Schoolhouse Saturday – the Camas (La Camas) School

Built prior to 1882, the first Camas School in Clark County, Washington, was replaced by a four room school with indoor plumbing in 1886.  The first school remained on the grounds of the new school until 1907, when the the Columbia River Paper Company gave the Boy Scouts permission to relocate the school to their property where it still stands today.  It was used as a scout meeting place until 1934, when the new owners of the mill, Crown Willamette Paper Company, donated land for a park.  Today the school is used primarily for city youth activities.

The Camas (La Camas) School - Clark County, Washington

The Camas (La Camas) School – Clark County, Washington

 

Until the next adventure….

Schoolhouse Saturday – the Springdale School

I keep seeing “Waterfall Wednesday” or “Throwback Thursday” all over the web these days, so I decided to try something new with this blog and start “Schoolhouse Saturday”, where I hope to post a new photo of a historic school that I have found every Saturday – since I’m not the best at updating my blog, this will be a challenge in itself.  I love finding old schools for a couple of reasons – 1) it takes me back to a simpler time when there wasn’t all the gadgetry that is around today; 2) my mom went to three different one room schools growing up (and they are all still standing, unlike the majority of one room schools that once dotted the landscape); and, probably the best reason 3) looking for old schools gets me off of the main roads (though I have found some right along the highways) and out exploring the lesser visited areas of our country.

The first school I’m going to share is the Springdale School located in Camas County, Idaho.  This was a surprise find as I was taking the “scenic” route to Utah for vacation with my mom.  A passing glance showed this building on the horizon, which resulted in turning the car around and going back to investigate (my car is getting quite adept at making u-turns for some reason).

Springdale School - Camas County, Idaho

Springdale School – Camas County, Idaho

As you can see from this photo, the bell is missing from the Springdale School.  It is currently residing at the only school left in Camas County.  Back when it was still at the Springdale School, it was an important piece of the school, essential for prompt attendance by the area kids.  The Springdale School was established shortly before the beginning of World War I and provided an education to the students of Camas County until the consolidation of schools around the time of World War II, when snowplow technology and buses made it easier for the kids to go to school, thus bringing an end to the majority of one room schools.  As it’s days of providing and education ended, the Springdale School began a new life as an equipment shed for the ranch next door.

Springdale School - Camas County, Idaho

Springdale School – Camas County, Idaho

Until the next adventure….

Guy Hill Schoolhouse

I spent this past weekend in Colorado searching for old schools and photographing the Tubbs Romp to Stomp out Breast Cancer event at the Frisco Nordic Center in Frisco, Colorado (more on that amazing event once I go through all of the images).

The Guy Hill Schoolhouse was built in 1876 – the same year Colorado became a state! It was originally located in Golden Gate Canyon before being relocated to the Clear Creek History Park in downtown Golden, Colorado. Not only did the school provide an education in grades 1 – 8, it also served as a community center for an occasional dance, meetings, and church services. The school was named for Guy Hill, which was named for John C. Guy, an early homesteader in Guy Gulch.  The school closed in 1951.

Guy Hill Schoolhouse at the Clear Creek History Park in Golden, Colorado

Guy Hill Schoolhouse at the Clear Creek History Park in Golden, Colorado

 

Until the next adventure….

Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes – Grecia, Costa Rica

Grecia (Spanish for “Greece”) is located in the province of Alajuela, Costa Rica and is home to Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes (Our Lady of Mercy), a church made entirely of pre-fabricated metal steel plates that have been painted a deep red.

The Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes (Church of Our Lady of Mercy) in Grecia, Costa Rica

The Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes (Church of Our Lady of Mercy) in Grecia, Costa Rica

Urban legends abound about the church and how it came to be built in Grecia. One such legend recounts how the church was donated for a foreign county and was supposed to be sent to Greece as a gift, but was erroneously shipped to Grecia. Another legend infers that the final destination was supposed to be Punta Arenas, Chile, but was unloaded by mistake in Puntarenas, Costa Rica where it was later transported to the city of Grecia and assembled.  However, the chances of it arriving in Puntarenas by mistake are quite slim, especially when you consider that when the materials arrived in Costa Rica between 1892-93, the Panama Canal hadn’t been built yet, which means that in order for it to have arrived in Puntarenas, it would have had to ship around Cape Horn, South America, an unneccesary and costly journey; the Port of Limón would have been a more logical choice for offloading.  Also, the railway between Puntarenas and San Jose wasn’t completed until 1910.

