One-room schoolhouse deconstructed, rememberedJanuary 23, 2020
By ALLEN LAMAN
JASPER — A one-room schoolhouse that educated generations of Dubois County residents has finally come down. Operating from 1892 to 1951 in rural Jasper, the Dick School was taken down piece by piece a few weeks ago.
Class was held at the school near the corner of what is now Division and Kluemper roads, and the large, shed-like building later relocated near the intersection of Andrew Lane and Kluemper Road after it closed its doors.
The weatherboard structure with a tin roof had remained in good shape through the years. Robin Pate, the current owner of the property it stood on, advertised the old schoolhouse in the newspaper, and she reached out to the Dubois County Historical Society and others to see if anyone was interested in it.
But in the end, she never found a taker.
Even though the schoolhouse has been reduced to a heap of materials and will soon be wiped from the land, one local historian believes it is important to keep the memory of the Dick School alive.
“There’s still a lot of people right around the area here that are family members that would remember it being talked about by their parents or grandparents,” said Tom Kellams of Jasper. “In my opinion, I just hate to see the history of a lot of the old schools disappear.”
He continued: “I’d like to see it kept as a record of some kind to let future generations know that there were schools in different locations.”
According to Herald archives, the Dick School was among the last functioning one-room schoolhouses in the region. An April 1998 story focusing on a school reunion reported that according to alumni, it was the last one-room schoolhouse in Dubois County.
Like all one-room schools, it housed eight grades, the students sat in the same open room, and one class at a time was called to the front to work their lessons.
The room in which students sat was 36-by-22 feet. Subjects taught there included arithmetic, spelling, reading and English.
State law required students to attend school in those days, and a truant officer enforced that with occasional visits, though alumni interviewed for the reunion story didn’t remember there being any trouble.
One of the reunion attendees was John Dick. His family name was given to the school because it was built on ground owned by his great-grandfather. The land was deeded over for that purpose in 1882, and classes began a decade later.
John lived about 1 ½ miles from the building. He and his brother would walk there every day from September to April, and at the time, they represented two-thirds of the class. John recalled how when he entered fourth or fifth grade, he would get to school an hour early to help build the fires that kept the structure warm.
Some days, the kids would see how hot they could get the coal-burning stove’s chimney, and John said that they were fortunate the whole building didn’t go up in flames. Students who sat up front and away from the stove “froze while those in the back roasted,” said another former student, Irene (Kluemper) Eckerle.
The teacher at the Dick School in the late 1930s and early 40s was Dora Urich. After her came Evangeline McDaniels, and the last teacher was Ester Uebelhor, whose husband had started the Uebelhor Motor Company.
Ron Kluemper’s father, Herbert, became the owner of the building when he purchased the land the school called home after it closed. He moved the school building to its final location on Andrew Lane, and he used it at first to raise turkeys and later as a machine shed.
Ron — who was slated to attend first grade at the establishment during the 1951-52 school year — explained that the building will now breathe life in new ways.
Because the native lumber between the walls was still solid and not rotting, his son, Mark, is planning on using it to construct a machine shed of his own.
Pate originally planned on constructing a house on the property that the Dick School last stood on. She is now selling the roughly two-acre area. Interested buyers can contact her at 812-634-9911.
Those wanting to purchase deconstructed materials from the schoolhouse can contact Kluemper.
Additional photos of the schoolhouse being disassembled, courtesy of Tom Roach, are below.
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