No nono, don’t get the wrong idea – this certainly isn’t the end! But we have had some pretty significant lasts the last few weeks. I’ll start with Marie.

Back in 1943-1944 or thereabouts, our Bass Lake School was in the middle of it’s last years as a schoolhouse proper for the local kids. The current teacher wasn’t able to continue teaching at Bass Lake, so the search was on for a replacement. Fortunately just up the road at Orr School was a solution. A young teacher in her first years of teaching, just out of the Normal school in St Croix Falls was willing to make the switch. Enter Ms. Olsen, the last teacher of Bass Lake School.

I was fortunate to spend an hour talking to this amazing woman. Marie took on a schoolhouse FULL of kids, from grades one to eight. Those last years were some of the fullest the school had ever seen. Not only did she run the school like a pro, but was inspired to continue teaching for decades, in schools here and to the far reaches of Alaska. A most amazing lady and my new hero.

Would these have been some of Marie’s students? Any of you recognize yourself in here?

Talking to Marie was the first and best of the lasts, but there were others for us. This doesn’t look like much, but it is the last bit of framing to the interior.

And this, can you guess, is the last sheet of drywall.

With that, at last, we’re finished with the ‘construction’ bit of this restoration and are moving into ‘finishing’ stage. Hooray! Now we can really start to get creative and bring the personality of the school back in.

But that leaves us with one more last – one last move of all the stuff we drug upstairs for general living back to the basement for a few weeks while the taper comes in to finish the ceiling and walls. This actually created a first for us as we tried to find places for all the things. I’m thinking this should become a thing – a fridge and coffee maker in the bathroom. Whaddya think?

Janelle currently resides in 'the country', WI. She grew up in Gothenburg, NE and spent several years on the move with the Army, then to Omaha and MN. She works for a medical health information publisher in her regular time and spends her free time imagining the next project at the School.

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This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. We are so glad you come to visit the site! I love learning about how the school was used so long ago and meeting the people who were a part of it. I’m glad to share it with you all, and so happy to hear it can be a part of what kids are learning, once again! Thanks for reading and come back anytime!

  2. My kids and I are reading a book called, “The secret school” by Avi. It’s set in Colorado in a school house that certainly sounds a lot like Bass Lake school! Thank you for generously letting us visit as well as keeping us up to date with the blog. That has helped them form some ideas about local history while giving them context for this current book and life of an early 20th century student. We appreciate your efforts!

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