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story.lead_photo.caption Westside Eagle Observer/RANDY MOLL Ole Smokey, a Gentry Pioneer wood carving created from a tree at the old Gentry school on South Second Street which used to be called the smoking tree, is now at its new home in the high school lobby, outside the gym. Work was done to place the school mascot there on Friday.

GENTRY -- Ole Smokey, a Gentry Pioneer wood carving created from a tree at the old Gentry school on South Second Street which used to be called the smoking tree, is now at its new home in the high school lobby, outside the gym. Work was done to encase the carving in a plexiglass case and place the school mascot there on Friday.

The wood carving was made from a tree located outside of the old Gentry Intermediate School classroom facility which used to be known as the smoking tree back in the day when the high school used the facility and students were allowed to smoke outside at the tree.

As reported in the Eagle Observer's Sept. 6 issue, "In 1973 or thereabouts, Gentry opened up a new high school. In those days smoking was allowed on the school campus but only under the shade of an oak tree in the circle drive south of the school.

"In early July, demolition of that building began to make way for a new school classroom building for the Intermediate School. Also to be removed in the demolition was the tree which had become known as the 'Smoking Tree.'

"Members and friends of the class of '82 scrambled to save the tree, but no one was willing to be chained to it. Class members did the next best thing. They saved the tree for another purpose.

"The tree was removed and carved by Lee Collins, with a chain saw, to replicate the Gentry Pioneer mascot."

Community on 12/06/2017

Print Headline: 'Ole Smokey' has new home at high school

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