We are currently renovating the Nickellton school, a one room schoolhouse built in 1901, to the original look of the 1940's. This blog shares the restoration process while taking you back to some of the stories and images of the school. Before, during, and after images will also be shared. The Nickellton School is located in Nickellton in Macon County, Missouri. It has not been in use since 1952 when it closed.
You make a pie and put it in a pretty decorated box. Bring it to the Nickellton festival and enter it into the Pie Supper Auction. Oral auction begins at 3:00PM. Traditionally you would then eat your supper with the person who bought your box. But we will let you eat with who you like. All the proceeds of the auction will go to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Stories and Memorabilia to share
Pie in decorated box
Directions from Atlanta, Missouri (point A): Go North on Hwy 63 from Macon to Atlanta, turn right onto Hwy M, continue about 9 miles to Olive Ave. (point B) and turn left, continue about 2.5 miles to Hwy MM and turn right, continue about 1 mile to Oxbow Rd. turn left. Come to the first house on the left and you will be directed to park.
I promised a sneak peek of the inside of the school and here it is. The windows are encased with the original trim. The wainscoting is original and the floor is the original flooring put in during the late 1940's. The walls have been updated to drywall instead of laths and plaster, but the texture of the walls has been made to look and feel like plaster walls. It really looks like the school my Mother remembers. I have arranged the pictures to show before the renovation and after the work completed up to this point.
We still need to finish the baseboard, the chalk board, the lighting, and the details of the school that will bring the school even closer to its original look. We are planning a Nickellton School Pie Supper Reunion October 15th, 2011. Save the date and begin collecting stories and memorabilia to share that day. More information to come at a later date. More stories to come after school is out.
New year, new look. No, I am not talking about a personal extreme makeover. I'm talking about Nickellton School's extreme makeover. Take a look. Hard to believe the before and after. I bet if the school looked itself in the mirror it would say "Oh baby. My face lift's look'n good." We should have been on Extreme Makeover School Edition; I do believe there is such a show.
This was taken in 1910.
This picture was taken in 1989.
Before the new siding went on this fall we stapled a copy of this picture onto the old ship lap siding next to the window where grandpa is standing in this picture. According to this picture we placed the copy just above grandpas head. But don't look for the picture in the above picture because it is not there. It is now under the new siding in the bottom picture. But don't look for it there, because it is covered up with siding. Hee Hee
This picture was taken last spring, just before starting the extreme makeover.
This picture was taken this fall during the process of putting new siding on the school. We were hoping to find the old school district sign that you can see in the first picture, but it was not there. However if you look closely between the two ladders you can see where the sign once hung. You can also see the outline of the porch.
WOW! EEE! What a transformation!
Hard to believe it actually looks alot like the original school. Just some weathering updates. We are going to work on the bell tower and the chimney at a later time. The inside of the school is taking shape too. Tune in next time for a sneek peek.
Do you have fond memories of Christmas as a child? Every year Nickellton School would celebrate Christmas by hosting a Christmas Festival. The school would come to life with tinsel and pine garland and a Christmas Tree. The stage depicted a scene by the fireplace and all the comforts of home. Parents and community members would gather at the school in the afternoon to watch the children perform the Christmas Festival program.
The children would memorize verses, short stories, lines for a Christmas play, and songs. Grandpa Willie Borron, at the age of 6, stood before a crowd of parents, fellow classmates, and community members to say his first recitation, "Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat, please put a penny in the old mans hat. If you haven't gotta penny, a half penny will do. If you haven't got a half penny, God bless you." My mother, Charlotte Borron, sang for the Christmas Festival in 1951, she was in the 4th grade. Her white crate paper dress with red bows was made by her sister, Shirley Borron.
Ronnie Perry and Charlotte Borron singing a duet.
Joyce Crawford and Sarah Demmitt
Mickey Farmer, Judy Perry, Katie Farmer, and James Replogle
Ronnie Perry and Charlotte Borron
A couple weeks before the Christmas Festival the children would draw names for the gift exchange after the Christmas program. The gifts were simple yet thoughtful, handkerchiefs and Blue Waltz Perfume for the girls, little dime cars and trucks for the boys. Other gifts were coloring books, magic slates, and Old Maid cards. The teacher, who had little resources to give gifts, often gave the students pencils, candy, and fruit. Miss Ida May Parren had the children decorate wooden trinket boxes to give to their parents for Christmas Gifts.
One year the teacher instructed a group of boys to cut enough pine branches to adorn the stage in festive greenery. The boys knew the exact tree to use, the tree just up the road from the entrance to the Borron home place on the north side of the road. They didn't cut the tree down, but instead cut off all the branches on the north side of the tree. The little tree survived, but grew lop sided having branches only on the south side of the tree. Strangely enough this pine tree became a part of my childhood Christmas memories as I always knew we had arrived at Grandpa's house when the pine tree came into my view on the horizon. The tree lived through many years of ice storms, tornados, and the wear and tear of children using it's branches. The pine tree finally died and was cut down in 2009. I miss that tree.
I hope you have enjoyed reminiscing. Have a Merry Christmas!
