Friday, July 27, 2012

One Room Schoolhouse/Beechwood Town Hall (*P*S*C* #50)

One of my favorite book series (and TV show) is based upon the life and experiences of Laura Ingalls Wilder.
The "Little House" series captured a life of long ago where kids went to school in a one room schoolhouse, parents were hard-working, and life was tough at times.  But, oh for those calico dresses and bonnets!

When we were reminded that there was going to be a special event at the old  Beechwood schoolhouse - a BBQ and "tour" - Wes and I decided to go have a look at the place where his Grandfather attended school. The school was built in 1914.  After the Chicago and Northwestern Transportation Company made a railroad stop in Beechwood in 1888, a post office soon followed in 1889.  The next building project was Bethany Lutheran Church, built in 1912. (More on that later.)

By 1934, the school was no longer used as a school.  It was the Town Hall.  Currently, the Beechwood Historical Society is using the building and working on needed repairs.  Come along
now for a little tour with me!

You might ask where the building's bell tower is? Rumor has it that it was "borrowed" after the school closed, and it ended up in a nearby museum. Soon, it is going to be returned.  The historical rendering, below, shows the bell in its tower.  Meaning the tower will have to be rebuilt as well.

Once you walk up the steps, you can see two bathrooms side by side to the left. The
tour guide pointed out the unusual toilets and explained why they were unique.
Becuase this area gets so cold in the winter, the cylindrical water tank holds no water to freeze. What happens? The user sits on the "throne" causing the seat to have pressure as the weight of the user touches down (see the gap between toilet and seat?) causing the cylinder to fill up with water and allow flushing. Cool, huh?  Sure beats "going" ouside to an outhouse!

To the right of the entry is a small room, now a vintage kitchen. Originally, the room
was for the teacher's use. A cut-out was made to open up to the main room years later.

And now we get to the main room where all the learning took place nearly 100 years ago!
It is set up with tables for the Open House, but you can get the idea quite well as to
the room plan. The chalkboard and flag are original.

Isn't it interesting to think about the songs being played on this piano back in the day?

Many original one room schoolhouses can be found throughout our country, but
somehow knowing there is one in our cabin "neighborhood" is very special indeed.

Coming to this blog next: The Old Church

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