Thursday, August 13, 2015

Lead Point School

My son Brian and I took a road trip to the furthest reaches of NE Washington State Yesterday. The purpose was to meet with the Superintendent of the Northport School District to explore the possibility  of forming a volunteer group to repaint and do other minor rehab items, then applying for National Historical status. After all, what is a better historical item in an agricultural area, than the venerable one room school house.

Where our interest came from was that Nina Baron Huseland's first teaching job was at the Lead Point school in 1929. She was my Mom.

Our trip was for more than one purpose. I wanted to show Brian the original short route from Colville, Washington to Ione, in Pend Oreille County. Currently, the Tiger route beginning at the Colville Airport, is the main well paved road. This was not always the case. For many years the direct but steep route was from Aladdin at the west terminus, following Meadow Creek past Big Meadow Lake and down into Ione. It is about one third the distance of the Tiger route. Still a dirt road, is is well groomed. The western portion used to be referred to as Huseland Hill, since it bisected Gunder Huseland's homestead.

We picked a bad time to do this though. Forgetting that road construction season was upon us, we passed an ominousness sign. Road work 33 miles. They were chip sealing 33 miles of the highway. Finally, we made it to Ione whence we ascended the aforementioned short route.

On into Northport we traveled, passing another what used to be a one room school which had two names. Doyle school and Deep Creek School. It is now a storage building on the farm it resides.

We were well received by Don Bribault, Northport Superintendent of Schools, along with a school board member who's name I didn't write down. They appeared interested in the concept, since for several years they had failed to sell it. As a home, the building had some obsolescence. The bathroom was limited to an outhouse. No indoor plumbing, a well that was probably only about 20 feet deep, as the area is near the shallow end of what is Deep Lake, sub-irrigating the land under the school. We were impressed, as Don, after discussing our planned visit the next day, drove the several miles to check out the school before meeting with us.

It badly needs paint, was the exterior is deteriorating. (Lead based paint, of course) I am about to start a Facebook group, as soon as I find a way to do it without getting stuck part way through the process. We will gage interest, as well as willingness to contribute to the fund. In short, it would be cheaper to build new, rather than to rebuild this un-insulated building into a legal residence. What is a kudo to this mostly ghost town, is that vacant since 1960, after multiple neighborhood use, not one window pane was broken.

Wish us luck as we attempt to save this educational icon, the One Room School house that offered 1-8th grades to area farm kids. Without school buses, the schools had to be within walking distance of the homes it served, ergo the plentiful numbers of them that existed back in the early 1900's. Those that are left are easy to spot as they all used the same plans when built, probably given free by the U.S. Government.

Paper saving was in effect even back then, as wrap-around blackboards decorate the walls.

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