Historical Society Museum
Submitted by Gayle Garrett
The Trego County Historical Society is pleased to report that the Pleasant Valley Schoolhouse has been moved to WaKeeney near the Museum. For the past 85 years or more it has stood 6 miles north and 7 miles west of WaKeeney on land that is now owned by Larry Berg. He has very generously donated the rural schoolhouse to the Trego County Historical Museum.
Following is a short history of the Pleasant Valley School, written by Rosa V. Garrett in 1976. Mr. and Mrs. Garrett lived in that community from the early 1920's till the time of their deaths. "When the settlers came to the plains of Western Kansas they settled along the rivers to have water for their stock and their homes, so they settled along the Saline River in the northwest part of Trego County.
When enough of them were here they met June 11, 1886 to see about a school for the children. They decided to have a school in the north part of Sec. 10-11-24 (now owned by E. J. Garrett). They made a dugout house also a dugout barn that they faced to the west; the west side of them was made of sod. The schoolhouse had two half windows and a door in the west. The roof was covered with boards then they were covered with sod. The floor was dirt.
They had to have a barn as the children came from so far and all drove horses.
The board members were H.A. Burus, Director, Ben Hill, Clerk and Alice Finch, Treasure. The first students were Ed Burus, Vernie Burus, Charley Ivan, Frank Bollig, Ray Swart, Henry Swart, Edna Swart, Ellis Grim, Donald Grim, Clarence Grim, Clara Grim, and Millard Hill.
It was a six-month school term and the school was called Happy No. 6. Lucie Kelly taught this school the fall of 1899. She boarded with her cousin Frank Walker, who lived four miles east and a half-mile south of the school. Mr. Walker furnished her with a horse and buggy so she could take his son, Ralph to school.
The first day she put the horse in the barn and went to get water out of the well with a bucket that was fastened to a rope that went over a pulley, but some animals had gotten in the well. So she went about a block south to the river for water. They used the river water till it froze over. They all drank out of the open pail with the same dipper.
The next spring two boys pushed in the west side of the schoolhouse and the board called a meeting to see what to do.
As the men from the west came they had guns strapped on them and the ones from the east now knowing what was up just slipped away home and the ones left voted to move the school west and built a sod schoolhouse all above ground. This was on the south side of the road, a short distance east of present school building.
This was used till 1911 when the frame house was built and called Pleasant Valley School. The first teacher in the frame house was Ollie Brown (later Mrs. Clarence Tilton). She taught for seven months for $50.00 per month.
Then in 1962 the. country school was closed and children went to town school. We wanted to keep our school so E.J. Garrett leased it for $1.00 on June 15, 1962 for 20 years. For the past 35 years the school has been used as a community gathering place, ,we gather twice a month through the winter to visit and play cards. The monthly meeting of the 4-H clubs and H.D.U. were also held there."
Only a few of the original descendants are left in the community. However, they are excited about the preservation of the schoolhouse. We are grateful to Larry Berg for his thoughtfulness & generosity.
Larry & his siblings, each spent 8 years in this school house also. The ground that the schoolhouse sat on & the school house, after 20 years reverted back to the Larry Berg Family.
At present the outside appearance is quite shabby, but the structure as a whole is sound.
When necessary restoration is finished we will be proud of our one room schoolhouse and all it stood for in years past.
Pictures of schoolhouse being moved to town to be part of the Trego county historical Society.
It has since been painted & sits beside our Trego County Historical Society building. They sit on the Trego County Fair Grounds in WaKeeney located in East WaKeeney on Hi-Wa 283.
The school has since been fully restored & is looking great.
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