Jerry Summers: Before Baylor And McCallie

  • Thursday, November 30, 2023
  • Jerry Summers
Jerry Summers
Jerry Summers

Although the rivalry between two of Chattanooga’s private preparatory schools has always been intense the public school system had equally historically significant football clashes between Chattanooga High School (City) and Chattanooga Central (Central).

City no longer has a football team and Central has moved to Highway 58 in Hamilton County and its “glory days” of the 1950s-1960s are primarily over.

Loyal alumni of City have so far been able to preserve the beautiful brick structure on 3rd Street as a charter school but the gothic architectural facility of Central is part of the soccer field of the Blue Tornado since the property was acquired in 1968-1969 and the school moved to its new location.

For 30 years the Purple Pounders had defeated the Dynamos but the 1970 season would present a new opportunity for the Maroon and White squad.

In 2015, a member of the team published “First and Thirty” (Broadway Ventures) written about that historic season in 307 pages as well as the social upheaval in Chattanooga during that era and the changes that slowly revolutionized life in both the black and white communities.

Author, Carlton Blaine “Buck” Buchanan, not only presents the picture of rivalry of before and up to 1970 that dominated the newspapers but also gives a vivid (and truthful) depiction of what it would be like for a teenager, family, and friends during that period.

Principals, teachers, and coaches all occupied positions of respect that may be missing in today’s hectic education systems.

In addition to educating younger generations on life in the community during that era it also reminds members of the “old folks crowd” of both the good and bad aspects of growing up in those times.

Baylor and McCallie athletic teams continue their intense rivalry in 2023. City alumni have fond memories of the 1970 victory while the surviving Central alumni still remember the “Etter-Farmer days”.

(The book contains important historical facts about the 1970 season as well as a welcome flashback to a different time. It is worth searching the internet for a copy at Amazon or the website- “booksbybuck.com.”)

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You can reach Jerry Summers at jsummers@summersfirm.com

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