Tennessee Vocational School for Girls

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Tennessee Vocational School for Girls
Current Status Preserved
Building Style Cottage Plan
Location Tullahoma, TN
Alternate Names
  • Tennessee Vocational Reformatory for Girls


The Tennessee Vocational School for Girls, occasionally styled Tennessee Vocational Training School for Girls or, more colloquially, TVS, was a reform school located in Tullahoma, Tennessee. It was located near Tullahoma, at 35°20'22.6"N 86°11'32.6"W.

The school was founded in 1915 by the Tennessee Federation of Women's Clubs. It was called the State Reformatory for Girls. It received its first girls in 1918; the cost to house an inmate for one year was approximately $230.57 (.63/day).

Instructors originally taught only cooking and sewing. They began to train girls to type, take shorthand, do dressmaking and work as nurses aides when the market for women employees expanded. In the 1950's, the girls also learned “the science of cosmetics.”

According to Nell Farrar, superintendent from 1934-1958, the girls got “spiritual help, but [it wasn't] rammed down their throats."

There were an average of 160 girls at TVS at a time. The girls stayed about 18 months. During that time Miss Farrar tried "to make worthwhile citizens out of wayward youth."

On March 10, 1954, an 18-year-old inmate, Avanell Dye Anderson, died of an apparent suicide from ingesting laundry bleach.

On February 15, 1955, three girls escaped TVS; one was caught, but two (Leddie Jane Chapman and Dolores) managed to make it to Bridgeport, Connecticut, and caused a considerable stir there before being caught by the local authorities.

In 1972 it was renamed Highland Rim School for Girls. In 1975 the bars were removed from its windows. In 1978 it became the sole receiving facility for female juvenile offenders in Tennessee. Highland Rim closed in 1983 and in 1984 the Tennessee Correction Academy became operational at the site.