January 23, 2003

Local Historical Preservation Committee Planning To Restore Bible Grove School

It would be wonderful if the local preservation committee could get Bob Villa to come to Bible Grove to do a show "This Old Schoolhouse," but the volunteers aren't going to wait for the famous builder to come to town to get the historical building renovated.

The Bible Grove Historical Preservation Committee sent out its first annual newsletter to all members and past alumni. The correspondence announced that the group is taking an aggressive approach to repairing the former schoolhouse to allow the site to be the center of a growing number of community programs in the future.

"We have been working on several projects big and small over the past year and just wanted to tell all the folks interested in Bible Grove what we have planned for the future," said Greta Slocum, vice-president of the committee.

The group's current focus is restoring the Bible Grove School to its original state. The plaster on the walls has cracked and began to fall away. All of the woodwork will be taken off and refinished. The schools roof leaks in spots and needs to be replaced before major damage occurs.

"We plan to open the third floor level again (it was closed in at one point to conserve on heat expense) and we have plans to tile around the entire building," said committee chairman Sharon Bradley. "All the windows throughout the building are to be replaced. Restoring this building will be a major project, but it is time."

The committee is currently working towards completing an application for a grant from the government. The Historic Preservation Fund grants are funded on a 60/40 ratio with 60 percent of the project cost coming from federal funds and 40 percent of the project cost provided by the applicant. The maximum grant is $25,000.

"This means we must come up with a large sum of money on our own," Slocum said, "so we are working on several projects for fundraisers."

The committee, with the help of various volunteers, work very hard throughout the year to earn money for the preservation of the school. Unfortunately, almost all of the revenue that is made over the year just covers the cost of electricity, propane and water bills.

Now faced by the large expense in restoring the building the committee is asking for public support. The newsletter is requesting donations from the community to help preserve the building.

"We feel that this building is a vital part of our county," Bradley said.

The building, which is currently listed on the National Register of Historical Places, is used for the committee's meeting place and the local 4-H Club (Jolly Jacks and Jills), as well as for a place for locals to meet and exercise. The Extension Council hosts an annual supper at the facility while the old school also hosts several family reunions, funeral dinners and weddings.

The historical site is showcased during the annual Preservation Days, which features living history displays and Civil War Re-enactments.

The famous October Pie Supper, which has been a tradition at the school, since it was built in 1921 is another key activity at the facility.

Many volunteers will be needed to paint walls and refinish woodwork. Individuals can donate pies and cakes for fundraisers. The group is in need of old prom dresses for the skit in August and there are many more things donors can help with.

For more information or to make a donation contact the Coordinator, Greta Slocum, at (660) 883-5831.

In addition to kicking off the big fundraising efforts, the committee has decided to host a Bible Grove Alumni Reunion to be held, Sunday, August 17th, during the annual fall Preservation Days.

Preservation Days will begin Friday, August 15th, at 7:00 p.m., with a cakewalk and ice cream social.

On Saturday, August 16th the site will host crafters and kettle corn as early as 8:00 a.m. and a kettle-bean & corn bread dinner at noon and a trap shoot and muzzle loaders black powder shoot that afternoon.

The group again will be presenting two new programs in the schoolhouse. One will be a historical program presented by Glenna (Phillips) Maxwell about the consolidation of the school and its resurrection. The second will be an entertaining skit presented by the Bible Grove Community Players.

A hog roast supper at 6:00 p.m. with a live band and dance starting at 8:00 p.m. will round out the evening.

Sunday's activities conclude the weekend with church services for all at 11:00 a.m. A carry in dinner at noon and the Bible Grove Alumni Reunion will follow. A trail ride leaves from the Bar-B-Saddle Club at 2:00 p.m.

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