This fall, my husband, Jonathan, and I were fortunate to buy the farm across the road from the 80 acres we live on. Ever since we moved into our farmhouse almost 16 years ago, we’ve been hoping for a chance to call those 160 acres our own. The ground is far from great, but it is right out our front door and we wanted to integrate it into our place.
One corner of the farm is home to the old Beaver Dam School, a one-room schoolhouse that was built in 1907 and served our neighborhood. It closed when I was almost two years old, but my brother and dozens of neighbor kids graduated from there before heading to high school in town.
Much to the delight of several of our neighbors and the chagrin of others, we are preserving the old structure.
Jonathan worked with house movers to raise it up to tuck a new foundation under it right before Thanksgiving.
Beyond that, we’ve succeeded at tightening it up and moving out a family of black snakes. Little by little, with sweat equity, our plan is to turn the school into a deer camp/guest house for family and visitors. More than anything, though, we couldn’t bear to tear down the history.
Lucky for us, the schoolhouse came with a scrapbook filled with old attendance records and the minutes from pivotal school board meetings, many recorded in my mom’s handwriting. We know a good deal about how the school used to look, but we’re still searching for inspiration on how it needs to look when we finally get it done. If you have restored an old school or know of good examples, I’d love to hear from you. Send photos, if you can. Right now, we could use some inspiration!
- Mid-February 2011