Woman Works to Restore Historic School House

Published 10/03 2013 04:52AM

Updated 10/03 2013 11:06AM

FAIR GROVE, Mo. -- We all remember our childhood classrooms.  For some,  those rooms were among several in one building.

For others, that one room was the building, making them a living legacy in the history of education.

The world's oldest person is 115 years old.  And not even she was alive to see the construction of Missouri's Liberty School - a one room school house waiting for a new identity.

"This is part of the history of our country... It's not always taught in books."

Neighboring Fellows Lake off Farm Road 66, is an ordinary hay field.

But this field contains part of the unique history of Norma Lee Tolbert, and  the rest of the Liberty School alumni.

"For some reason I remember the hyacinths and that's what we had for corsages."

The school has been documented to exist since 1895. But..."We really believe it was before that because the Liberty church was organized in 1845... pre Civil War."

This one room school housed about 20 to 30 first through eighth grade students every year until the school consolidated with the Fair Grove school district in 1951.

"We were able to listen to the other classes having their lessons if we wanted to."

Over 118 years, this school house has gone from the center of attention - to no attention.  Beaten and bruised by Mother Nature.  One woman and her committee of five now desire to bring their childhood memories back to life... to educate tomorrow's generation.

"I do believe it is important to teach about our education and about our country."

Norma and her committee, Saving Liberty, have raised just enough money to move the school.  But $18,000-$20,000 is still needed to completely restore this textbook school house.

"Porch... Complete the bell tower...and a couple of other things," Tolbert says.

The goal is to move the school house to the farmstead at Nathaniel Green Park. There, the building will serve as a historical field trip for elementary students.
If you would like to donate, you can call Norma at 417-833-2352.

Learn more about the Missouri Historic Schools Alliance efforts to restore and maintain one-room school houses across Missouri.

Copyright 2015 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.