Friday, February 20, 2015

Historic Buildings in Need of Repair

Historic Buildings  in Need of Repair

Pepple School, a one room schoolhouse, and Dr. John Frank Schrader's Office were relocated to Lanterman Park, Bridgeport, IL for preservation in 1976 by the Lawrence County Bicentennial Commission. Due to lack of funding, both historic buildings are now in need of substantial renovation.

Pepple School is a one room schoolhouse originally constructed in approximately 1892 and it served the community continuously until 1948. Original dimensions were 20' by 30' until 1906 when it's length was increased to 42' to accommodate the growing population of the district it served. Contained within this structure are period schoolhouse furnishings set up as it would have been when it was in use. 

Dr. John Frank Schrader graduated from the Indiana University Medical School in 1895 and set up practice in this building located in Bridgeport, IL shortly thereafter.  This wood frame structure consists of a waiting room in front and an exam room in the rear. Most of Dr. Schrader's original equipment and furnishings are still intact and would be available to use in the restoration of the building. Major renovation on this structure is needed to be able to allow public access.

The desired goal is to utilize these historic buildings as a site for educational field trips for local schools and the public in general, to bring to life the actual conditions and common practices of life in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Hosted by the Historical Society, Red Hill elementary school students have visited the school for several years. The Historical Society has a volunteer to be a schoolmarm in period clothes, who will deliver a program prepared by the society on special occasions.

A few years ago, the Society raised money to purchase shingles to re-roof the school building. Called the Buy-A- Bundle campaign, a bundle of shingles was purchased for each $25 donation.    A roofer then graciously volunteered his labor (on several very hot summer days) to support the cause.  He has again volunteered to re-roof the doctor’s office if more shingles can be purchased. Other repairs are necessary and will require funds and more volunteers.

During the Bicentennial in 1976,  the Lanterman Park Board met in special session and agreed to accept the buildings for the park.  Like the previously donated school house, the office building was to be preserved as long as the park existed.  Both buildings were to be protected by a security fence.  

The current Lanterman Park Board have decided that they have no interest in the buildings. Their tax money cannot support repair of the fence, or any repairs at all to the buildings. They have contacted the Historical Society to determine the buildings’ fate.  Without intervention the buildings will not be around for other generations to view. 

A short presentation on the future of these historic structures will be given at the February meeting of the Historical Society at the Museum. Both buildings and artifacts are of historic value both as to the nature of education and of the practice of medicine at the turn of the century in this county. It is now up to the members of the Historical Society and the community at large to determine their future fate. 

Please attend February 23 at 7:00 pm, at the Museum.  Bring your neighbors.