Last time I talked about what I call relics of the rural past; one-room schoolhouses, rural post offices, and crossroads general stores, for example. Following up on that post, I dug out a detailed topographic map, dating from the 1940s, that used to belong to my dad. It was part of a series of such maps put out by the U. S. Geological Survey. This particular one covers the northeast part of Greene County, Missouri (including Fair Grove and Strafford), the western edge of Webster County, the southern part of Dallas, and the southeast corner of Polk. I was struck my the number of small, rural schools listed on the map that, as far as I know, do not exist today. They include Persimmon Grove School, Rock Prairie School, and Union Grove School in Polk County; Hasten School, New Garden School, Old Goss School, and Olive School in Dallas County; Bodenhammer School, Goss School (not to be confused with Old Goss School), Holman School, and Minor School in Webster County; and Bell View School, Hickory Barren School, Ingram School, Liberty School, Locust Prairie School, and Whitlock School in Greene County. And this, mind you, covers just a small area of about 18 by 14 miles.
Of the schools mentioned above the one that was closest to Fair Grove, where I grew up, was Hickory Barren. (Actually Old Goss School might have been slightly closer, but it was in Dallas County.)
I well remember when Hickory Barren closed and was consolidated with Fair Grove. I was starting third grade when the kids who had previously gone to Hickory Barren came to Fair Grove; so this would have been the fall of 1954. Most of the others probably closed about the same time or even earlier. If anybody knows anything about any of the other schools I've listed above, I'd enjoy hearing from you.
By the way, Elkland in Webster County, also falls within the boundaries of this map, and it used to have a high school that, sometime in the late 1950s, consolidated with Buffalo, Fair Grove, and Marshfield. For many years after that, it had only an elementary school, which was part of the Marshfield school system. I'm not sure whether Elkland still has a grade school or not.
Labels: Fair Grove, Hickory Barren, Strafford