preservation North Carolina. Preservation North Carolina, a nonprofit organization devoted to saving and reusing the state’s historic buildings, said the school’s consideration for the National Register of Historic Places qualifies it for tax credits.
The School Board sold the school to Shane Shipman, a Henderson County native who lives in Orlando. Shipman offered $275,000 for the property, which includes the vacant school and 6.9 acres on N.C. 225 (Old U.S. 25).
The sale drew support from members of Friends of Tuxedo.
Later Cliff Shipman, father of Shane Shipman, obtained the property. His wife and another son obtained the property after his death.
The school has sat vacant for years. Residents of the community state they would like to see the school used as a community building.