Thursday, May 21, 2009

Cute as a button

While most other seven-year-olds are climbing trees, riding their bikes and playing with friends, this particular seven-year-old in 1997 had something bigger in mind. After being inspired by an episode of Arthur, she decided to make a change in her community. Shortly before this, she was saddened to hear that her historical kindergarten one-room schoolhouse, which she had just graduated from, was going to be demolished. She was not going to let that happen. She organized fundraisers, got petitions signed, made T-shirts and got the New Lenox community to rally with her to save the Schmuhl School.

I got this pic and excerpt from the Will County Land Use Department website:

"The presence of one-room schoolhouses dotted America’s rural landscape during the mid-nineteenth century because of the two-mile radius law that was implemented in order to provide accessible education to the entire community. Towards the end of the 19th century, compulsory school attendance was mandated, and the establishment of the numerous schoolhouses facilitated compliance with the new regulation.

Built on the property of Henry Schmuhl, a prosperous New Lenox farmer, the original Schmuhl School was housed in a frame building. The Schmuhl School was one of 25,000 independent schools in Illinois. Other independent schools in the area were Cherry Hill, Francis, Reiter, Gougar, and Marley. In 1932, the building suffered an extensive fire and required reconstruction. While the school children’s classes took place in a tourist cabin owned by the Schmuhl family, a new brick building was built to serve as the educational facility for the students. The brick building was completed and reopened for classes in 1933. While the schoolhouse remained a one-room facility, the new masonry construction of the building exhibits the evolution of school building design.

In the mid-twentieth century, due to the State of Illinois promotion of school consolidation, the Schmuhl School was incorporated into the New Lenox Grade School District 122. The schoolhouse continued to serve in its educational capacity until 1996. The New Lenox Area Historical Society is in the process of rehabilitating the schoolhouse to reflect its original 1932 design.

The Schmuhl School was designated a Will County landmark on October 17, 2002."

So rather than being destroyed, this school now stands in a forest preserve as a historical marker and soon-to-be museum across the street from its original location. All thanks to Emily.

Emily, you rock. Not to mention your hair is so cute, it made me want to cut my bangs.

This history in this school is amazing. You can just feel it when you walk in.

I could not believe this clock still worked. It looks like an artifact.

I am sure Emily will make the same impact on the campus of Bradley University as she gets ready to head there in the fall.

We had some beautiful, golden light and it was a perfect evening. A beautiful girl doesn't hurt either ;)

I know this is a little funky...completely blown out, out of focus, etc. But I like it.

Emily, I hope you had as much fun as I did capturing these images. You have a bright future ahead of you. Stay sweet.

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