By Camille DeVaul and the Templeton Historical Society

The iconic “T” on “T-Hill” in Templeton stands as more than just a concrete emblem overlooking the landscape; it’s a symbol of community spirit, resilience, and the enduring bond between past and present generations. Its history is wovenwith tales of camaraderie, school pride, and even the occasional prank.

The “T” dates back to the early 1950s when local Templeton leader Al Willhoit spearheaded efforts to build a swimming pool. As construction progressed, volunteers, including members of the fire department and Lions Club, rallied together to add a wading pool for children. With leftover materials from the project, the idea emerged to create a lasting monument overlooking Templeton High School — a bold “T” etched into the southern-facing hillside.

The Class of 1955 took charge of this project, led by spirited young individuals like Mike Willhoit, Albert Alderson, and Tom Pryor, among others. Their dedication and labor culminated in the completion of the “T” in the spring of 1955.

Over the decades, the “T” has weathered countless coats of paint, each stroke applied by volunteers. From its humble beginnings to its current caretakers, Pat and Leslie Jones, the “T” has stood as a silent witness to the ebb and flow of time in Templeton.

Leslie is just one of the many “T-Keepers” who have taken on the responsibility (usually unknowingly) to care for the “T” and protect it from rival pranks. She recounts the many adventures and challenges faced in maintaining the loved landmark. From commemorating solemn occasions like the aftermath of 9/11 with patriotic hues, to when the “T” became an “I” after Isaac Lindsey was severly injured during a home football game, the “T” has served as a canvas for the community.

When Leslie and Pat moved their young family into the “T” hill home they experienced the first prank within the first month of moving in — June 1997. 

While the perpetrators are still unknown, they had painted the “T” with a black seal coating. With the Templeton High School graduation ceremony happening the next day, a visible black “T” wouldn’t do, especially with the graduations still being held on the original football field with a clear view of the “T” hill. They rushed to Hewitt’s Hardware on Main Street for white paint and restored the “T” back to white for the graduating class of 1997.

Leslie used to pull her own prank on the town every April Fool’s Day by changing the “T” into a “J” for their last name Jones. 

Leslie says, “It has been a joy for us over the years to have this Templeton landmark on our property. “

The “T” has endured and seen much in its lifetime. With several coats of paint seemingly keeping it together, its safe to say the “T” is in good hands. 

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