published Sunday, March 13th, 2011

Red Clay replica planned for middle school

CLEVELAND, Tenn.—A replica of a Cherokee council house is planned for the nature trail area at Cleveland Middle School.

“It will look somewhat like what you might see at Red Clay [State Historic Park],” said Principal Jeff Elliott.

A replica farm and council house are part of the Red Clay park in the southwest corner of Bradley County on the Georgia state line. The 263-acre park was set aside more than 25 years ago to mark the last location of the Cherokee councils before the 1838 Trail of Tears, the forced march of the American Indians from the Southeast to Oklahoma.

About five years ago, Cleveland Middle and the Cleveland/Bradley Public Education Foundation created a nature trail as part of a wetlands project on the school’s property. There is enough money from that project to build the council house, Elliott said.

“We love it when projects come along already funded,” school board Chairman Peggy Pesterfield said.

The project was estimated by a local company to cost less than $15,000.

Elliott said the open-sided structure will serve as an outdoor classroom.

“Part of the dream ... was to build a council house to tie in some of the social studies and science with the nature trail,” he said.

about Randall Higgins...

Randall Higgins covers news in Cleveland, Tenn., for the Times Free Press. He started work with the Chattanooga Times in 1977 and joined the staff of the Chattanooga Times Free Press when the Free Press and Times merged in 1999. Randall has covered Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Alabama. He now covers Cleveland and Bradley County and the neighboring region. Randall is a Cleveland native. He has bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University. His awards ...

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