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Paynesville Press - August 7, 2002

Schoolhouse gets much-needed facelift

By Bonnie Jo Hanson

schoolhouse being paintedThe old schoolhouse that sits on the property of the Paynesville Historical Museum is getting a new paint job.

The building was in desperate need of paint, noted Bertha Zniewski, museum curator, who asked for volunteers through area churches.

At left, the schoolhouse gets a face-lift.

Volunteers started prepping the building for paint on Tuesday morning, July 30, but renovations on the schoolhouse were actually started last year by Tom Thelen along with Mel Spanier and Harry Paul. They thought it would be a small project but the building was in much worse shape than they thought. The building needed a lot of putty and caulk, and the nails holding the siding on had rusted so badly, most of them had to be replaced with screws.

Because of all of the other needs, they didn't get to paint the schoolhouse at all last year.

When volunteers started work on the building last week, most of the loose paint had already been knocked off with a pressure washer, so there wasn't much scraping to do.

A crew from the city used a boom truck to reach the peaks while volunteers brushed primer on the rest of the building.

In spite of threatening weather, a primer coat was on and dried before the Festival of Ethnic Traditions, which was held on the museum grounds on Sunday, Aug. 4.

Now that the festival is over, work will continue every Friday, as long as the weather allows. Volunteers are encouraged to drop by anytime during the workday on Fridays and help out with painting, caulking, and puttying.

The schoolhouse, built in 1892, was located on Rice Lake Road and was known as the Brown School, for the farmer who donated land to build it. He was a Civil War veteran who was given land from the government for his service in the Federal Army.

Juanita Moser, who attended the school and wrote a short history of the schoolhouse, said at times there were as many as 40 kids attending the school with only one teacher.

The school closed in 1967.

The building was moved into Paynesville in 1985 and has since been moved again to its current location. It sits on the grounds of the Paynesville Historical Museum, where it is open to the public.

Volunteers who have worked on the project this year are Paul Bugbee, Roy Colbert, Brad Johnson, Gaile Leimer, Wally Payne, Sig Pfeifer, and Thelen.

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