Press-Republican

History

July 8, 2013

Schoolhouse gets historic designation

PERU — The Town of Peru recently received word that Lyons Street Schoolhouse has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The schoolhouse, which is located at the intersection of Lyons and Rock roads, served the children of that rural community from at least 1880 to 1938.

It was closed as Peru School District opened.

‘VERY FUSSY’

“According to the Beers Atlas of Clinton County, a building was here at this same location in 1869,” said Ron Allen, who is co-historian for the town with his wife, Carol Allen.

“The National Historic Register is very fussy about documentation, and the earliest we could document the schoolhouse was in 1880. But when it was actually built, we’re not sure.”

The building served as the school for children within a 2-to-3-mile radius of the building.

It was one of 19 districts in the Town of Peru, though some of those also served students in neighboring towns, Mr. Allen said.

It is in remarkably good condition for a wooden building, he added.

GRANT PROSPECTS

“The national recognition makes this building eligible for future grants,” Mr. Allen said.

“Placement on the National Register does protect the building, but we will be able to make renovations and restorations to help keep it protected.”

The building had been owned by the Marion Dixon family since 1939, but the Dixons sold the property to the town for $1 in 2011.

The Dixons had used the building for storage and as a play area for their children. A basketball net still hangs on one wall, and an old pool table rests against an interior wall.

A LOOK AT HISTORY

The Allens hope that future restorations of the building will include a display featuring old-time blackboards and antique student desks to remind people what life was like in a one-room schoolhouse.

“We’d like to have current schoolchildren come in and see what it was like for schoolchildren back then,” Mr. Allen said.

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