Archive for Wednesday, December 29, 1999

Courier and Ives comes to life at party held at schoolhouse

December 29, 1999

For the first time in many years, last Wednesday night as snowflakes gently fell outside, the Honey Valley schoolhouse was the scene of an old-fashioned Christmas party.

"It's like something out of Courier and Ives," said Russ Kapp.

As Allen Macfarlane, Kapp and Kathleen Gannon, all from Lawrence, played Christmas carols with the flute, guitar, harmonica and dulcimer, members of Tonganoxie's Girl Scout Troop No. 1589 and their families sang along. Some of the girls sat at the old wooden desks that line the room, others stood in a group near the pot-bellied stove.

It was a party to remember, said Hillary McPherson, 8.

"It was pretty cool," she said.

Michelle Crook, 8, said it was a great experience.

"It was neat to see the old pictures on the walls," she said. "I liked to see how they got to sit at their desks and how they had a fire."

Katelin Kerbaugh, 8, said she enjoyed seeing how children used to go to school.

"I think is it neat having a Christmas party here," she added.

Shari Petree, a mother of a Girl Scout, said, "It's so nice being at the old schoolhouse with the snow falling outside it's very Christmasy."

Going along with the old-fashioned party were gifts that troop leader Kelly Hewins said the girls made themselves.

The girls also fashioned ornaments from photographs and lace and hung them on a Christmas tree, Hewins said.

Sandy Dreifuss, one of the organizers of the party, said she appreciated being able to use the building.

"Tonganoxie is very fortunate to have people like Del Englen and members of the historical society," Dreifuss said. "They take the time and effort to preserve the antiquities for future generations."

The school, built in 1916, was donated to the historical society by the family of Gordon Harman and moved to the present site in 1991.

Historical society members renovated the building and scoured the area for furnishings, buying old desks in Missouri and chalkboards in rural Kansas. The schoolhouse was rededicated and opened in September 1999.

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