Old school gets new life with Denmark Township Historical SocietyRichard Hollander’s first real job was to bank the fire at Valley School each night and stoke it up again in the morning so students and the teacher would be warm.
By: Judy Spooner, South Washington County Bulletin
Richard Hollander’s first real job was to bank the fire at Valley School each night and stoke it up again in the morning so students and the teacher would be warm.
Last week, he returned the school that he left in 1946 when he was in both seventh and eighth grades. The school was closed that year and 12 students were sent to Hastings schools.
Hollander, and Carrol Fuhr, also a Valley School student, were among those who attended a May Day celebration last week hosted by the Denmark Historical Society, the new owners of the school that has been storing carpet for the Peterson family business since 1972.
Hollander recalled families named Walker, Fox, Johnson and Kanga who sent students to the school just off the final bend of County Road 22, also known as St. Croix Trail, where it ends at an intersection with Point Douglas Road.
“I listened to what was taught to all the kids in the other grades,” Hollander told the group of Denmark Township officials, residents and society members who attended the transfer of ownership from Dean Peterson to the society. “So by the time you got to eighth grade, you were pretty smart.”
Hollander and Fuhr remember going on field trips that included the State Capitol in cars driven by Mother’s Club members.
Hollander said the club was very important in supporting the school.
The club also sponsored “many a game of College Whist,” Fuhr said that raised money for the school.
The school began in 1844 when teacher Sarah Judd held classes in the William Dibble home in Point Douglas until a log school was built in 1850. It burned down and was replaced with the current building that appears to have had an addition where children hung their jackets and kept their lunch pails.
Wayne Boyd, historical society president, who signed the purchase agreement with the Peterson family, said he thought the school was a tool shed when he first saw it in 2002, and has since done much research on the school and the settlement.
There were about 20 homes and 135 people living in Point Douglas in the late 1800’s, he said.
The campaign to buy the school began in January of this year, Boyd said, and 69 donors contributed the initial $40,000 to buy it with another $40,000 due by May 1, 2013.
It will also take an additional $45,000 to restore the building and get it accepted and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The society also plans to submit grant requests for restoration money.
Donations to Save Our School, a non-profit organization along with the society, can be sent to society treasurer Lauren Cran, 7777 Quadrant Ave. S., Hastings MN 55033.
Engraved pavers are available for $250. Donors of $1,000 or more will get a signed copy of “Train Pictures 1946-1957; A History of the Golden Age of U.S. Railroading” by Charles McCreary, a historical society member, and have their names on a bronze plaque to be installed at the end of the campaign.