The real history of the Our Lady of Mercy church is no less glamorous than the urban legends.  Around 1840, the town of Grecia had a small adobe chapel with a thatched roof.  As the town grew, so did the need for a larger church.  Construction began on a new wooden church (at the site where the metal church sits today) in 1844 and was completed by the end of 1847.  A brick floor was installed in 1835 and the thatched roof was replaced with tejas (Spanish barrel tiles made from clay).  A few years later a tower was added.  In 1872, the church was severely damaged by fire and plans were made to convert the church to a masonry structure as it was believed to be indestructible by fire.  By 1888, the new structure was nearing completion when a devastating earthquake shook the town, damaging the towers and partially destroying the sanctuary.

Altar at Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes (Church of Our Lady of Mercy) in Grecia, Costa Rica

Altar at Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes (Church of Our Lady of Mercy) in Grecia, Costa Rica

In 1890 the locals sought the counsel of the second bishop of Costa Rica, Bishop Thiel, who suggested using “new technology” by building an earthquake proof church of metal.  In 1891, a contract was signed with Dresse Aux Ateliers de la Societe de Couvillet, a Belgian firm that specialized in metal structures.

The first pieces of metal arrived at the Port of Limón in 1892 on two cargo ships – the Rock Hampton of England and the Turquoise of France.  The materials were then transported via rail from the Port of Limón to Alajuela.  Upon arriving in Alajuela, the materials and supplies were transferred to ox carts and wagons to make the final 21 kilometer journey to Grecia.  Each trip took approximately one week and, at times, 7 yoke of oxen (14 oxen) were needed to pull the heavy loads across the rugged terrain.

With the exception of the windows and doors (these weren’t sent with the rest of the materials from Belgium), the church was completed in December of 1897.  Doors and window frames were ordered in 1911 from Clement Casa Constructtore in Ferro Prada, Milan, Italy.  Hand painted and blown glass windows were also acquired in Italy.

Church-of-Our-Lady-of-Mercy-Pipe-Organ

Stained glass from Italy and an 1886 German pipe organ in Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes (Church of Our Lady of Mercy) in Grecia, Costa Rica

 

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Windows ordered from Italy to complete the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes (Church of Our Lady of Mercy) in Grecia, Costa Rica

 

Until the next adventure….

 

 

Elgin Schoolhouse (1922-1967)

The Elgin Schoolhouse, located in eastern Nevada, provided an education for several generations of school children in grades one through eight from 1922 through 1967.  It was built by Reuben Bradshaw, the son of James Bradshaw, whom homesteaded a ranch in 1880 at the lower end of Rainbow Canyon.  Until 1903, there weren’t a large numbers of children in the area until the Salt Lake, San Pedro, and Los Angeles Railroad was built through Rainbow Canyon.  Small communities then sprung up every five miles or so, wherever there was a “siding” – a stop for trains and passengers.  Some of the larger sidings were home to small depots were passengers could board or leave the train or get a hot meal.

Prior to the construction of the Elgin Schoolhouse, the closest school to the ranches in Rainbow Canyon, the nearest school was in Panaca, about 36 miles north of Elgin.  Since wagons were the only means of transportation, and the ranches were too far away from Panaca to transport the children for school each day, the children were home-schooled either at the individual ranches or neighboring ranches.  The “Bullionville” school district was established in 1890 about five miles below Kershaw Canyon, but this school was still too far away for wagons from the lower end of Rainbow Canyon.

The Elgin Schoolhouse

The Elgin Schoolhouse

In 1921, funds were available for a schoolhouse in Elgin, one of the larger sidings along the railroad.  James Bradsha donated seven acres of his ranch for the building and his son built the school.  An addition to the building was built two years later to provide a small apartment for the teacher to live in.

The schoolhouse was last used in 1967, when the last student reached the eighth grade.  By then, school buses had been picking up the students and transporting them to schools in Panaca and Caliente.

It became a State Historic Site in July 2005 and is part of the Nevada State Parks system.  Currently, the schoolhouse is closed to the public for an indeterminate period of time as of May 2008 due to the road being heavily damaged by flooding.  It is possible to drive the road to the school (though it is rough in spots and there is one small water crossing).

 

Until the next adventure….

