Sue Kiesewetter reports:
The former one-room Hughes School will open to the community Sunday for a holiday open house, decorated as it would have been in the late 1800s or early 1900s.
The Liberty Township Historical Society is opening the Princeton Road school from 1 to 3 p.m. for the Christmas open house.
Volunteers will be on hand to talk about the school, its history and holidays in the late 1800s along with answering questions.
Small berry strings, knitted mittens, and pinecones put on by historical members and volunteers will adorn the live tree. Visitors won’t see the blinking lights that adorn modern trees.
“If people want to dress up in period – or regular clothes – and take pictures either inside by the tree or in front of the school, it makes for a nice Christmas card,’’ said Paul Stumpf, a member of the historical society and Liberty Township fire chief.
“It’s also a good opportunity for people to see what’s inside. We’ve had people say they’ve driven by 100 times and never knew what it was.”
The historical society will serve hot chocolate and cookies during the open house. There is no admission charge.
The historical society is also looking for older, longtime Liberty Township residents to come to the group’s meetings and tell stories.
“We’d like to catalog the stories – whether they’re about family or things they remember or tidbits,” Stumpf said. “They may not mean anything individually until you put it together with other stories and it fills in voids in documented history.”
Stumpf said the historical society is also looking for pictures the group can keep or copy. Period toys are also being sought for a display of toys for the holiday open house that will start in the late 1800s through the 1960s.
The one-room school house opened in 1887 and was the second school built in Liberty Township. It was used as a school until 1922, Stumpf said.
After that it became a custodian’s home, was used for storage and fell into disrepair. In the mid-1970s the school board considered demolishing the building before the community stepped in, Stumpf said.
A yearlong restoration was completed and the school was dedicated in 1976 using volunteer labor to do the work and holding fundraisers to pay for it. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
It is now opened periodically so students can tour the building and learn about Butler County’s early public education history.
For more information, or to donate or loan items to the historic society, contact Stumpf at 513-759-7532 or at 513-678-8346.