Monday, July 17, 2017

Old School Treasures in Missouri

If you look up the definition of "old school" in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, you will find "characteristic or evocative of an earlier or original style."

In many ways that describes me, but it also describes a few treasures I've stumbled upon from Missouri's past.

A few weeks ago I found this gem tucked away on a side street in Old Towne St. Peters. Actually, my sister Kathleen showed me where it was. The plaque between the two windows tells the story.
St. Peters Public School, built in 1869.

St. Peters District 31 Public School was built in
1869 and closed in 1951 after it became
part of Fort Zumwalt consolidation.



The old Hope School can be found in the Village of Hope. It's two miles down the road from our "farm" in Osage County. The building is no longer used as a school, but local residents host social events there.



I snapped this photo of a quaint silver and red telephone booth a few years ago while giving a creative writing workshop at the Missouri State Teachers Association retreat in Bunker Hill. Don't see many of these any more.



The final photo is of Irving School, an architectural gem in North St. Louis, which opened in 1871 and was expanded in 1891 and 1894. I attended Irving for a few years in the 1950s. The building is no longer used as a school, but it still holds its old-world charm, and most likely its brick-oven heat in the summer.



My third-grade teacher at Irving made a lasting impression on me. An essay I wrote about her, "Miss Tobin's Special Gifts," will appear in KC Voices (Vol XIV) from Whispering Prairie Press in October.

How about you? Did you attend a one-room school house or an architecturally impressive school? Have you stumbled across any old school treasures?


21 comments:

  1. I wonder if the phone in the phone booth still works or if it's just for amusement/decoration? :)

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    1. Hi Madeline,
      I didn't try it out, so I'm not sure.

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  2. Congratulations on your upcoming publication. Oh how I remember that oppressive heat in the school room...and I was the teacher. I do like finding such treasures, and when we travel I always want to go off the beaten path to see the one room school houses.

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    1. Thanks, Linda. It is fun to find treasures on faraway places.

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  3. Thank you for this post, Donna! I did attend a one-room school house for a short time and have vivid and good memories of the experience. There are a lot of one-room schoolhouses still in existence in our county. The one my mother attended for eight years in the 1920s has been a community hall for years. We had two schoolhouses on our farm; the one my father attended has been preserved, but the other one was torn down years ago now.

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    1. Those memories make for an interesting story. I love hearing stories like that.

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  4. Oh, and Congratulations on your upcoming publication about your third grade teacher. Keep us posted.

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    1. Thanks, Clara. She was a special teacher.

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  5. Hi Donna. Is the Irving High School used for anything now? My old elementary school, all brick, has now been made into apartments. There are SO MANY memories from there. It's unbelievable. I remember the polished floors and huge doors and windows. Would love to take a walk in there now. Donna, hope you are feeling MUCH BETTER. Sincerely, Susan

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    1. Hi Susan,
      Actually Irving School has been turned into an apartment building.

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  6. Congrats on your upcoming publication!

    I did NOT attend a one-room schoolhouse, but my building was a very old, brick, two-story structure, with the cafeteria in the basement. It had hissing radiators and cloakrooms and doors with transoms and creaky wooden floors buffed to a glossy shine. I appreciate it much more now than I did as a second-grader!

    Sadly, it was torn down to make a paved playground area after the new elementary was built during my third grade year.

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  7. First, I can't wait to read your essay, and second, I still love the old buildings on the Lindenwood Campus in St. Charles!

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    1. There is so much history at Lindenwood. If the huge tree behind the fence could talk, imagine the stories it could tell.

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  8. Congrats on your publication!
    In southern Ohio there was a law that a school be provided every 5 miles. They are small one-room brick buildings, very sweet and quaint. There are many still standing, some as hay sheds, some as remodeled homes. I always wanted one of my own.

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    1. My favorite school I attended - and I attended at least ten I can remember - was an ancient 100-year old wooden three story plus a basement. I was in 5-6th grades and it was in the city of Cleveland, servicing a poor population. It had wide wooden stairways,transom windows, and iron fire escapes. The classrooms were situated around the edge of a big circular common hallway where we had gym and dance classes. We ate lunch at our desks, from lunchboxes or paper bags from home,warm milk and wilted sandwiches. Alas it was torn down and we were moved into a new modern, round school with pie-wedge shaped classrooms. I've tried to research the old school for my memoir but there isn't much info.

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    2. Your description is so vivid. Even if you can't find more about the school, the way you describe it puts me right there.

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  9. I love the pictures of the buildings (and the now-practically-extinct phone booth) One room schoolroom? Not me, but thinking about an assortment of ages in one room boggles my mind. It must have required a VERY patient teacher!

    Pat
    www.patwahler.com

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    1. P.S. Congrats on another publication credit!

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  10. Donna--Several years ago, I went on a trip to research my birth mother's past, and found the one-room schoolhouse she'd gone to. The thing I most remember: the outhouse was built on the edge of a steep hill, so the uh... stuff could roll down the hill.

    Congratulations on the publishing credit. I guess you can't provide a link, can you?

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    1. Hi Sioux, Maybe that's where the phrase came from that it rolls downhill. Thanks. I'm excited to be in the magazine. Mary H. has a short story in the same issue. I will provide a link when the editor sends one with the new cover.

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Old School Treasures in Missouri

If you look up the definition of "old school" in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, you will find "characteristic or evocative o...