Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Now if I could just figure out which school it was ...

I've been intrigued for years by this small building, obviously once a Lucas County rural school, that sits just south of Chariton Monument Co. across Highway 14 from the Chariton Cemetery. It's a ways back from the road at the tree line and less noticeable now because a display of new Spring Valley Sheds products has been moved into place in front of it.

Anyhow, Bill Ashby --- now of Clermont --- was back in town late Tuesday afternoon for a statewide gathering of city council members and stopped at the museum to visit before heading to the square to visit with Mary Stout Stierwalt at Family Shoe. Bill worked part-time at the shoe store when he was a student and so, as Mary wrote in a Facebook post, "we bought Bill with the store." He went on to be a an educator and school administrator, now retired.

When Bill was a boy, the area where the old school stands --- along with adjoining territory (including Spring Lake before it was drained) --- was part of an acreage owned by his grandfather, also a Bill Ashby (William H. Ashby, 1893-1976, widely known farmer, rural mail carrier and master gardener). There also was a barn nearby and Bill remembers walking down to the acreage, where his grandfather kept livestock, from the family home some distance to the north as well as boyhood adventures in the woods beyond.

Anyhow, I asked Bill what he know about the little building and he remembered that his grandfather had moved it to the site from elsewhere in the county to use for storage. Where it came from, he didn't know. He did remember, however, that his grandfather also had owned an acreage south of Lucas where a school once had been located, but didn't know if there was a relationship.

Dozens and dozens of these old Lucas County school buildings lost their purpose in life when rural districts were consolidated during the 1950s and early 1960s. As a rule the resulting consolidated districts sold off the buildings and they were moved elsewhere to serve other purposes. The buildings were small, sturdy and relatively easy to transport. This building is very similar to Puckerbrush, moved to the museum campus in 1968 from northwest Lucas County.

It looks like the original doorway, probably located in the south gable end, was moved around the corner into a former window opening when the big slider door was installed.

Anyhow, I was happy to have this information but of course would be a little happier if I knew exactly which school this once had been. If anyone has any ideas, let me know.

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