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Monday, March 21, 2011

DAVIS BRANCH ONE ROOM SCHOOLHOUSE

DAVIS BRANCH ONE ROOM SCHOOL HOUSE
This past weekend my son and I rode the back-roads toward a place called Climax to stock up on some fresh spring water. It was a gorgeous sunny day in the 70s. We filled many gallon containers and then decided to take a ride looking  for some disappearing fragments of the area's culture.  


One thing we wanted to do was to stop and check out an old one room schoolhouse we had noticed previously.  We were in luck as the owner of the schoolhouse was available to fill us in on some of the background of the old building.
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MIKE HEIMS -- NOW OWNER AND FORMER STUDENT OF THE DAVIS BRANCH ONE-ROOM SCHOOLHOUSE  IN THE BACKGROUND
Mike Heims is the owner of the Davis Branch Schoolhouse. He represents its past as he was a student there from the first grade through the eighth grade. He has a store of memories related to the school.. 

Mike has lived in his family home, about fifty yards from the original site of Davis Branch School, for most of his life. Attending school and farming with his dad filled much of his early life. In his adult life he has worked in the building trades and continues still  at age 68. 

SCHOOLHOUSE ENTRANCE
They closed the school 53 years ago. A new larger school was built a few miles away that took in the surrounding students that attended one-room schoolhouses. Thus Davis Branch was closed two years after he left it. 

Eventually the school and property were auctioned off  with the winning bid going to Mike. He paid about four hundred dollars for it. He bought it for its memories and the fact that it sat right next to his family's farm.. .  

POTBELLY  STOVE
Mike shared several stories about the school with us. Here is one of them.


The school was heated by a coal burning potbelly stove which  still resides in its original place. Older boys, during certain school days, gathered tree twigs in the nearby woods for kindling.  The teacher hired Mike to start up the stove before she and the students arrived in the morning. She paid him a nickel a day for his services. A load of coal sat behind the schoolhouse -- close to where the two outhouses were -- one for the girls and one for the boys. 


OLD METAL ROOF MEETS SIDE WEATHER-BOARDING


The metal roof is in fairly good shape. 


SCHOOLHOUSE WITH ROCK PILINGS
Mike admits that the schoolhouse's structure is struggling. He won't sell  --  it has too many memories for him. It is all original -- wood weather- board siding and metal roof. The windows are original -- the bottom sash was opened to let the cooler air drift inside to cool off the students during warm days.. 

RECTANGULAR FORM WITH ROCK PILINGS FOUNDATION.
STAIRS TO FRONT DOOR ARE CUT LIMESTONE SLABS. 
Overall the schoolhouse has a gable sided entrance. There is only one door to the interior, six windows for light -- three on each adjacent side, all within a beautiful country setting.

The school sits like an elderly gentleman gracefully adding its own history to the landscape. 

30 comments:

  1. Fabulous find... I just love these old buildings, and hearing their history from someone who has their own history with it, a special day indeed. Thank you for sharing.

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  2. We still have a one room schoolhouse in my county. I knew one of the former teachers who told me many a tale about some of the students in her day!

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  3. I so enjoy your posts. This school house is amazing & the pictures were so much more enjoyable with his memories. These old school house buildings are disappearing so fast, thanks for sharing your day with us. I envy the wonderful spring water you must be enjoying too.

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  4. What a great find -- and the stove there too.

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  5. I love the old school house. I hope it can be preserved and not let fall apart. I would have bought it too, for that price. He got it at a bargain price. My sisters and mom went to a 2 room school house, it closed the year before I started school.

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  6. What a wonderful story and bit of history, it's such a great thing to preserve cultural places from days gone by. It must be a truly special place in his heart. I love visiting old sites and places that preserve history: pure magic, and quite frankly make me wish I could have tasted a bit of that way of life, before all the craziness of the modern world took over.

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  7. Rose -- I've believe in the adage that in order to know where you are going you need to know where you have been. It does seem like we are moving at lightning speed in our culture -- hardly catching our breath. I want to say you have a wonderful blog -- Dandelion Vegan Blog. It is very informative and your presentation is fantastic. -- barbara

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  8. Janet -- I like architecture that reflects who we are as a people. I find that vernacular does it best for me. Education in small groups in schoolhouses seems ideal compared to the mega schools we have today. Wonderful that your sisters had an opportunity to attend a 2 room school. -- barbara

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  9. Vicki -- thanks for the comment -- Mike was full of information and a very friendly person to boot.

