Denmark Township Historical Society takes ownership of historic school
Two former students of the Valley School in Denmark Township joined more than 50 other guests to witness the re-birth May 1 of the schoolhouse, built in 1852 in the former village of Point Douglas.
Richard Hullander and Carroll Fuhe shared several memories with guests who witnessed the official transfer of ownership of the school to the Denmark Township Historical Society.
"When I was 14 years old, I had my first job opening the school in the morning, starting the fire and doing some cleaning," said Hullander. "Sometimes we kids would take our rifles to school so we could shoot squirrels on the way home. We had a lot of fun."
The Valley School closed in 1946 and students began going to school in Hastings.
A highlight of this year's May Day event was a group of children carrying baskets of flowers to symbolize new life for the school. The children thanked the adults for saving the school. The children also enjoyed "trying out" a pair of old desks in the school, which had been brought in for the occasion.
Dean Peterson, whose family has owned the school since 1972, presented a symbolic key to Denmark Township Historical Society President Wayne Boyd and expressed his pleasure that his own children will be able to visit the restored school some day. Guests cheered when society member Bob Voigt announced the successful completion of Phase I of the campaign, raising $40,000 to meet a May 1 deadline.
"Thanks to all the generous people in the community who made donations," he said. "We are now the official owners of Valley School."
The society will raise another $40,000 by May 1, 2013, to complete the purchase, and an additional $45,000 to restore the building.
Members will work with educators and board of education representatives to develop classroom experiences for children in the restored school. They also will offer free public events and programs on historic topics in the schoolhouse.
Boyd talked about the historic value of school site, where the Saint Croix and Mississippi rivers meet, in the former town of Point Douglas.
"There is a lot of history here," he said, "And we want to help people learn about it."
More information about the SOS: Save Our School project is available from campaign committee co-chairs Jean Boyd, 651-436-8031, firstname.lastname@example.org; and Sharon Lewandowski, 651-436-5664, email@example.com. Donations can be sent to Treasurer Lauren Cran, 7777 Quadrant Ave. S., Hastings MN 55033.
Information is also available on the Society's website at dthsmn.org.