Thursday, June 10, 2021

May School teacher's desk is home from Colorado

The teacher's desk from May School, once located in the far northwest corner of Warren Township, came home to Lucas County from Colorado late last week --- to a new home at the Lucas County Historical Society Museum.

Sharon (Reynolds) Scott and her family delivered the desk Saturday morning while on a weekend visit from their home in Littleton, Colorado.

We can't date the desk precisely, but it may have been purchased about the time the new school building in the May district was constructed during the summer of 1905.

The Warren Township correspondent for The Chariton Leader reported on July 20, 1905, that "The contract for the new school house in May district has been let and the work of building is progressing. It will be 30 feet square with a vestibule and bell tower. For a rural school building it is to be modern and up-to-date in every particular."

A week earlier, The Leader had reported that "The schoolhouse in the May district has been removed preparatory to the work of building a new one. The old building has stood perhaps for about 33 years --- was built by Mr. Thomas Gay, the well known citizen of Chariton."

Classes continued in the May School until 1958, when the rural district was consolidated into the Chariton Community School District. Sharon's mother, Verle (Johnson) Reynolds, purchased the desk when many of the building's contents were sold and it was restored by Verle and her husband, Leonard.

Some years later, according to Sharon, her parents drove to Colorado on vacation and surprised her by bringing the desk along as a gift.

The May School building continued to serve its neighborhood as a community center until the mid-1990s, when it was closed, sold --- and moved to the Hunter Brothers Tree Farm northwest of Chariton where it continues to serve as the location for a seasonal Christmas holiday shop.

So now, both the May School and the teacher's desk it once contained have been relocated to Chariton. The school site is now a part of the ISU McNay Research Farm.

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