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  10. Auntea -- the spring water is so cold and refreshing coming right out of the mountainside. It's located far into the "boonies" so there are no farm pesticides or herbicides in the water. Thanks for the nice comments about the old schoolhouse. -- barbara

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  11. Farmchick -- Is the school still operating? Would be delightful if it still was. I have a copy of an old hand drawn map of all the old locations of one room school houses in Madison County. I would like to hunt them down however I think many would be no longer there. thanks -- barbara

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  12. Reflections -- Glad you stopped by. Always nice to have visitors that appreciate some of our heritage. I feel fortunate to meet such wonderful folks, like Mike, when I am gathering information for a post. -- barbara

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  13. What a lovely old building, if only those walls could talk :)

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  14. Its amazing ,

    i am surprised to see this oldest one room schoolhouse.But i found the post really interesting.Thanks for sharing ,i enjoyed.

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  15. Wonderful photos and story. The photos just got better and story just kept getting better and better. My favorite thing is the smile on Mike's face, so proud of his schoolhouse. The forsythia bush adds a nice splash of color and feel of spring. Super post. Thanks

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  16. ann -- Nice that you enjoyed the one room schoolhouse. They are fading fast on our landscape. Living in an old schoolhouse could be rather funky. -- barbara

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  17. Jayne -- Thanks for stopping by. I feel the old walls can talk somewhat. At least that is how I felt when Mike showed us the inside with its old blackboards and wear mark on the walls. -- barbara

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  18. Grampy -- Mike was a very friendly man that loved talking about his schoolhouse. I felt fortunate that he took the time to open up the school to let us observe how it was set up inside. The blackboards had a beautiful old sheen to them. I appreciate your warm comments -- so glad that you enjoyed the photos and story -- barbara

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  19. Wonderful post and your last line is pure poetry!

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  20. Daphne -- thanks for the very nice words about my post. Will be checking out your post soon -- barbara

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  21. The brick one-room school my grandfather attended in Howard County Indiana is still standing and in good condition. Wonderful post, B.

    I also enjoyed your post on the old metal glider. My great-grandparents had one on their front porch. So peaceful.

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  22. Tess -- It is always nice to hear that some of these old relics of our educational system are still surviving. Gliders are part and parcel of old front porches in this area. They contribute to the character of the area. thanks -- barbara

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  23. How wonderful that Mike owns of a piece of his past history. That old pot-bellied stove is a beauty. Wish I could have seen more of the inside.

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  24. Where I grew up in rural Southern Indiana, there was a one-room school house about a mile away. I lived on the "other" side of the township line so went to school in a town 3 miles away. When I was in the 5th grade that one-room school house was closed and the students [I think about 25 in grades 1 through 6] were bussed to the school I attended. Our class of about 45 jumped to over 50 students and later the largest class ever to graduate from the town school. [A few years later it was combined with a district school in another town.] One of the girls from that one-room school had already become a good friend of mine as her mother and mine were warm friends. The closing of the school was a big change for the students and a milestone in a series of changes in rural education in the late '40 and '50s. I'm wracking my memory but I can't remember if that school building was still standing two years ago when I was last near there. In my mind's eye it seems smaller than the one you have pictured here. I hadn't thought of it for several years.

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  25. JUNE -- Your class of 45 students was about the same number as mine was in elementary school. This was in the latter 40s. I was from a small town (now gobbled up into a metropolis) that had a fairly good sized grade school but was inflated by WWII war-bride children.

    Closing of one-room schoolhouses was surely a gigantic change for many. Many theories abound whether this produced better educated students.

    If you ever get back to Southern Indiana perhaps you can check to see if the old schoolhouse is still standing. Would be fun to see it on one of your posts even though you didn't attend it.

    --barbara

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  26. Mama-Bug -- the lighting inside the school house was very dark. I feel fortunate that I got the pot-belly stove. I would have liked to have gotten the very old blackboards, they were unique -- very primitive. -- barbara

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  27. Old schoolhouses are a treasure of the past, but what a struggle to maintain vestiges of that earlier education. Our local township board tries to cut our schoolhouse out of the budget, but the voters in town meeting were wiser and increased funding. Imagine - raising our own taxes (not by much, but nevertheless ...)
    Thanks for the kind comments you've left recently on my blog.

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  28. Chris -- I enjoy and read your blog almost every day. I am a novice when it comes to identifying parts of the natural world -- its mystery and behavior are thought provoking.

    Great that your local township's citizens saved the schoolhouse. These charming old schools can give back to the community four-fold. -- barbara

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  29. I just love your photos.. Many bring back thoughts to me. My father in law taught in such a school house in West Virginia.,
    BTW thank you for checking my blog So Many Years. I am a novice at quilting being urged by a friend after I retired to do this and now I love it
    I love the story telling you do with your photos as it is so much fun to read. Thank you for following my blog too.

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  30. Diane -- I have always admired folks that are artistic with their hands. Fascinating that you picked up your craft after you retired. You probably had a latent ability that emerged later in life. Thanks for the nice comments -- I do appreciate them -- barbara

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