The Dickson College Closes

In 1909, when Malcolm Patterson took over as the new governor of Tennessee, he made a promise to improve education in the state. As new modern schools began to be built all across Tennessee, Patterson wanted to make sure that the schools were staffed with qualified teachers.

Up until that point in history there were only a few colleges known as “normal” schools across the state that provided education and training for future teachers. In 1909, under Patterson’s leadership, the state of Tennessee passed the General Education Act which provided funding for three public normal schools. There would be one in each of the three grand divisions of the state: east, middle, and west. The state also approved funds to establish one additional college for African American students.

A committee was formed to choose the site for each of the colleges. Memphis, Murfreesboro, and Johnson City were chosen as the three sites for the new normal schools, and Nashville was chosen as the site for the new African American college.

Dickson had one of the few normal colleges in the state, but it was a private school. Dickson had lobbied to be considered for one of the new public colleges, but was not chosen. This news spelled doom for the Dickson Normal College. Without public funding, it would be difficult to compete with the new publicly funded schools.

To make matters worse, T.B. Loggins, the leader of the Dickson Normal College, had been contacted and offered a position at the new West Tennessee Normal College that would be located in Memphis. Professor Loggins was the sole proprietor and head administrator following the retirement W.T. Wade. It would be hard to imagine the college surviving without him. Loggins had been there since the beginning.

After 20 years, the college that had been the pride of Dickson was going out of business.

The school had been such an integral part of Dickson’s success, it was going to be hard to imagine the town without it.

Before the days of radio and television the school offered the town various forms of entertainment. People watched plays and heard speeches. There were music performances and sporting events.

Dickson had a college baseball team in the 1890’s and by the early 1900’s the college fielded what is believed to be the first organized football team in Dickson County. The team was nicknamed the “Maroons,” due to the maroon jerseys they wore on the field. The Dickson Maroons were only around a few seasons before they disbanded, but they played a key role in introducing Dickson County to the game of football.

In May of 1912, the Dickson College graduated its last class under Professor Loggins. The celebration lasted several days. It kicked off on Sunday with a sermon in the college chapel. On Monday there was a presentation from the music department and on Tuesday there was a speech contest with awards given out. Finally on Wednesday the graduation exercises took place. At 8:30 pm that evening diplomas were given out to the graduates.

For nearly two decades students from all around the country had flocked to Dickson Tennessee to receive their training to become a teacher, but those days seemed to be withering away. Many of the college's remaining undergraduate students decided to transfer to the new colleges in Memphis and Murfreesboro because they were more affordable and the future of the Dickson College seemed to be in doubt.

After graduation, Loggins began planning his move to Memphis. Before he left town, there was a reunion for the old Edgewood College on July 11th, 1912. Edgewood was the predecessor to the Dickson Normal College. It was established by W.T. Wade and T.B. Loggins in the 1880’s in the Yellow Creek community. A few years after it was formed, they decided to move their operation to Dickson to be closer to the railroad.

Former students and teachers met at a private residence on College Street in Dickson to talk about the good old days of Edgewood. At the end of the night someone suggested that they sing an old song that used to be sung years ago in the chapel of the old college. The men and women separated to different sides of the room, and they sang “God Be With You Until We Meet Again.” To close out the night, Professor Loggins led the group in prayer and everyone dispersed.

By the fall of 1912, T.B. Loggins had moved to Memphis. He began his new job working for the West Tennessee Normal College. The school officially opened on September 12th, 1912.

The college he left behind in Dickson tried to survive, but without Loggins the school would eventually close and the property would be sold.