Yes, there are tears and good and bad memories as the alumni, teachers and local citizens watch the demolition of the Scranton School building.
In the first half of the last century, as country schools closed, students wanted more education and more years of schooling, so the small towns stepped up and gave their children new buildings.
The first school building in Scranton was a two-story wooden structure on Madison Street, built in 1875. In 1897, when kindergarten was started, there were two rooms added on the west side.
The first high school class on record to graduate was in the year of 1884, with three students receiving the honor. From then until the consolidation with Jefferson that began in 1989, there were 1,846 graduates.The Alumni Association has been holding reunions every five years, since 1965, with as many as 1,100 people attending.
The brick building now being demolished was built in 1916 and 1917 for a cost of $35,000. It was built on the exact same spot where the wooden building stood. There’s been much discussion in the last few years about how, during the construction of the new building, the wooden building was moved to the middle of Madison Street so school could be held those two years. Most people believe the building was lifted onto a set of wheels, then pulled by into the street.
In 1919, more country schools consolidated into the Scranton School, which then included 84 sections of land. Transportation for the country children was provided with four horse-drawn buses and three Model T buses. A gymnasium was built as an addition to the school in 1953. That gym is being saved and will serve as an extension of city hall and the community center. There’s a plan to save bricks from the school building to be engraved and sold as a fundraiser.
Every Scranton area family has special memories of the school. My husband, Curly Eason, graduated there in 1947. I came to town that fall as a new teacher, after having grown up in Collins and doing my two-year teacher training at the old Iowa State Teachers College. I met Curly, and that’s all there was to it, I never got away. Three of our daughters graduated from Scranton High, too. I taught junior high and elementary school five years full-time, then was a substitute teacher for 30 years while we were raising our family. I also drove a school bus for eight years.
Yes, it is sad to watch the schoolhouse being torn down, but “life goes on,” and “progress needs to be made.” And we’re thankful for the education the Scranton pupils received. Goodbye!