Not Much Remains…Weatherby, Oregon

Located about nine miles southeast of Durkee, Oregon, lies the unincorporated community of Weatherby in Baker County. Other than a rest area for travelers traveling along Interstate 84, there’s not much left. In 1862, there was a post office named Express Ranch, a Wells Fargo stage station, a stop over for stagecoaches during the gold mining boom in the county. C.W. Durkee was the first postmaster (probably where the town of Durkee got it’s name).  The Sisley Toll Road (what, I now believe is the Sisley Creek Road) was built in 1863, from Weatherby to connect with the Old’s Ferry toll Road to the Snake River.  In 1879, the Express Ranch was moved 10 miles south on the Burnt River to the property of Andrew J. Weatherby, resulting in the change of name. The Oregon Railway and Navigation Company established a Weatherby station on it’s line to Huntington.

Today, not much remains of Weatherby, Oregon.  Though, if you travel up Sisley Creek Road a ways (there are still a few residences there), you will find what remains of the old Weatherby School.

All that remains of the old Weatherby School.

All that remains of the old Weatherby School.

 

Until the next adventure….

A Piece of History – the Ward Charcoal Ovens

Built in 1876 by itinerant Italian masons (carbonari), who specialized in the ovens and in operation between 1876 through 1879, the Ward Charcoal Ovens are located in the Egan Mountain Range south of Ely, Nevada in White Pine County. Measuring 30 feet in height and having a 27 foot diameter at the base, the beehive shaped ovens were built to reflect heat back toward the center of the oven thus reducing the amount of heat lost. There are three rows of vents in the 20 inch thick walls. The ovens produced the charcoal from locally harvested timber for use in the smelters in nearby Ward, using approximately 16,000 bushels of charcoal a day.

Making charcoal was a daunting task, taking 13 days, as each of the ovens held approximately 35 cords of wood (a single cord measures 4 feet by 4 feet by 8 feet). Wood was cut into lengths of five to six feet before being stacked vertically using the lower door. An open space was left in the center to act as a chimney. Next, a ramp was used to load through the upper door which resembles a window. After the wood was ignited, the metal door was cemented shut and the vents were used to adjust the air drafts to smother the fire enough to product charcoal. Workers, known as burners, measured the charcoaling process by the color of the smoke produced. Approximately 10 days later, the charcoaling process was complete and the air vents were closed off until the fire died down. Water was poured through the chimney to cool the charcoal before the charcoal was loaded into bushel size sacks of burlap, emptying the oven.

The Ward Charcoal Kilns in White Pine County, Nevada.

The Ward Charcoal Kilns in White Pine County, Nevada.

Charcoal ovens never seemed to be in operation for any significant length of time as rapid deforestation forced production to be moved elsewhere or the ore supplies at the local mines were exhausted, thus eliminating the need for charcoal.  Once their function as charcoal ovens ended, they served as shelters for stockmen and prospectors during stormy weather and had a reputation of being a hideout for stagecoach bandits. Today, the Ward Charcoal Ovens are a Nevada State Historic Park, providing visitors with recreational opportunities, including picnicking, camping, hiking, mountain biking and cross-county skiing and snowshoeing in the winter.

 

Until the next adventure….

Cherry Creek School – Cherry Creek, Nevada

Built in 1872, the Cherry Creek School is one of the two oldest standing schoolhouses in the State of Nevada. At one time, Cherry Creek was the largest town in White Pine County, and at the peak of its prosperity had an estimated population of 6,000 and there were 56 students in attendance.

The Cherry Creek School in Cherry Creek, Nevada.

The Cherry Creek School in Cherry Creek, Nevada.

In November of 1894, a dispute between Pat Green and Pat Dolan about the schools location turned violent when Dolan killed Green in a gunfight. In 1901, a kerosene lantern that had been inadvertently filled with gasoline exploded, burning several nearby buildings and nearly destroying the schoolhouse.

Classes were last held in the school in 1941 and the building was subsequently used as a post office until 1971. In 1994, the building was acquired by Walter Campbell in 1994 and was converted into a museum that is open by appointment.

In it’s  heyday, Cherry Creek was home to two clothing stores, five mercantile stores, and twenty-eight saloons.  Today, there are around 20 permanent residents in Cherry Creek.

Until the next adventure….

Klipsan Beach Life Saving Station #309

Stretching from Tillamook Bay on the Oregon Coast to Cape Scott Provincial Park on Vancouver Island, British Columbia lies an area that is known as the “Graveyard of the Pacific“. Along the Columbia Bar alone, more than 2000 vessels and 700 lives have been lost. Klipsan Beach Life Saving Station #309 is approximately 13 miles north of Cape Disappointment on the Columbia Bar. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Station #309 was originally named Ilwaco Beach and was one of several stations assigned to protect the vessels entering the “Graveyard of the Pacific”.

