Atlanta Grade School Friends
April 22, 2023

Montana and Caleb Whatley
and the
House Next Door

Months ago, John and Jane Barnhill donated the funds for Atlanta Grade School Friends to purchase the property and house at 108 West Miller Street, adjacent to and west of Atlanta-Miller Grade School. The property holds the distinction of having the grave and tombstone of Jose the Chihuahua sitting next to the slab, which is all that remains of the old "Briar Patch." Mr. Hope Greene buried Jose in 1969 and was, so far as we have been told, the man who built the house. Mr. Greene worked for Hanner Funeral Home. 

The Briar Patch is where students since 1936 bought “hamburgers and hot dogs, cold drinks and ice cream cones, candy and bubble gum, a new pencil or a notebook.” The location where the former Greene house stood has been discussed as a possible parking lot for Atlanta-Miller Grade School which will provide easy access to the front door and off-street parking for guests. In the short term, we will clean it up and plant grass.


The first order of business was to decide what to do with the house. Atlanta Grade School Friends is all about preservation of the now historic school, so there was never really any other decision than to sell the house, and to have it moved. Lee Stanley, no relation to us but a close friend since the 7th grade, volunteered to list and show the site at no expense. The house was shown numerous times and generated a lot of interest. Lee collected a list of nearly thirty names of interested parties!

Through Lee, we received a call from Montana. But this “Montana” is Montana Whatley, who lives only about 16 miles west of Atlanta, Texas in the town of Linden. She and her husband Caleb purchased the Greene home and have experience with this type of endeavor. Caleb and Montana are a husband and wife team who love being together and have a passion for all things real estate. They are both licensed real estate agents who work together to help friends, community, and new faces find their new spot in East Texas. They recently started a Property Management company called Narrow Path Property Management that they own with Caleb’s parents, Brian and Marcie. Through the company they are able to manage clients’ rental properties, freeing up their time and eliminating many of the negative aspects of having investment properties.

From Montana:

     Caleb was raised on his family’s ranch in Kildare, Texas. After graduating high school Caleb attended Tyler Junior College and received his AAS in Land Surveying and Mapping Technology; after which he attended Texas A&M University and graduated with his BS in Geographical Information Science and Technology (GIST).

     I was born and raised in East Texas, graduating from Linden- Kildare High School. After High School, I moved to College Station, where I earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Geographic Information Science and Technology (GIST) from Texas A&M University.

     We have been married since February 2020. Outside of work, we enjoy spending time outdoors fishing, hunting, doing DIY projects, gardening, and spending time with family. They are members of Cross Creek Cowboy Church in Atlanta, Texas where they love teaching their 1st and 2nd grade Sunday school class.

     For the house that was once located at 108 Miller Street - we are so excited for the new adventure. The house has been relocated to our two-acre property in Linden, Texas. We plan to start remodeling the house soon to turn it into our home. We’re excited to share the process with you and hope to have updates along the way. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us about how the house remodel is going, or any real estate questions you have! Montana’s number is 903-650-1103.

     I am proud Atlanta Grade School Friends was able to save another structure from destruction by simply making new friends. This time, one in “Montana.”

You can find the newspaper article about the Briar Patch on our Facebook page, as well as other "house moving" photos. Thanks to Carol Carney Nasits for sharing the article with us.
We were so pleased about the moving of the Greene house from Atlanta to Linden, Texas that we made a YouTube video about it. Enjoy!
Click on the image above to listen to our chat with Conor Herterich of Preservation Texas.

Preservation Texas

In 1985, leaders from nonprofit preservation groups across Texas met in Austin to discuss the vacuum created by the demise of the Texas Heritage Council, an arm of the Texas Historical Foundation. With its initial trustees at the helm, James T. Bratton (Dallas), Peter Brink (Galveston) and Janet Francis (San Antonio), Preservation Texas, Inc. was incorporated in December 1985. 

Since 2006, Atlanta-Miller Grade School has been included on the Most Endangered Places list that is maintained and updated regularly by Preservation Texas. That is 17 years! We are grateful to Preservation Texas for keeping an eye on our historic school. In fact, for many years its listing was more "searchable" online than our own website. 

Conor Herterich is heading the new Northeast Texas office of Preservation Texas in Tyler. Conor is the Endangered Properties Manager and Northeast Texas Program Officer for Preservation Texas. He is a graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University and worked as a high school social studies teacher for five years before earning a master’s degree in public history. 

It was an honor to chat with Conor on Zoom recently. On our YouTube channel, we are posting recordings of casual chats with current and future potential partners. Check it out!

As Doug Fields notes in "Better Together" (January 2023 for HomeWord):

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! –Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

There’s a phrase used in churches that I really love: “We are better together.” Better together is a fantastic slogan. It simply means that when other people are in our lives, we’ll thrive. It’s a great idea (and biblical)!

We look forward to working with Preservation Texas and other partners as the restoration of Atlanta-Miller Grade School becomes a reality. Be watching our YouTube channel for future partner conversations, some of which we are live streaming on Facebook. 
Your Opinion Matters

We would be grateful if you would visit the website of GreatNonprofits and add your review of our organization and its work to restore Atlanta-Miller Grade School to our profile.

We would love to secure the "Top Rated Nonprofit" seal again this year. But we can only do that if more reviews are added.

Thank you!

Walmart Spark Good

Walmart Spark Good is a program that allows you to "round up" your purchase to benefit our nonprofit organization. When you shop with Walmart, we hope you will make Atlanta Grade School Friends your nonprofit of choice. Thank you!

Follow the link to reach our 2023 gold seal profile.


Did you know, GuideStar is the world’s largest source of information on nonprofit organizations. They gather and provide access to the most comprehensive, up-to-date, and accurate nonprofit information available. GuideStar's mission is to revolutionize philanthropy by providing information that advances transparency, enables users to make better decisions, and encourages charitable giving.

Questions? Email is best:
Our Website Our Website
Join Us on Facebook Join Us on Facebook
YouTube YouTube
Candid GuideStar | Gold Seal Candid GuideStar | Gold Seal
GreatNonprofits | Your Review Matters GreatNonprofits | Your Review Matters
Donate Today! Donate Today!
Copyright © 2023 Atlanta Grade School Friends, All rights reserved.