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Historic Schoolhouse Finds New Home In Aurora Farm

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The Coal Creek Schoolhouse on the move (credit: Jennifer Kuehner, Aurora History Museum)

The Coal Creek Schoolhouse on the move (credit: Jennifer Kuehner, Aurora History Museum)

AURORA, Colo. (AP) – Using gigantic steel beams and a flat bed trailer, the historic Coal Creek Schoolhouse was moved from Springhill Park to DeLaney Farm over the weekend, and secured to its new foundation on March 29.

The Coal Creek Schoolhouse was built in 1927 to replace a schoolhouse built in 1870 that was destroyed in a fire.

The structure was relocated to DeLaney Farm to make way for improvements to the land surrounding Beck Recreation Center.

Since DeLaney Farm also has historic significance — the farm encompasses 115 acres and has two structures on the National Register of Historic Places — it seems appropriate for the schoolhouse to be a part of the site, said Jennifer Kuehner, acting director of the Aurora History Museum.

“DeLaney Farm right now is used as a site to interpret early rural life in Aurora,” she said. “We’re excited about having (the schoolhouse) at DeLaney Farm because we’ll be able to utilize it more effectively over there, and it fits nicely into the timeline of DeLaney Farm.”

Farmers in the early 20th century would often help to establish school houses in rural parts of the state by donating land to schools, she said.

The Coal Creek Schoolhouse will be open again to visitor by appointment only in about six months, when the electrical and grading work on the area is complete.

Furnishings including original desks, benches, a chalk board, book shelves and a piano will be reinstalled in the building.

The relocation costs about $68,000. The project was paid for by Park Development Fees related to the Springhill Park renovation project; no tax dollars were used for the project, said Sherri-Jo Stowell, marketing and projects specialist at the city’s Parks, Recreation and Open Space department.

The original schoolhouse was located on Smith Farm and served between 12 and 25 children from first through eighth grade.

It was common in the early 20th century for children to conclude their education at eighth grade and help at their family farm, Kuehner said.

“Usually you wouldn’t go to school past sixth or eighth grade depending on the farm you came from,” she said.

The building was used as both an educational center and it also hosted social gatherings like holiday programs, dances and community meetings. The last of the school children graduated in 1960.

The building was privately owned for a few years until the city bought it and moved it to Springhill Park where it remained for more than 30 years until the move to DeLaney Farm.

- By Sara Castellanos, The Aurora Sentinel

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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