Schoolhouse remains meaningful to community
One hundred years ago the Clear Springs School located west of Boonville was being constructed. Now, the old school building houses the West Boonville Community Center, which is celebrating the school's 100th year of existence. The old school may not house students any more but its impact to the community is still as meaningful.
According to West Boonville Community Center President Skip Jaeger, Clear Springs School property was purchased for $150 by the Cooper County School District #5 from Isaac and Sarah Heard in April 1914.
"The site for the school was selected because of its location near the county road after the original wood frame school house, which was .25 miles west of the current building, burned down in 1913. Construction of the current building was completed in December of 1914," Jaeger stated.
In 1963, and after 48 years of teaching children, the school closed.
"When the school closed in 1963, the West Boonville Community Club was formed for the benefit to the community. There have been many groups use the facility, including, Junior Farmers, 4-H, Boy Scouts, several church groups; not to mention family reunions, wedding parties and the members who meet throughout the winter to play progressive pitch. We also have a Neighborhood Watch Program, which helps keep our community close," Jaeger added.
The center soon needed more space to accommodate the ever expanding events.
"Ron Bledsoe was WBCC President in 2000. He and his wife, Wilma, were instrumental in building improvements, which included adding a large kitchen and two bathrooms. The club was able to hold the cost down to $30,000 with volunteer help and some material donations. Nordyne donated the heating and air conditioning units, which was a huge donation for the club," Jaeger said.
There are two large garage sale fundraisers held every year at the center. The next sale will be this Friday and Saturday.
"The spring rummage sale will be held May 2-3 beginning at 8 a.m. each day. Ladies from the community work hard and put forth their best effort to make it a success. We’ve done well getting folks to drive a little farther to get the great deals we have. I think the schoolhouse atmosphere with all the space available and the socializing makes a difference. If it were not for the income from the rummage sales in the spring and the fall, it would be tough to stay open. The club is a non profit organization and gives back to the community. In the last two years they have donated money to the Neighbors Helping Neighbors, the Harvest House, the Boonville School Buddy Pack Program, the Boonville R-I Education Foundation and the Homeless Vets through a Thanksgiving meal provided by Linda Claas at A Touch of Claas Salon," Jaeger stated.
The center's board includes Ernie Walther, who serves as the vice president, Janet Fagin, who serves as the secretary and Crystal Taulbee, who serves as treasurer. Sheryl Shaw, Margaret Bruegging and Jim Twitchell also are board members.