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Old one-room school house is getting a new life

HARTINGTON — The Goldenrod School is experiencing yet another rebirth.

The 114-year-old one-room school building recently got a new home and work is now being done to refurbish it.

The school first came to life when it was organized as Goldenrod, District 110 School March 27, 1916.

The school, originally located just three miles north and three miles east of Wausa, merged with Knox County Districts 76-R and 86-R, and Cedar County’s Norris/Baker Creek District 42-R on July 1, 1965. The builidng was shuttered a few years later.

That wasn’t the first time it was shut down, though. It was closed from 1941-1944 due to a lack of pupils.

The school closed its doors for good at the conclusion of the 1969-70 school year.

It was given new life after the Cedar County Ag Society approached the Dist. 110 School Board in October 1970 with their idea to move the building to the Cedar County Fairgrounds in Hartington and use it as a museum for rural school life. The Board liked the idea and sold the strucure to the Ag Society for $1.

On Jan. 27, 1971, it was loaded on a truck to make the 18- mile journey to the Cedar County Fairgrounds.

It wasn’t an easy journey, though, as every few miles electrical wires had to be moved in the 10-degree weather. At one point road graders were needed to help the truck make it up a steep hill. After a two-hour trek, the building finally arrived in Hartington.

After sitting for nearly 50 years on the far eastern edge of the fairgrounds, Cedar County Ag Society members moved the school house this summer to a more central location just west of the current Cedar County Fairgrounds office.

Former Goldenrod students Warren and Corlynn Wilbeck and Joann Kumm reminisced about their school days as they toured the one-room school house last week.

Memories of past Christmas programs, walking to school in the snow and reciting school work to their teacher at the front of the class all came flooding back for the trio.

Cedar County Ag Society members Jim Specht and Bob Steffen hosted the trio to get their input on the building and its contents.

Specht said he would like to find an old upright piano like the one that once sat in the corner of the room. He would also like to find an old merry-go-round to put in front of the building. The Ag Society plans to keep working on the building and furnishings so it is ready for tours at next year’s Cedar County Fair.

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