PHOTO PROVIDED/ CRESWELL HERITAGE FOUNDATION - Creswell's Old Schoolhouse.
In 2007, Creswell residents Marge Williamson and Carol Campbell undertook to have Creswell’s old schoolhouse listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The building had just been vacated because the volunteer library that occupied it since 1927 moved to a new location on Oregon Ave. and was assimilated into the tax-supported library district.
Marge and Carol recognized the significance of the building to Creswell’s history and hoped that being listed on the National Register would call attention to that significance and help in the effort to preserve it.
There are three qualifications that must be met for a building to receive this designation.
1) A building, structure, district, site or object, is generally at least 50 years old.
The schoolhouse was built in 1875, so it was 132 years old at the time of the application.
2) Historically significant (important events, significant people, architecture, engineering, or archeology) at the local, state, or national level.
The application provided the details of the building’s history on several levels. That history included the building’s association with important events and people at the local level throughout its history. It was also deemed significant as an example of the architecture of early settlement schools.
3) Retains historic integrity in a majority of seven aspects (Location, Design, Setting, Materials, Workmanship, Feeling, and Association).
After its use as a school from 1875 to 1900, the building was moved to its current location at 195 South 2nd St.
Here it housed the most significant activity of its long life.
As the clubhouse of the Creswell Civic Improvement Club it was the base of many community activities, including housing the volunteer library. For most current residents, the “feeling” and “association” aspects relate to that most recent activity as a volunteer library.
The full text of the nomination can be found on the National Park Services Register of Historic Places. The nomination number is 07001508.
Creswell's Old Schoolhouse, 2017.
Creswell Schoolhouse, present day.
In 2017, the Creswell Heritage Foundation (CHF) was organized with its first goal the restoration of the old schoolhouse. In the lingo of preservationists, that goal is more closely aligned to the term “rehabilitate.” Rehabilitation is defined as “the process of returning a property to a state of utility, through repair or alteration, which makes possible an efficient contemporary use while preserving those portions and features of the property which are significant to its historic, architectural, and cultural values.”
The project is five years in process. The exterior restoration was completed in 2021.
This year’s goal is to repair or replace and extend the electrical, plumbing and heating systems and build a new ADA compliant restroom. The work has been funded by generous grants and local donations.
The building will be on full display at an Open House on July 4, to which everyone is invited.
For more information see the Creswell Heritage Foundation website or e-mail [email protected]