Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Old Lunenburg Schoolhose (Just Prior to Collapse and just After)

It is our understanding that the Old Lunenburg Schoolhouse and Oddfellows Hall stood until it collapsed in 1989. These fantastic photos document the building just prior to the collapse and just after. Our deepest gratitude to Duane Cooper for having the foresight to get these shots of the school before it was gone forever!

 From the Izard County Historian (Volume 7 Number 4):

"The community was not able to start construction on the long awaited school until about the year 1868. This was also the year in which the state laws placed a three mill tax on real estate. This was to be used for school purposes. There was nothing in Arkansas’ first constitution forbidding a school tax in districts where such tax was needed. There is evidence that the patrons of Lunenburg may have voted to tax themselves. 10 Even with a three mill tax the district needed the help of the entire community to put into operation the kind of school that was needed to meet the requirements of the growing population. A meeting was called and a request for volunteers went out. Services and material was pledged and the work started. A stand of pine trees was donated. Men volunteered to cut and haul the logs to sawmills. Time was donated to cut the logs into lumber and return it to the building site. Much of the labor of building was also donated. Two of the carpenters known to have helped in the construction of the new building were William Ragan and E. G. Landers. Joseph Ragan,father of William is credited with much of the work. He hand planed all of the inside paneling and ceiling boards as well as the outside weatherboarding. Planer mills had not yet come into use. A well attended I.O.O.F. Lodge was willing to cooperate with the school in the building venture. The Lodge agreed to furnish one-half of all materials and labor if they could use the second story as their meeting place.The two-story building atop the hill overlooking the little village was an impressive sight to the residents. They added still another distinction. There was no bell in the entire county to notify pupils that it was time to assemble. It was decided that the best possible bell be purchased for the school that had been built with love and care by the residents of Lunenburg. The empty belfry awaited the slow process of transportation to bring its cargo to port.The bell was brought by steamboat to Wild Haws Landing(now Guion) and thence to Lunenburg by ox wagon driven by two local residents. Legend has it that Starlin Smith,then a lad, was one of the drivers of the oxen. It was necessary to use oxen as the fine horses brought here from Kentucky and Tennessee by some of the settlers had all been conscripted during the recent conflict or had been taken by bushwhackers. But at last the bell was in place.Its clear, loud tone brought people in from miles around. It was one of the proudest possessions of the little town. For almost a full century its musical sound was enjoyed by old and young alike. It had a special meaning to all who had listened for its call on cold, frosty mornings as they hurried to school. Old ladies shed tears and old men shook their heads in disbelief when it was learned that the bell had been removed by thieves whose identity has not been established. Such was their love for the old bell. The two-story building was maintained as a school for grades one through eight. However, high school subjects were taught there by capable teachers who did not mind extra duty. As has been previously mentioned,the church and school exchanged property. The main purpose in exchanging lots was to preserve the old school building, the church members being willing to use the building as their place of worship. The present stone structure was occupied by the school until the year 1948-1949 when that district consolidated with Melbourne district and a bus route was established. This brought an end to a way of life that had long been maintained. The school and church had been the hub of the little town. One by one the places of business moved away or closed down. At this point in time it is hard to visualize all the activity that once stirred within Lunenburg."


1 comment:

Tony S said...

My grandpa went to school there. Sad to see it fall. By the way, love your blog and any history and information you provide about local places.