The blogging has slowed down, but not to worry many more stories to come. Stay tuned for stories about discipline, carnivals and festivals, the pot bellied stove, and many more.
The restoration of the Nickellton School has come to an abrupt halt. It is much easier to do the demolition and prep-work, than it is to put it back together again. Remember Humpty Dumpty and his great fall.
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall;
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the King's horses
And all the King's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again!
I'm a optimist. I think the King's men eventually put Humpty Dumpty back together. It just took the King's men longer than expected. They probably had to make the glue, hollow out an egg shaped mold, build scaffolding around the mold, and then climb the scaffolding to put the pieces back in the correct places.
The King's men haven't even arrived on the scene at the Nickellton School, so you can imagine the wait time.
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Snips and snails, and puppy dogs tails, and... skunks.
That's what little boys are made of !
It was a school day in 1941 when the trapping incident sent Miss Mildred Henry to find a handkerchief to cover her nose. In the days of one room school houses one of the favorite past times for boys was trapping. Back in those days there were boyhood requirements and one was knowing how to make and set a trap, and the other was knowing how to get as dirty as possible. The boys did have goals, one was to trap any varmint they could, and the other was to create as much mischief as possible.
Jim Nickell was in the 8th grade and Leland Moyer was in the 3rd grade. Jim loved to trap any varmint he could and he was quite good at it. Everyday the two boys walked to school checking all of Jim's traps. Of course Jim took it upon himself to train Leland to be the second best trapper in the Nickellton area. Jim was the best. Part of the training was not only to learn to make and set a trap, but to take the animal out of the trap. Jim had shown Leland how to take out coons, opossum, squirrel, and fox. On the day the two trapped the skunk it was time for Leland to show Jim his training in action. Leland trusted Jim and knew he could do it. Plus he wanted to show an 8th grader he was fully capable of taking on a young man's task.
Leland proceeded to open the trap door just slightly. He stuck his hand inside reaching as far back as he could, nothing. Nothing was in the trap. Then the two boys heard scratching coming from the back of the trap, so Jim told Leland to get a long stick to poke at the skunk prodding it to move closer to the front of the trap. Nothing happened, the skunk wouldn't move. By that time the school bell was about to ring and they needed to get the skunk out quick or come back to it after school. Well the two boys couldn't wait all day. So Jim told Leland, "We'll shake it out. When I start shaking, you open the trap door." It worked. The skunk landed on the ground sprayed Leland all down his front side, and then it ran up the outside of Jim's pant leg spraying everywhere. The boys stunk and the skunk had escaped.
Jim and Leland stunk so bad they almost got sick right there by the trap. They knew they had to go to school because they would be in big trouble coming home smelling like a skunk. But they also knew they would be sent home from school if they went to school smelling like a skunk. It had just rained that morning so the grass was wet and there were puddles of water all along the trail to school. Jim and Leland rolled in the wet grass to get the stink off, didn't work. They pounced into every mud puddle along the way, practically bathing in the mud. Nothing was working. By the time they got to school they had been counted absent and the lessons had begun.
They didn't even get a chance to step into the classroom as Miss Henry, handkerchief in hand covering her nose and mouth, could smell them coming and met them in the hall. In fact the entire school was in an uproar over the smell coming from the hall. All the students were pinching their noses to avoid the smell. It wasn't possible to avoid the smell. Jim and Leland were covered head to toe in mud, their clothes soaked clean through and the smell was radiating from their bodies in a green halo. Miss Henry directed Jim and Leland to go to the porch, but that was not far enough way. She did not ask what happened, but quickly sent them home and instructed them not to come back until the smell was gone. The smell didn't leave the school house all day, even with all the windows open and a nice breeze.
Leland did try trapping one more time. He caught a field mouse.
Tune in next time for more updates.
Picture: Mildred Henry-Bragg with some of her students. We think Leland is in this picture, but not sure.
Lots has happened since we started the process of restoring the Nickellton School. It was a complete mess.
Then the Washington Woodsmen gutted the inside of the entire building.
Charlotte removed nails left after taking off the plaster lathe.
Then Kurt and Dad put in new windows.
We put in a new door.
The holes were fixed for mouse and varmint proofing.
To get ready for the foam insulation we put in new electrical wiring. Electricity was added to the school house around 1948. Before that time the school used the natural lighting from the windows. If an evening event took place kerosene lamps were used.
Notice the outlets are about 4 feet up the wall, not close to the floor. Electricity was new, many homes did not have electrical outlets. The electrical outlets were place high on the walls to keep small children from harm. Hmm... not a bad idea.
The foam insulation has been slightly delayed as the insulators have no way to get to the Nickellton School. Mom and Dad are now on a island. All bridge roads are closed as you can see below.
Bear Creek to the southwest of the house.
Salt River to the east of the house.
Bear Creek to the north. When I took this picture the bridge was still open. As soon as I crossed the bridge they closed the road. Within 10 minutes of crossing the bridge the water was over the road on the east side of the bridge.
Tune in next time to see if the school finally got foamed. Sounds like some kind of prank.