The Turn of the Century

The old Union Center School building has stood more years empty then occupied. When the school closed in 1952, an auction was held to sell the books & desks and the building went back to the original land owners. For a while it stood empty, for several years it was used as a shed for raising hogs, in the late 1950's the property owner began the process of tearing it down. The task apparently became more work than anticipated and what remains of the demolition has existed untouched for 30 years. The old timers still find it hard look as they drive by, poetry is written about it, from time to time the newpapers find a piece of its story to tell, but most who know it by name have only seen it as it stands today; fragile, proud and defiant of the hand of man and nature.

Beyond any hope of restoration, the soft red brick crumbles in your hand, the once strong beams split under their own weight, the rows of neatly nailed lath protrude down from the ceilings as the bones of a skeleton, and the walls threaten collapse with the next breath of wind. If you've ever been fortunate enough to enjoy the tireless work of our historical preservationists, this scene is certainly the tragedy we face without them.

Unlike the haunted rooms of many legends, there are no tears falling from the bell tower or ghosts creeping round the stage, only the unmistakable sound of children's laughter drifting on the breeze of a crisp fall morning and the feeling you've come close to experiencing a time when people made less of a living but knew more about how to live life ...

Lament of an Old Schoolhouse

I'm an eyesore in the country
Here I stand, abject, forlorn.
I held high my head in glory
Now my glory had been shorn.

Once I was much used by children,
Now I hang my head in shame
For I'm only used for storage,
They don't even say my name.

Where are now the happy children
Who tramped up and down these halls?
Most of the community centered
Here within these four square walls.

Starting in as wee beginners,
Passing upward through the grades --
Freshman, sophomore, junior, senior,
On they went through all 12 grades.

Here folks came from 'round the country,
Last day dinners, school class plays,
Box suppers and other socials.
All enjoyed those happy ways.

Now the farms are all deserted.
Houses gone and barns torn down.
People from those homes have scattered
Many, many live in town.

And they left me here deserted,
Useless now my rooms and walls,
For no more will ever echo
Children's footsteps through these halls.

Here I'm left alone and lonesome,
Sheep go in a out my doors,
Hay within my rooms is tumbled,
Broken glass falls on the floors.

Soon there'll be no sign remaining.
Of the school that once was here.
Do you think some will remember
This old school they thought so dear?

by Mrs. Grace Russell
Grace began her school years at
Union Center.