RR Bryan Log School

1858 – Dr. R.R. Bryan constructed this one-room log cabin to teach his on children and other children from the community of Mossy Creek. 

1868 – R.R. Bryan School ceases to function as a school for Mossy Creek as John Roper Branner donated land and building.  Branner built a two-story brick school at the corner of Knoxville Highway and Branner Avenue that served Mossy Creek until 1904.  The second floor of the building served as a Masonic meeting hall for many years and later the building served as the Jefferson City’s City Hall, Fire and Police Departments.

1980 - During the 110+ years since the school ceased, the small one room R.R. Bryan cabin had been covered with siding and was an outbuilding on the Snodgrass Property located on East Ellis Street, behind the Whiteway /White Store Shopping Center.  The property was purchased for development by Bruce Bierman and John White for construction of an apartment complex.  Helen Gray, a local historic preservationist spotted the cabin just as demolition crews were beginning to clear the property.  She convinced Bierman and White to halt construction and give her time to raise funds to have the building moved, thus saving this historic cabin and first school in Mossy Creek / Jefferson City.

1980 – The building was moved as a single unit and placed on the northeast corner of the Jefferson Elementary School property with the approval of the Board of Education.  The building was in very poor condition, but little was done in the short-term beyond additional research and fundraising to preserve the structure.

1984 – The school logs were identified and marked by architect Charles Richmond in preparation for disassembly and removal to the “construction yard” of Hearthstone Log Homes” in Dandridge, TN. Boy Scout Troop 76 worked two consecutive Saturdays to disassemble the old cabin in readiness for Hearthstone to move them to their “construction yard” for restoration work. Additional logs were located from other local cabins and the Bryan school house cabin made whole by Hearthstone Builders.

1985 – By this time, as reconstruction was nearing completion, a new site was selected on the elevated noll between the Middle School and the Elementary School.  Jeff County High Masonry Class laid out the foundation, laid the concrete block to receive the restored cabin.  They also faced the foundation with field stone that was acquired from the Charles Carmichael farm in Rocky Valley.  The rocks were harvested from the farm  by CNC APO Fraternity volunteers.

1987 – By January 1987 Hearthstone Builders delivered the cabin to the new site and began reassembly of the one-room log cabin.

1993 -  By February 1993  the cabin was again worked on by Hearthstone Builders to repair and replace faulty logs and a wooden shake roof was installed.  By this time the Jefferson City Landmark Committee no longer existed and Jefferson County Historical Society had become responsible for the maintenance of the old school cabin.

2008 – In the 15 years between 1987 and 2008, the cabin roof and floor has deterioriated and the total cabin was about to be lost.  The Jefferson County Historical Society again generated funds for another restoration effort to save the old school by adding a new roof system, a door to the structure, a new floor and other upgrades to preserve the cabin.

2021 – Another 13 years has passed and the R.R. Bryan one-room school cabin is still intact and stands as historical reminder of the early days of education in Mossy Creek, Jefferson City, and Jefferson County.  When we look at the Bryan cabin we are reminded that school buildings come and go, they change in shape, form, and curriculum