Union Center remembered
By Bill Hafer
Beatrice Daily Sun
BLUE SPRINGS -- A two-year project to erect a sign at the site
of the Union Center School was completed Thursday just in time
for the 50th anniversary of the school's closing in 1952.
"It was kind of one-of-a-kind," Bob Mann of Blue Springs,
a 1940 Union Center School graduate, said. "It was the first
consolidated school in the county."
Union Center School resulted from the consolidation of about
four country schools in the area, Mann said. The first year of
classes at the school was 1917.
The original school building still stands, although there is
a chance it will be torn down in the near future, Mann said.
The building and sign are located about six miles east of Blue
Springs on B-Line Road, on the northeast corner of the intersection
of B-Line and South 134th Road.
The school is two stories tall. Mann said there used to be a
bell tower located in front of the building and two houses, for
the superintendent and janitor. There also used to be a store
located across the road to the west and a church down the road.
Mann said the school and store were part of a little town called
"A lot of people used to call it Pumpkin Holler. I don't
know why they did, but that's what they called it," Mann
The sign is a project by the school's alumni. Mann said a committee
of eight people, including himself, have been working to get
the sign made and put up for two years. The first step was coming
up with a design.
"We wanted something different, so we made an emblem of
the school. Then we added the horses and wagon on top to show
some of the history," he said.
They decided to make the sign out of metal, and put stone around
the bottom as a base.
Mann said the alumni felt they needed to put up the sign so as
the building continues to deteriorate or gets torn down there
will still be memory of it.
Area residents and alumni who heard about the sign came out to
show their support Thursday.
"I graduated here, this is kind of a keepsake," Melvin
Andrews of Wymore said.
Byron Rhine of Rock Springs, Wyo., said he grew up in the area
and went to school at Union Center through the sixth grade before
it closed. He owned the land the school stands on until last
year. Rhine said his great-grandfather sold the original five
acres for the school to be built on, and he was glad to see something
would be erected to remember the school.
Dorothy Rockemann of Odell said she and her husband, Delbert,
graduated from Union Center School in 1940.
"We have lots of nice memories of the school. We're happy
the committee saw to getting a sign put up to remember it,"
She said she grew up a half mile away from the school, her sister
taught at the school in the mid-1930s and she has a brother who
graduated from the school as well.
Lela Miller of Blue Springs graduated from Union Center in 1943
and added that she had five brothers and sisters who graduated
from the school.
"It's wonderful. They really did a good job. We're thankful
for these men who donated their time and efforts to this,"