Thursday, October 22, 2015

Changing of the schools

The old school
Sometime in late 1950 or thereabouts, the powers that were evidently decided, perhaps with some consternation, that the Fairfield school needed to be replaced.

At least one reference to the building appeared in the 1915 August Reifel history of Franklin County, where the school was described as a "fine two-story structure."


One wonders what condition the building was in when the decision came to replace it. A few Fairfielders are around who attended the old school.

Two rooms, with the first four classes on the first floor and the upper four classes on the second floor. Toilets outdoors, wood stoves for heating. Um, talk to the tune of the hickory stick.

Russel Poe built the new school, paid in two installments of about $3,500 each.

The Brookville newspapers didn't make a very big deal of it, which comes as no surprise but the legal advertising was published, per state law.

The new school opened on Sept. 7, 1951, with an enrollment of 91 students, according to a census from Superintendent Marcus Esarey. "Mrs. Helen Beesley will teach the primary department."

Chester Bosse taught the upper three grades and Opal Hogue taught the middle room.

Where went the old building?

"The Fairfield School building and its contents were sold at public auction Saturday afternoon. The two story, two room building was bought by Robert Lanning of Brookville for $860. It will be torn down and moved from the site by January 1, 1952."

Lanning dismantled the old building and used most of it to build a house on East 6th Street in Brookville, which is still standing with major modifications from its original construction.

Later, the replacement school (called the Metal School) was demolished by Steve Bruns, who used some of the materials for farming purposes. That was in 1967.

The new school
I did find one curious item from October 1951 that makes little sense. "Word has been received here that Mr. Taylor, a teacher in the Fairfield School, was seriously injured in an automobile collision as he was enroute to his home at Cannelton, Indiana, for the weekend."

I find no "Mr. Taylor" listed as a teacher at Fairfield. Whatever happened to him probably connects to the auto crash. In any event, the oddities of newspaper reporting in those days can be mind-boggling.

A lot of Fairfield Township school history is covered in other blog items here as well a in a memorial publication by Marilyn Luke Gausman and Julie Schlesselman that's available at the Brookville library.

The book is chock-full of photos, recollections and personal stories, including the names of the teachers over the decades, dating back to at least 1873.

As an aside, Mrs. Beesley earned about $270 a month; a variety of men served as principal, earning slightly more than that. Transportation costs in the early days were about $200 a month, which included busing students to Brookville.


No comments:

Post a Comment