Monday, May 30, 2005
Dan and I attended Acker School, a one room school located along Hwy 18 west of Junction City. Acker School, established April 1, 1872, was closed May 17, 1963. Dan graduated from 8th grade in 1958 and I was there until 1960. There are many stories of our days at Acker School. I have often wondered how many people our age have attended one room schools, let alone attended the same one and have been married 39 years. I look forward to writing about those experiences down the road….
Today, however, I am not writing about Acker School, but rather Brookside School. The reason being, the Brookside school building has fallen in disrepair and its future is not assured. It still, however, is a majestic building that seems out of place in its rural setting.
The history of the school district began April 30, 1866, in a log cabin across the road from the present building with four pupils in attendance. In 1871 a frame schoolhouse replaced the log cabin and then in 1914 the present building was begun. The name “Brookside School” was chosen at an annual meeting in 1916. The setting of the building makes the name fitting. Traveling east on old Hwy 40, the road makes a slight turn north and drops into a valley.
At the bottom of the hill stands this wonderful building. The highway actually makes a turn in front of the school, but as one descends down the hill, it appears as a castle. There is a creek or “brook” in that valley hence the name
The stone used in the building was quarried near the building site. The area west of Junction City is known for its superior limestone. There are many beautiful limestone buildings in the area including Acker school, the Geary County Courthouse, as well as many of the buildings on the Kansas State University campus.
Mr. John Holmgreen from Junction City was the builder and from all accounts, he took great pride in the building. It turned out his bid was low, so he spoke of it as “his monument.” The bell tower still houses the original bell because it cannot be removed. Notice the small round windows and trim. This building is still a “monument” to the builder, the community, and the people of the time. The education of the children of a community was a priority then as it is now and the buildings that housed the pupils and teacher reflected the pride taken in that endeavor.
The information for this article was gathered by Bernice Munson at the Geary County Historical Society. I thank her for her time and effort as well as Mary Glick and Mildred Walker for their articles on Brookside School.