Friday, October 29, 2010
The dedication took place on Saturday, October 23, 2010, and here's a write-up by one of the Underhill residents who attended...
Over 75 people braved a soaking rain to attend the dedication of the Frank Settlement School and Artesian Well Historic Site. The ceremony was short and to the point. Guests huddled under the newly erected shelter to once again hear the iron school bell ring as Muriel Wilke presented a brief history of the school.
The grounds were purchased from Rose and Hermon Wildt in the 1890’s for $125. School ran only during the months of October, November, December, April, May, and June; the winter break was planned because of the cold weather. Some of the teachers mentioned were Flora Walsh Frank, Edna Zieroth Wilke, Clarice Heier Strei, and Shirley Frank Buhrandt. The first teacher at the school was Nellie Watts who earned $25 a month, and the last was Wilma Valenta.
Many attendees remembered Mrs. Valenta and talked about their schools days. People pointed out where girls’ outhouse and the boys’ outhouse stood and some remember a wood shed. Others talked about the baseball field, a dangerous merry-go-round, walking along Linzy Brook, a loose brick in the schoolroom where kids looked to the outside, piano music at Christmas, kids who licked the frozen water pipe, biking to school, and catching a ride with the milk truck.
Eighteen former students attended the dedication. The oldest was George Frank who graduated in 1932 and there were some alumni from the 50’s who remembered the closing of the school, an event that happened 50 years ago in 1960. As Muriel Wilke said during the dedication, “When I ring this bell a few tears will well up in my eyes. My mom, dad, most of my aunts, uncles, cousins, sisters, and brothers attended school here. Oh what memories!”
The committee that worked on developing the site included: Gary Frank, Chuck Matyska, Pat Nelson, John Olsen, Miles Winkler, and Tracy Winkler; but many workers from the Underhill area volunteered their time clearing away fifty years of brush. Muriel Wilke and her siblings donated the original school bell which their father had always wanted to be kept in the community. Others supported the project with monetary donations.
Refreshments for the dedication included grilled hamburgers, coffee, soda and of course, a drink from the newly renovated artesian well. The Frank Settlement School and Artesian Well Historic Site is located west of County Highway R on the corner of School and Kelly Road.
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