ORIGINS

I grew up in a small Ohio town, and I rode the school bus from 1st through 12th grades. My bus ride always included a country road on which every school day we saw a one-room brick school house. (SW corner of Stine Rd and Enon-Xenia Pike). As the years went by, I watched this wonderful, familiar friend fall apart. After I married, the school really began to deteriorate. Every time we visited the area I would want to take a photo of the school, but never did. Finally, when we went specifically for the task, the school was gone. It was a huge loss for me and, since that time, whenever we pass a one-room school, it is a joy to stop to take a picture or two. Thus, our collection here, and the one with schools in other states. Jill :oD

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sharon #9, Evergreen/Sharon School

Now a residence, this old school still has its bell tower.  From Kalona, proceed north on State Highway 1 to 560th St, and then turn east and drive one mile to Hazelwood Ave.  The school is on the SW corner, and faces south.
Photographed on 9/25/11

5 comments:

Andrea Farrier said...

I was loooking online for information about Evergreen School in Kalona, Iowa and came across your post. Evergreen is my house! (We're actually moving in a week, but I was trying to gather all my info to pass along to the new owners.) It is a treasure, and has been a distinct privilege to get to steward this old school and its many stories the past five years. Thanks for your work in helping people recognize the importance of these historic treasures.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Hi Andrea,

Thanks for stopping by. We found your school by looking at a 1912 map which has the locations of all the schools in the county, so we drive around looking at the sites to see what is still standing. Any info about the school which you'd like to post here, we'd appreciate it.

As you can tell from our "origins" of the blog, it was the loss of a 1-room school my wife always wanted to photograph which got us started on this quest.

I took a quick look at your profile and saw that you are a teacher, and home-school. Very good for you! We home-schooled our children after getting fed up with the government schools, leaving them when our oldest was starting 9th grade and the youngest starting 6th. It was a real blessing.

Andrea Farrier said...

Be careful giving invitations to shave information to one-room-school owners. We can be a long-winded crowd. :)

Here's what I know about District 9 Evergreen School:

The original Evergreen School was located either on the same property, or across the road (I'm a little unclear there). It was built, I believe in 1864, and also had a lovely windbreak of Evergreen trees.

In 1928 they built this building, and planted a new row of Evergreens. At one point in the 40's (1946, maybe?) it was the largest by population in the state. I believe it had 60 kids. (Again - details a little fuzzy...)

Evergreen was a an Amish and English (non-Amish) school. It was, I believe, the last public one-room schoolhouse in Iowa to close. I'm pretty sure its last year was 1974. (The legislature in Iowa passed a law allowing the Amish to have their own educational system, which made the one-room school houses largely obsolete, since most people preferred the town schools by then.)

The building sat empty until 1976, when an artist bout it because he loved its large windows and natural light. Several years later, and art professor from the U of I bought the home and did more conversions to make it a family home for himself, his wife, and their son.

The next owners were a home schooling family who had 12 children - 10 of whom lived here. Mom, Dad, 9 boys, and 1 girl occupied Evergreen until June of 2007, when we moved in.

In 2009 we hosted a reunion, and had around 75 people attend. They shared their very fond memories. One man had only gone to Kindergarten here before moving away, he he had such a connection to the place (even from his brief time here) that he wanted to come to the reunion.

In particular, people shared their loyalty. It really meant something to have come from Evergreen. They had a school song, a school cheer, and were undefeated at home in the popular softball tournaments of the time, since no one else could ever pitch downhill in the Evergreen ball field (now the pasture).

I cannot even begin to describe how much we've loved our time in Evergreen School. It's been especially fun, as a home schooling family, to be able to say we live in an old school house. I think I understand why so many people attended the reunion and feel such love for this place.

Thanks for letting me share!

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

WOW!!! Thank you so much for that information!!

So far our collection takes three albums and everything we find out about the schools we have photos of, is in the album with the school, so you information - currently being read by Jill (she said "How wonderful!!") - will be put with our photos.

We started this blog 2 years ago as a place to share our hobby. First all states were together, but within a year I decided to split off other states because now that we live in Iowa, most schools we get are Iowa schools. Which is why we have two blogs. It's always fun to have someone find the blogs and comment about the schools, whether as ex-students or current owners. We even have one school a mile north of us which was just purchased by new owners last month and they found our blog while searching for information about their home.

Thank you so much for your time writing all that up. One never knows - perhaps someday we'll do a book about our photos!

Andrea Farrier said...

What a wonderful hobby! Best of luck. Hope you do write that book someday. :) Of course, I have more info, including some specific memories that people wrote down during the reunion. I also have pics of the inside, if that would be interesting. In fact, here is a website I created when we were getting ready to sell the house. It has some more pics, etc...

https://sites.google.com/site/evergreenschoolfsbo/home

It is going to be very hard to leave. This was kind of a 'coming full circle' experience for us,living here. My husband and I actually met at a birthday party of a friend of mine who also lived in a one-room school house. :)

Thankfully, the new owners are friends of ours. Not only do I know they'll take great care of the place, but we'll also be able to come and visit often.