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MERRY BROOK SCHOOL MUSEUM
HCGS entrance in back
Home of the Harrison County Genealogical Society Library
Woodbine, Iowa
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The first information found on the Merry Brook School is the land record dated 24 November 1887 when Almor Stern & his wife Laura sold one acre of ground to the District Township of Boyer to be a part of the new school district. It is known that the school was on the property because it was noted on the 1884 atlas. It is believed to have been built in the 1870's. This transaction was also mentioned in the land records on 3 February 1899, when the Sterns sold their land to J. C. Milliman and his wife Della, which stated except for the school house site of one acre.

Merry Brook School was originally located on an acre of land in the northwest corner, of the northwest quarter, of the northeast quarter of Section 24, Township 80, Range 42 west 5th pm Iowa, described as commencing at the northwest corner of said tract running south on west line sixteen rods, thence east ten rods, thence north sixteen rods to the north line of said trace and thence west ten rods to the place of beginning. This property is in the vicinity of the current Woodbine Airport. The school was named for the merry little brook that ran near it. The school property was large enough for a ball diamond next to the school and had a fine hill for sledding.

Some of the former teachers at Merry Brook country school were Winifred Lewis, Allene Meadows, Mrs. R.L. Davis, Dorothy Lewis, Mattie Crowder, Gladys Smith, Dorothy Shinn, Doris Young, Zella Adams, Kathryn Gibson Newland, Marian A Ross, Katharyn A. Logan, Mrs. Jessie Yocom, Viola Bagley, Doris Mullenix (Thoms), and Cleo Smith (Tupper).

In 1958 improvements at the airport of a longer runway and additional hangers for planes required the school land. Merry Brook was moved to Woodbine to a location between the Woodbine Elementary & Middle School and used as a 5th grade class room with Lois Seeley as the teacher. It was at this time that the belfry & bell were removed from the building. Thirty-three years later in April 1991, the school was moved to its current location at 212 Lincoln Way in Kiwanis Park. Move U Inc. was paid $2500.00 to relocate the school. A group called Friends of the Little White School had been formed to solicit donations for an entire restoration of the school. Betty Jane Waite was the treasurer for the fund and donations were to be contributed at the Liberty Bank & Trust or the Woodbine Kiwanis. The school was set upon a basement foundation and work began with a goal of having the restoration complete by the end of September 1991 for Applefest. Ownership of the school was transferred to the City of Woodbine.

The Harrison County Genealogical Society expressed interest in making the Merry Brook School their headquarters and they were approved to occupy the basement area. A host of contributors and volunteers joined efforts to make the restoration a reality. Among the contributors and volunteers were Charlotte & Leroy Burbridge, Helen Ehlert, Donna Hammitt, Lorene Heistand, Rose Heistand, Marie & Zell Millard, Swain Realty, Elaine Ehlert, Linda Dickman and other members of the Harrison County Genealogical Society. Their goal was met and during Applefest on September 28th, 1991, Helen Ehlert, a former rural school teacher and leading supporter of the Merry Brook School restoration, presented a program in the morning. In the afternoon, John Adams spoke on the Great Plains History and Paul Maddy spoke on rescuing Pioneer gravestones. Thus began a tradition of having a guest speaker at the Merry Brook School during Applefest. Donations have continued and the school is furnished with period items replicating school days in the past.

In 2006 a replicated belfry & bell were created by Charles Kerger and were installed on top of the building with help from the community and the city employees. The Little White School, now known as the Merry Brook School Museum proudly represents all one room country schools.


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