The Purple Cloud
Cliffside High’s athletic teams were not always called “Cliffdwellers” or “Eagles” or “Cliff Climbers.” In the 1920s they were called The Purple Cloud, as in “Cliffside’s Purple Cloud took the field and promptly scored a touchdown.” The teams’ colors were white and purple.
For several years the school provided a slim section (one page or less) to The Rutherford County Sun, titled, appropriately, “Purple Cloud.” For the school year 1928-29, Zon Robinson was the editor, and Solon Smart was sports editor. The next year, 1929-30, the editor was Francis C. “Skipper” Thompson.
Here’s a paragraph from the September 12, 1929 issue:
Authorities are very much pleased to announce new courses for the High School curriculum, which will include commercial subjects of bookkeeping, accounting, typewriting, shorthand, etc. As there has been some demand for such subjects, we are sure these opportunities will be utilized by the students so included.
Two weeks later, the editors wrote:
There has been quite a bit of improvement made in regard to the grounds and the building, as the playground has been rearranged, numerous repairs made in several parts of the interior, including lunch room accommodations. Miss Hilliard, of grade five, has been appointed as playground supervisor.
On November 14:
Later the school will have several attractions this year of educational shows and especially entertaining to the children of which we had the first last Wednesday, October 30, when the Black’s Bear engagement was actuated. This show consisted of five bears and several other trained animals, all entertaining and educational, more so the pupils of the grammar grades. This show was very good and several others to be presented this year promise to be equally as entertaining and educational.
And from the December 5th edition:
On last Wednesday, the school grounds to the front of the school building were converted into a circus and parade arena, for on this day the Barnett Bros. Circus came to town (bigger and better than ever?) and made this their location for the day. This circus, which is only a small scale entertainment, however brought much joy to those attending, and of course, the kiddies were overjoyed with their experience at the circus. [That fall, the Barnett Bros. had adopted York, S.C. as the circus’ winter home.]
In 1929, Barron Caldwell was superintendent, C. A. Denson was principal and H.C. Beatty taught the 8th grade. Fred Barkley was athletic coach (having replaced “Pop” Simmons). Mrs. H.L. Robertson taught “Household Arts.” Virginia Christy was in 10th grade (as a student, not as a teacher).
In those days, the outdoor sports teams played in “Haynes Park” (just out highway 120). The football games were played on Saturdays! Solon Smart, Max Pruette, Clyde Kendrick, Robert Wells and Fuzz McCurry were some of the gridiron stars that fall.
A condensed version of this article appeared in the Jul-Aug 2007 newsletter of the Cliffside Historical Society.