Center community once had two schools

Don McAlavy: Local Columnist

The Center community a few miles south of Clovis was organized in 1905, four years before Curry County was incorporated.

There were only two permanent families there then. The other patrons of the community were bachelors and old maids, who were holding down the claims.

In the fall of 1906, several more families proceeded by wagon to Center. Due to the rapid growth of this community in the next several years, a meeting was held in a half dug-out for the purpose of raising money to erect a one-room school building. The meeting was most successful. Money was raised and a building was erected. Slats were used for seats and there were no desks.

The nearest town was Texico as there was no Clovis then.

In the following years another one-room school was erected. One school was Point Enterprise and one was Moye Sunrise. The first teacher at the Center school, then called Point Enterprise, was Mr. Brewer. The next teacher was L. C. Fenwick, who taught four terms. Ira Duke was the third teacher, Carl Osborn (now a Clovis merchant) was the fourth. Other teachers of the early days were Mrs. Lena Maxwell, Miss Celia Woodword (now Mrs. J. R. McGregor), Mrs. Ben Bomar, and Judge Pyle.

In 1924, Point Enterprise and Moye Sunrise consolidated, declaring their name to be Center. It was appropriately named, for both schools moved to the center of the community. Two teams of horses of Billie Akers’ and one team of E. L. Kempf’s moved the schools together.

In 1927, a large brick building was constructed and in 1930 a large gym was built by F. M. Wallace & Company, General Contractors of Clovis.

A highly active organization of the community was the Better Homes club, a group of women who enjoyed making better homes.
Church work was an important phase of the community. Center held school and church meetings regularly.

There is no “community” at Center as it used to be. The school at Center consolidated with Clovis schools. Here is what Doug Carpenter, born in 1950, said: “It was probably in 1956, at age 6 years old that I started to Center school. Center school was closed in my third year at Center. I was then bused to Clovis. That makes the Center school closing to have been in 1959.”

The gym and facilities continued to be used until 1979. Clovis school basketball players used the Center gym for practice for many years.

There are many ex-Center school students around. They have an annual Center reunion at the Clovis library. Last I knew Barbara Woody Voges was their president.

Don McAlavy is Curry County’s historian. He can be contacted at:
dmcalavy@telescopelab.com