Bell Dixon School monument put in Parker Park

Published 7:52 pm Tuesday, March 24, 2015

After receiving permission from the Climax City Council last year, two cousins, one from Tennessee and one from Florida, proceeded on a project that was close to their hearts. Richard Gainey, Tenn., and Irvin Jones, Fla., would build a monument to honor the small country school their grandparents, and Aunts, and several others had attended, taught in, and helped build.With rain threating the project on Thursday March 19th, the men continued on finishing on the 20th.  Richard and his wife Joan said Irvin worked so hard to get the monument ready, as he did the brick work while Richard said he was there for support. The men dug a large square hole to place the foundation in and from that rose a nice column of bricks with a plaque attached attesting to the building of a brick consolidated school by the name of Bell Dixon in the year 1924 on Bell Dixon Road.

Listed on the building committee is the grandfather of Richard, and Irvin, W.M. Jones, (Will Monroe), along with five others, J.R. Gainey, J.J. Collins, G.W. Fewell, P.D. Moore, and T.R.Fewell. Roland Bower was the County School Superintendent, and G.B. Faircloth was the builder.

During the building of this brick school in 1924 Andrew Avery was the principal. From research we find that Bell Dixon began as two schools and in the 1900’s came together as one with the name Bell from the Bell militia district and Dixon from Burl Dixon who had established a school on his property nearer Climax, thereby becoming a one room wooden school by the name of Bell Dixon. After a fire destroyed this school, a large white painted school was built in 1921 and it too burned in 1923 making way for the building of the brick school.

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With Roland Bower as superindent, according to the Decatur County Sesquicentennial recorded in the regional library, on Dec. 14, 1906 in a special meeting the school board passed on the election of District School Trustees. Bell Dixon is listed as having, T. H. Holt, 3 years, B. W. Dixon 2 years, and W. E. Griffin 1 year.

Printed in an article, “A new comprehensive High School in Decatur County Past and Present, under the leadership of County School superintendent Roland Bower, during the 1920’s consolidated schools opened at Attapulgus, Bell Dixon, Bethany, Brinson, Climax, Faceville, Fowlstown, Pine Hill, and Mt. Pleasant.”

After Andrew Avery became County School Superintendent, John Henry Wells from Climax, the Father of Clifford Wells became a teacher and principal at Bell Dixon. Other teachers were: Miss Lilly Jones a life time teacher for the first grade, and the great Aunt of Richard Gainey and Irvin Jones, and Mrs. Millie Lou Jones Holt, another aunt.

Grades were cut back many times at Bell Dixon with students being bussed to Climax or other schools in the County. Some say that Bell Dixon closed its doors permanently in 1961-62 or 1963.

A dedication service of the monument in Parker Park, Climax is planned for April 11 at 10 a.m., one hour before the Climax School Alumni Reunion. Many Climax School Alumni are also Bell Dixon Alumni, and are encouraged to come to Parker Park and be a part of the dedication.

Richard Gainey expressed appreciation to his cousin Irvin for his hard work and contribution to the monument and to several others who has gotten information to him. For more information about the dedication service one may email Richard at