Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI
April 5, 1995, Page 32
Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.
Index of "Oldies" Articles
Good Old Days
By Dee Zimmerman
The first Granton area school was known as Jt. Dist. No. 4, recorded in the Register of Deeds office in Neillsville as being established in 1866. The school board consisted of John J. Wright, Director; Hiram Renne, Clerk; and Noble E. Lee, Treasurer. One-half acre of land was purchased in the northeast corner of Section 2 in the Town of Grant from John Nichols.
The school site was on Windfall Corners which was a central point of the first most populated area of settlers. A small log building with a slant roof was built. Miss Electra Brooks was the first teacher who taught children from the families of Joel Downer, Hiram Renne, John Nichols, L. Bred, John Canfield, Theo. Davis, Norman Hallock, Harmon Allen, Geo. Williams, Nelson Marsh and Hod. Chase. In 1866 a small frame building was built and the log structure was used for a wood shed.
Between 1880 and 1884, the District voted to build a new, larger school house that was built across the road on land leased from Hiram Renne and near the Adventist Church. Two or three years later, plans were made to add a second story to the school building as the classes enlarged to the point of overcrowding.
The school grounds weren’t large enough for a ball diamond so the school boys laid one out in the pasture. A pine stump was first base, a flat stone served as second base, a granite boulder for third base and home plate was a line drawn in the dust by each batter. The balls were homemade as well as the bats. The Osgood brothers were noted for making the best balls and bats. The bats were made from a small straight piece of ash and shaped into the right sized bat. There was no playground equipment so the girls and boys had to think of ways to amuse themselves during the recesses.
In 1894 the district voted to build a belfry and bell for the school. The belfry cost $25 and the bell $17.50.
The enrollment gradually increased so that in the year of 1905, it was necessary to call a special school meeting to propose the building of a new school house. The district people affirmed the proposal to borrow $6,000 from the state trust funds to erect a new four-room school building.
A controversy arose over where the new school should be built. The village residents wanted it in the village as some of their children had to walk three and one-half miles to the Windfall Corner site. A two-acre site was chosen in the northeast quarter of Sec. 2, Town of Grant. A four-room building with concrete exterior was erected and ready for occupancy in 1907.
The school courses equaled to three years in high school. Those wanting to complete their high school work went on to Neillsville School, for the fourth year.
In May, 1917, a special meeting was called to consider building an addition to the school and organizing a four-year high school. Rather than building an addition, it was voted upon to build a new building to be used for the high school. The district voted to raise $18,000 for the new building, giving the school board the authority to determine the type of structure that was to be built. Desks, books and other materials were moved from the old school to the new in mid February 1918, building completed after starting construction the previous year.
Judge O’Neill was the speaker for the dedication of the new building. C. W. White was principal until being drafted into the army as World War I was in progress. Mrs. E. V. Brown finished the school term as principal.
The first high school graduation class had one student, Cliff Paulson. He had attended all three school houses during his 11 years of education. Athletic activities started, the first junior prom was held in 1921, the music department began with band, orchestra, and boys and girls’ glee club as well as other subjects were added to the curriculum. As time went on, there were many more changes.
Through the years, the Granton School District has kept current with the educational needs for their young people, enabling them to keep the school within their community.
A man should live if only to satisfy his curiosity. – Yiddish Proverb
The obvious is always the least understood. – Metternich
Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs. – Henry Ford
Granton’s Graded School, a four-room building, was completed in 1907 for the cost of $6,000. The school courses offered during that time, equaled three years in high school.
The Granton High School built in 1917-18, served the educational needs for many years. As with other high school buildings, constructed in that period of time, one entrance was designated for the boys and the other for the girls, as the photo indicates.
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