If you have followed the conversation over the past several years, you are aware there is a group of volunteers who call themselves the Rutledge School Restoration Society. This is not a get-together group who sits around the table and visits or makes plans for a trip here or there, it is a hard-working organized group of Rutledge School alumni (or parents of alumni) and their spouses, who see a need for Scotland county to preserve the history that is buried within the walls of this old building with architect completion record dated 1912.
This small group has done much fund raising, including catering and yard sales. The late Gwen Laudwig captured much of the school’s spirit in her book “History of Rutledge.” It was her passion to see the school put back into shape. Many dollars of the funding providing for improvements to date, has been realized through the sale of copies of this book. Copies are still available at the low cost of $20 each. Little grant money has been secured; however, that hasn’t put a damper on the enthusiasm the Society has shown for the sake of history.
Did you remember the Rutledge School Restoration Society is a not-for-profit organization and has qualified for 501C tax-exemption status with the Internal Revenue Service? This status allows for the ability to receive grants from individuals or foundations, with donations being tax deductible for the donor. Talk to your tax preparer to see how you might help restore the Rutledge School while helping yourself financially.
As an update on the progress of the restoration of this beautiful old building: all 49 windows have been replaced with new windows and storm windows (many of the old windows were adopted out to interested persons for a small price), tuck pointing has been done around the exterior brick walls, the gymnasium roof was replaced with new metal roofing and since has had to be repaired, a new sidewalk leads its way into the building from the street, new Linen trees (native to the U.S.) have been planted to replace the old Maple and Ash trees which, in their younger days, had adorned the front lawn of the school, and the Gwen & Wayne Laudwig Museum is a stand-out with the sign that designates its location in the former classroom just to the right at the top of the second-floor stairs.
Recently, the old merry-go-round had to be dismantled and rebuilt by a couple of volunteers. While it was being put back together and painted, the teeter-totter and picnic tables were also given a fresh coat of school blue. As basements do, the school basement had been a good “catch all” since the school’s closing in 1995. During the past few months, this sturdy old room of brick and cement has met with the ladies’ mops and brooms – soon it will be back in shape to be used for meetings, reunions, and other such congregations. Earning a spot on the National Historical Register was no easy feat, but with the help of a representative of the University of Missouri (right here in Scotland County) and a group of specialists in the field of application from Truman State, Rutledge School has its own “star!”
With a “few” more man hours and lots more fund-raising events, this old building will be one the community folks should be proud to call theirs. Speaking of fund raisers – there will be an ice cream social at the school on Saturday evening, August 10, 2019, beginning at 5:00. Hope you can all come to Rutledge to see what is happening and enjoy a big bowl of homemade ice cream and a piece of cake or pie. If you are so compelled, donations will be graciously accepted… and that’s not all! During the Scotland County Antique Fair, the court yard of the Downing Museum in Memphis, MO will find a full-course meal on the menu with the Rutledge School Restoration Society in the kitchen! Tickets are circulating for sale, giving one the opportunity to win a beautiful hand-made embroidered quilt. The fellows won’t want to miss out on purchasing a new cap captioned “Rutledge School, 1912-1995.”
This writer knows for a fact this Society is not sitting around waiting for things to happen. Tours are always welcomed – come see what is being done!
Submitted by Reva Triplett