Local Black School featured in new book on Missouri schoolhouses
December 7, 2016
A local school house is one of 60 being featured in a recent book published by the Missouri Extension Office in Greene County. Black School, the one-room schoolhouse preserved at the Barry County Museum, is one featured in the pages of the book available on Amazon.
The Black School was originally located on Y Highway in Cassville as one of 112 rural schools that served Barry County. Unlike the others, Black School had a unique design in that the entrance door was on a corner angle, making it interesting when compared to others.
The schoolhouse was Black School District No. 67. Students were educated within its walls from the late 1800s to the 1956-57 school year. After that, the school was closed, and it sat on property two miles north of Cassville on Y Highway until Gary and Gayle Fields donated the building to the museum.
Barry County Museum Director Kathy White said it was quite the feat to get the schoolhouse moved from the original location to the new site behind the museum. She said, “The main issue was that we had to take it on Main Street, which is a state highway. They wanted us to have all types of insurance and things before we could even move it.” However, they finally were able to get it moved to the museum grounds on October 1, 2007. Funds to move the school were provided by the Pearl Foundation.
In order to make the journey, the roof had to be removed to prevent interference with power and telephone lines along the way. It was not a simple affair to get the school moved from point A to point B. The museum had to build a foundation and reconstruct the roof. They also placed new siding on the school, as well as new windows. White said, “We had to put up new walls and siding, and of course make the outside handicapped-accessible.” Now, many students come to see the museum with their classes.
However, White said that it isn’t just school-aged children who enjoy it. “When people who are from here are passing through or back on holidays, they want to come take a look. And while it may not be the school they went to, it reminds them of where they did. Schools like this were fairly common until the 1950’s, so a lot of people remember their school being like this.”
Inside the school, the floors are original, and they left one wall exactly as it was, complete with the original slate board and wainscoting. All of the students’ desks came out of Barry County schools, and old primer books line the shelves. The school is complete with a teacher’s desk, a piano and a potbelly stove, similar to what would have been in the school back in the 1800’s and early 1900’s.
The book that is featuring the Black School is “Missouri Directory of Historic and One-Room Schools” by David Burton, of the Greene County Extension office.
Burton said, “The idea was to create a ‘Who’s Who’ type of directory of historical and one-room schools in the state. We now have a high-quality book that highlights the very best historical schools.”
White said she was contacted about the publication a few years ago, but hadn’t heard anything recently. She said, “They sent us some information, which was pretty inaccurate, so I sent them information back, but I haven’t seen the book to see what was said.”
Copies of the book are available at the Greene County Extension office as well as on Amazon for $15.50. All proceeds from the sales of the book go to benefit the administration of the Greene County Extension office.