Opinion & Editorial

May is National Historic Preservation Month – Questions surrounding Old Schoolhouse history

Cal Lewis’s article, ”The Old Creswell school gives up some secrets,” in last week’s Chronicle gave some intriguing information about the construction of the building.
As the Creswell Heritage Foundation works to restore the building, we are faced with questions about the changes the building has undergone since its construction.
We know a lot from the narratives quoted below, but these questions remain: When did the building burn? When was it moved? What changes did the previous owners make?
We believe that some of the answers are tucked away in family letters, diaries, photos and stories. If you know of any such sources, please contact us and help us solve these questions and others that keep surfacing.
Following are excerpts from ”The Blue Valley: A History of Creswell,” published by the Creswell Area Historical Society (CAHS) in 1993. The italicized bold phrases relate to the unanswered questions.
Page 45-46: ”Then, on Nov. 1, 1871 a plat plan was filed, after Alvin Hughes and James Robinette each donated five acres of ground, for formation of the town of Creswell.
”The first school within the town limits was built in 1874 and was designated by the county to be District No. 40.” More recent evidence discovered by Monica Knight of the CAHS indicates that the date was 1875.
”This school was built between Fourth and Fifth streets on the north side of Oregon Avenue. It was a two-story building with one classroom downstairs and another upstairs. The first teacher was J. P. Curren and the average daily attendance was 30 pupils. This school is said to have housed the first high school south of Eugene City.
”The building still stands and is the oldest in Creswell …
”In 1898, the building was purchased by the Oregon Baptist Society, but not before it was moved from Oregon Avenue to its present location on the northwest corner of Second and D streets. The Society held services there sporadically until they disbanded in 1920. Today (1993) it houses the city library.”
Page 33: ”An August 1911 article in The Creswell Chronicle indicated that the Baptist Church was seeking financing to aid in the repair and painting of the church building at Second and D streets. It further stated that they were ‘meeting flattering success and the edifice will soon present a different appearance.’
”Then in October 1911, the following item appeared in The Chronicle… ‘The Baptist people have finished the carpenter work in repairing their church here and now endeavor to repaint and repaper the building. They hold services every Sunday morning and the Christian denomination occupy the building Sunday evenings.’ ”
Page 46: ”In November 1926, they sold the building to the Civic Improvement Club for $150. When the sale was final in February 1927 the Civic Club immediately began renovations. Many materials and much of the labor was donated. The first meeting of the club in their new building was held April 28, 1927.”
The Creswell Heritage Foundation will hold an open house at the old schoolhouse on the Fourth of July. We want to show you the interior before it is restored and point out some of the mysteries we seek to solve.



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