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Grove School, Hwy 107, Brown County, IL

I saw this place about a month ago when I was heading over to Missouri to buy fruit trees for my farm. It was raining hard at the time and was not convenient to stop but I really wanted to go back, so I did last. That was a drizzly day but not quite so bad as the previous time. Grove School was an operating country school from 1899 to 1954. In 1955 the school district closed several of the country schools and started busing the students to larger schools in nearby towns. During the years it was opened, it offered classes to grades 1-8 all in the same room at the same time. Students walked or rode horses and much later cars to the school each morning for classes beginning at 7:30 am. Some students walked over 5 miles to get here. While I was there photographing, a local resident named Betty Clayton stopped by to see what I was doing there. She was the one who told me the name of the school and the years it was open. She had been a student there until 1952. The upright concert grand piano inside was sold by a company called Weiler Brothers Piano Company who operated in nearby Quincy, IL from 1899 until the early years of the Great Depression. A newspaper ad from 1920 said "The World's greatest Pianos and Player Pianos are sold at Weilers, victrolas and jewelry a specialty. Quincy's leading Music House." The Adams County Historical Society tells me that in the early 1900's Weiler Brothers became a household name in that part of Illinois and the boxes that were used to deliver the pianos, painted with the Weiler Brothers logo, could still be seen on local family farms for years afterward. The present owner of building, in an attempt to preserve it, put a new metal roof on a few years ago, according to Mrs. Clayton. This is a long post so the lions share of photos are behind the cut.

Front close-up.

The birds were attempting a takeover.

Front door.

Old meter and conduit.

Care to stick your finger in there?

A teasing peak inside.

Unlucky transom.

Lock plate long unused.

Looking up into the attic from front door.


This is the view I first saw from the road.

Creeping closer.

Windows. Can you imagine all the little faces gazing out?

The sash weights have fallen and pushed out the casement.

Sash weight detail.

Window latch.

Hook and nail.

Brick decoration.

Rear of school. I wonder how many kids had their butts beat with a switch back here?

Stovepipe. Betty told me there had been a coal burning stove in the school at one time.

Corner and back steps.

From front corner looking back because the big tree did not allow for a good shot from the back.

Back door and another peek inside.

Door knobs.

Vine framed window.

Virginia creeper doing its thing.

An old attempt at security.

A prison for rodents? Or a crawl space vent.

The only creature in residence. Someone's kitty didn't come home that night.

Interior pan. Glorious ruin.

Can you see the lunch pails and winter coats lined up here?

Watch your step.

Curiosity got the better of me and I ventured inside, stepping only on floor joists.

Pressed tin celing. Someone took some care and expense in building this place.

Look, TV in the classroom!

Billy, come up to the black board and show me your answer to 7 x 12.

Gas stove which may have been used in later years.

Old Electronic Tube Tester.

And one of the tubes.

Looks like this was a multimedia classroom.

Corn Sheller also being stored here but from the same era.

Details, details!

New light through old windows.

Franklin Ernst, your name will be remembered.

Sunset glare.

Book crate.

Ain't she a beauty?

Foot power.

No fingers tickling these ivories in a long time.

The Weiler Brothers legacy. The upper bar said, "This instrument is warranted for ten years by the manufacturer." If it were a Sears Craftsman, you could still get your money back on it.

Time-frozen hammers and wires.

Upright Concert Grand. Again, the backers of this school had some money.

I sent this to a piano repairman who said it was way past fixing but was still worth hundreds if not more.

Mrs. Betty Clayton stopping by to check up on me. Can you see her as a young child coming to school with the same enthusiasm?

Now there are some real antiques. Pull tops from cans.

Much the same view as 100 years ago.

cross posted to rural_ruin




( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 23rd, 2006 08:56 pm (UTC)
Good of the owner to the metal roof on it, otherwise it would soon be gone.
May. 23rd, 2006 09:02 pm (UTC)
It will last a few more decades like this because of the metal and the brick but the wood will be all gone in just a few more years.

May. 23rd, 2006 11:27 pm (UTC)
What a neat building. It's so fascinating to see things like this from a gone era...things just aren't like it these days.
You find the coolest things to take pictures of!
May. 23rd, 2006 11:46 pm (UTC)
Mostly by accident I find them but it's a fine reward for all the wandering around I do. Thanks!

May. 23rd, 2006 11:51 pm (UTC)
I saw two of those pictures and got (really) inspired. Do you mind if I keep them and do my thing? I'll be sure to show you first, then you can tell me to sod off if you'd like.

May. 23rd, 2006 11:53 pm (UTC)
BTW, "My thing" will probably include the photo as decoration for text. A poem or a prose...something of that nature.
May. 24th, 2006 02:49 pm (UTC)
That's cool. I'm working on my Photography Studio website right now and many of my finds will end up there for show and sale. I'll let you know when it's up and anything you see there, you could play with as well.

May. 25th, 2006 04:12 am (UTC)
What an honor!
May. 24th, 2006 02:43 pm (UTC)
Go ahead. I like it when people take the ball and run with something I've done. Just give me credit for the original is all I ask.

May. 25th, 2006 04:14 am (UTC)
Of Course, I always give credit.

I was just going to do it for fun, but there's always the off-shot something will take it further. In those cases, credit's a MUST.
May. 25th, 2006 03:00 pm (UTC)
For a few years now, I've been working on a book pairing my b/w photography with a friend's poetry. I like doing that sort of collaboration.

Jun. 1st, 2006 07:21 am (UTC)
Okay, my journal site Features a photo by Mark, himself.
Thank you for letting me use it...I'm happy with what came from it.
It's nothing special, but when I saw it, I knew it had to be.

(you're credited on my Info Page). =)

Jun. 1st, 2006 03:22 pm (UTC)
cool. Thanks!

May. 24th, 2006 03:36 am (UTC)
That's an awesome find! I would so love to go exploring with you sometime!
May. 24th, 2006 02:48 pm (UTC)
I'd like that too. We should pick a place mid-way between each of us and spend a day exploring for ruins and shooting what we find. That gives us lots of open rural territory.

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )


Wander aka StoneBear
Bear Dancer Studios

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