The Green School

The Green School was located on the north side of M-32 about a mile west of the Thunder Bay River bridge. My mother, Catherine Huston's, first teaching assignment in 1938 was the Green School. She replaced Avis Hawley who was getting to be visibly pregnant. At the time pregnant women weren't allowed to teach, and married women, especially with children, were strongly discouraged from teaching. Maybe people thought it was a communicable condition and the kids would catch it by exposure.

About 1931 Viola Beatty taught at the Green School. After a few years of teaching she married my grandfather's brother, Alger Herron. In the 1930s he owned and operated the bar I always knew as Jack's Landing, which is about two miles west of the Green School on the south side of M-32. After they were married they lived on Alger's father's, George S. Herron's farm, my great grandfather's farm. The farm is located where the road from Russ and Georgie Black's old farm (Black Rd.) intersects Elsevere Rd.

Note that one of the teacher is Marie Reichle Cook. She also taught at the Doyle School. There is a photograph of her with her Doyle School students in 1931.

A view of the business end school from a side window. I was only in it as a kid a couple of times when my mother, as secretary of the township school board, stocked it with the year's supplies the week before school started. That was a big adventure to ten-year-old in Spratt in 1959 or 1960.  

The belfry and bell from the Green School. My dad, Elden Herron, bought the old Spratt School after the move to the consolidated school in the spring of 1960, I think it was. We had that bell for a couple of years. Little realizing I would later think of it as cultural treasure, I took it to an AHS football game in 1963 and promptly broke it. Actually, if I'd the good sense God gave goose grease, I'd have realized that the treatment I was going to give it would be fatal to bell, and I'd have left it home. Even then, though full of myself as only a high school freshman can be, I felt an attachment to the bell and felt somewhat sad about breaking it. It's my only defense, young and stupid. I throw myself before the court and beg for mercy.  

 (Left and Right) Views across the Green School from the rearmost side windows.

Notice the small stove. By the 1950s when I attended the Alfalfa and Spratt Schools these small stoves had been replaced by much larger stoves and the exposed pipe, which acted a good condenser for creosote and other heavy volotiles and which led to a great number of flue fires, were things of the past, at least in the schools. I had forgotten about it until I saw the restoration of the Spratt Church. I do recall that pipe across the ceiling of the church when I was very young, maybe two or three.  

The Green School approximately as it would have appeared to someone traveling from Hillman to Alpena in the first three quarters of the 20th Century. Note the fact that the school is missing its belfry (above), which was mounted on the near-end of the peak.

Note also the proximity of that red pump to the noble outhouse to the left rear of picture. The shallow aquifers tapped by those hand-pumped wells were subject to constant testing by the health department. They would occasionally show contamination and someone in the neighborhood would haul in good water daily. It was generally poured into a grey crockery pot, and the remnants were emptied every night. Failure to empty the crock in the winter was sure to result in a frozen and broken crock the next morning. No such thing as insulation when these babies were built. I remember my dad, Elden, and his brother, Orville, hauling a lot water to the Spratt School. That well was almost always quarantined in the two and a half years I went there. Of course, as the oldest school around it had nearly eighty years of students' best efforts weighing on that aquifer.  


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