Started in 1891 on a volunteer basis, it was known as the Ilwaco Beach Station.  On November 3, 1891, the Strathblane ran aground near the station and the volunteer crew was unable to get their lines out to the ship resulting in the loss of seven lives.  As a result, the decision was made to permanently established the station on a full-time professional basis in 1891 and the first keeper, Richard Turk, was appointed on December 18, 1891.

One of the buildings at the Klipsan Beach Lifesaving Station

One of the buildings at the Klipsan Beach Lifesaving Station

During a time when surfmen rode horses to patrol the beaches, the station was equipped with a Dobbins type lifeboat and a McClelland surfboat, both of which were launched into the surf from either a horse drawn or a four-wheel hand carriage.  Various other rescue equipment the station was equipped with included the breeches buoy, Coston flares, and the Lyle gun.

The "Alice" was a French square-rigged ship that sunk on Jan 15, 1909 near Ocean Park.  The ship was overloaded with cement, which hardened when the ship sunk in shallow waters.

The “Alice” was a French square-rigged ship that sunk on Jan 15, 1909 near Ocean Park. The ship was overloaded with cement, which hardened when the ship sunk in shallow waters.

If needed, the station could also call upon the Ilwaco Railway and Navigation Company, a seaside railroad, to assist in moving rescue boats up and down the beach to get closer to a wreck before launching.  It also transported the crew of the station to wherever a vessel might be stranded along the line.  Special runs were made to bring onlookers to wreck sites and a weekly excursion was made to bring vacationers to watch lifeboat rescue drills at the station itself.  The Ilwaco Railway and Navigation Company was used in at least one rescue, when, on December 19, 1896, the German bark Potrimpos drifter ashore seven miles south of the life-saving station.  The horse drawn lifeboat was unable to get down the beach and the railroad was called upon to transport the lifeboat and crew to the scene of the wreck, where fourteen men were still on board.  Another train brought a life saving crew from the next south station, Cape Disappointment, but by the time they got there, the surfmen of Klipsan Beach #309 had launched their lifeboat and rescued the fourteen remaining crewmen.

The German iron barqe, "Potrimpos" ran aground on December 19, 1896.

The German iron barqe, “Potrimpos” ran aground on December 19, 1896.

Today, Klipsan Beach Life Saving Station #309 sits as a testament to the bravery and fortitude of the men who were stationed there.  It is privately owned and operated as a vacation rental.  If you want to learn more about the history that is on the shores of the Washington Coast, then I would definitely recommend a visit.

For more information on the United States Life-Saving Service please click here.

 

Until the next adventure…..

Machine Shop

While in Nevada, we had the opportunity to visit the Nevada Northern Railway (NNRY) in Ely.   Located in White Pine County, Ely was founded as a stagecoach station on the Pony Express and the Central Overland Route.  It became a mining boom town after copper was discovered in the area in 1906.  Like other mining towns, Ely suffered through the boom and bust cycles the plagued town in the west.  The NNRY is is a working railway that consists of the original locomotives, track and buildings that served the Central Nevada coppery mining region, connecting one of the largest copper mines in North America to the Transcontinental routes.  Visitors are given the opportunity to go on a tour of the facility including being allowed into the machine shop and the engine house.

Machine Shop

Machine Shop

The image above is actually 5 different images processed with Photomatix Pro software to give it a slight HDR effect, which helped to bring out the detail in the shadows and add some range to the highlights.  Because everything was quite grimy (it is a working machine shop after all), processing the image this way also helped to bring some depth to the layers of grime covering the table and the tools.

The machine shop and the adjacent engine house (photos from there will be in a later post) were built in 1908, before being altered in 1917 and again in 1941.  I have to admit, in a day where the focus seems to be on making things smaller, lighter and faster, it is quite refreshing to walk around in a facility that goes to great lengths to keep the trains running.

The nuts and bolts of the operation.

The nuts and bolts of the operation.

I loved this sign outside of the machine shop.

Politicians Prohibited

Politicians Positively Prohibited

The rail yards are listed as a National Historic Landmark of the United States and it has been said that the Nevada Northern Railway complex is the least altered and best preserved yard remaining from the steam railroad era.

I will be posting more images from both the machine shop and the engine house in my Flickr album for the railway.

Until the next adventure….