Popcorn School No. 4

Franklin Township, Decatur County, Iowa
 In 1874 the first Popcorn Schoolhouse was built of brick structure in Franklin Township on 3/4 acre of land located 1 1/2 miles east of Van Wert and one mile south. It was purchased of C.J. Barrackman for $30.00. The school was named Popcorn School because the children brought lots of popcorn to school.

The second schoolhouse as pictured was built on the old foundation in the summer of 1897 by the Penniwell Brothers. In 1924, it was voted to have eight month school terms.

Over a period of years things were done to bring the school up to standardization. Some of them were moving the stove to the back of the schoolhouse, building a new chimney, putting in ventilation registers in the school foundation, buying a record player and records, new library books and maps, laying crushed brick walks to the outbuilding and coal house, putting new wooden lattice screens in front of the outhouses and some playground equipment.

In the winter when Edna (Wood) Kelley taught the first time, the parents would take turns and furnish a hot dish for the entire school. This was brought about 11:30 and placed on top of the heating stove to keep warm until noon. This was really enjoyed by the pupils and teacher along with their lunches brought from home.

In the spring of 1931, the school participated in a State Chorus which was held at the KRNT Theatre in Des Moines. there were 2,000 grade pupils in the State on the stage at one time. Naomi Bulkeley was teacher in 1937 to 1939, Doris (Redman) Houck had a school band.

In 1948 a music teacher was hired by the Franklin School Board President, Marvin Gordan. This continued until the schools were closed.

The annex was built onto the school in the summer of 1950 by Ivan Corsbie. This made more room for coats, caps, overshoes, water fountain, hot plate and lunch pails.

In 1954, all schools in Franklin Township went to the Weldon Gym and put on a musical program with makeup and costumes, directed by Mrs. Claire Faust, the music teacher.

The PTA was very active all through the years.

When the number of pupils dropped, the adults in the community would help put on the programs for the box and pie suppers.

Old Popcorn was closed in the spring of 1959, and a farewell party was held for all teachers and pupils who had ever taught or gone to school there. There were 25 pupils who attended their first term here and six former teachers present at the party.

Three generations of the Ira Price and John Fierce families, attended this school. Lillie (Fierce) Corsbie got all of her schooling here. All four of the children, Mrs. Mamie (Gordon) Craig, Mrs. Mildred Adams, Mrs. Mable Horney, and Merlyn Corsbie and nine of her 14 grandchildren, Meryle, Kenneth, Ronald, and Donald Gordon, Robert, Richard and Russell Horney, and Kathy and Michael Adams, all attended this school.

The schoolhouse was torn down in 1964 and the cement and foundation were buried. The trees were cut in 1964 or 1965 and the ground has been farmed every year since.

Music teachers at Popcorn from 1948 to 1959: Mrs. Selma (Lipsett) Thompson, Mrs. Claire Faust, Mrs. LaNelle Buckingham, Mrs. Joan Findley, Mrs. Flossie Gillham, and Mrs. Helen Flockhart.

Teachers from 1800 to 1959 were: Jessie E. Hacker, Lanie Meek, Dora Barrackman, Kate Curry, Anise Strong, Nettie Starr, India Dailey, Lotta Daily, Myrtle Miller, Harriet Kirkpatrick, Rafe Porter, Edna Moore, Ina Overholtzer, Daisy Ross, Helen Gardner, Lennie Gardner, Kate Lathrop, Hazel Hawkins, Verlie Price, Rose Lamoree, Jennie Ritter, W.R. Hines, Edmund Blair, Neva Curry, Gladys Chambers, Eunice Long, Jane Follmer, Berniece Ochlatree, Rose Lamoree, Annie Bunch, Nellie Pearcy, Margaret Jane Jones, Iva Garton, Louise Oldaker, Jennis Edge, Edna Wood, Naomi Bulkeley, Edna (Wood) Kelley, Helen Halverson, Letha Krouch, Doris (Redman) Houck, Berniece Fullerton, Robert Conwell, Beatrice Andrews, Gretchen Miller, Ethel Bunch, Florence Fulton, Josephine Shook, and Hazel Christensen.

Selma (Lipsett) Thompson and Naomi Bowen filled in at the time Ethel Bunch passed away Christmas, 1950.

Taken from the records of Lillie (Fierce) Corsbie.
~ "A Century of Memories of Van Wert, Iowa: 1880 - 1980"
click on images for larger views
1903 - 1904

1909 - 1910

Cyril Johnson, Verla Price, Vera Lantz, Fern Lantz, Meryl Johnson, Clyde Johnson, Winnie Wolfe, Gladys Price, Leo Price, Josie Blair, Roland Hollingshead, Cecil Johnson, Lillie Fierce, Ray Lantz, Edith Lantz, John Blair, Edward Blair, Cleveland Wolfe, Lenore Price, Clifford Johnson, Donald Price, Robert Edge, Lelah Hollingshead

Sherry's father, grandfather (Donald Price, listed in this class) and great-grandparents attended Popcorn School 1880-1930's, and where Sherry attended her Kindergarten year, 1950. Contributed by Sherry (Price/Turpen) Balow.

1916 Popcorn School Souvenir
Courtesy of Decatur County Historical Museum and Bob Bixby

Popcorn School*


Popcorn School**

ca. 1932

Popcorn School


Shirley Rhodes


Popcorn School

Spring of 1945

4 Generations*

The Price Family, 1950

1st Day of School*

Sherry Balow, 1950
* Contributions by Sherry (Price/Turpen) Balow
** Photograph belonged to Ray West; Contribution by Barry West; Names courtesy of Sherry Balow and Glenn Bullard
Original page created by Sharon Becker 2013; reformatted by Conni McDaniel Hall Oct 2019.
Schools Directory *** Decatur County IAGenWeb