Saturday, June 27, 2015

Lanterman History Village and Spitler Foundation Grant

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 serving the community continuously until 1948. Contained within this structure are period schoolhouse furnishings set up as it would have been when it was in use.

Dr. John Frank Schrader practiced medicine about 1895 in the other building.  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. However, 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 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, as well as the St Francisville Academy, and various scout groups have visited the schoolhouse in the past. With more and more money being cut from school budgets, local free field trips are especially important for learning opportunities.  The Historical Society has a volunteer schoolmarm in period clothes, who delivers a program prepared by the Society. A summer day camp has also been proposed if repairs can be made.

The Society feels that educating our youth about the past is an important goal of our organization. By experiencing how a child of 100 years might have been treated by a doctor, or how a one-room school differed from today’s high tech classroom will help students understand and interpret events and developments of the past.

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 to support the cause.  He has again volunteered to re-roof the doctor’s office if more shingles can be purchased.

But more than just shingles are needed to preserve the buildings if they are going to be used for future educational purposes. The Doctor’s office as it stands now is not safe for children to visit.  The front porch steps need major repairs and back steps need to be built. The flooring needs to be replaced; window sashes and at least one window pane needs to be repaired. Both buildings need to be repainted and the doors need to be secured if the furnishings are to be preserved. 

    The Historical Society is pleased to announce that the Maxine Spitler Foundation, a private foundation that funds projects in Lawrence and Jasper counties for youth activities has awarded $5100 to start the project.  Thank you Maxine Spitler!