FREEPORT, Ill. — When school consolidations in the 1950s forced the closing of Millerburg School on West Stephenson Street Road in Freeport, Ill., little thought was given to the long-term fate of the building where hundreds of youth first experienced formal education.
Today, the building stands on the grounds of the Stephenson County Museum and is in desperate need of repair. A sagging roof, bowed walls, peeling paint and cracked plaster are a few of the obvious defects of a building that is now serving as a tool for teaching history to Freeport and area children.
The Stephenson County Historical Society is launching a public campaign to raise $41,000 of the estimated $111,000 in repairs that are needed. A grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources under their Museum Capital Grant Program will provide the remaining $70,000.
The campaign will kick off with a Cheese and Wine Tasting Reception. The major feature of the fund-raising effort is a direct-mail campaign, and letters have already been mailed.
The Cheese and Wine Tasting Reception will be from 6 to 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 5, in the Oscar Taylor Home at 1440 S. Carroll Ave. Admission is by prior donation only. No donations or tickets will be available at the door. Anyone interested in attending can call the museum at (815) 232-8419.
The wine is provided by Famous Fossil Winery of Cedarville, while the cheeses are provided by The Cheese Market of Freeport. Liana Collalti and Cathy Wilhelms will provide sweet treats. Roger Kerr and Harvey Wilhelms are chairmen of the event.
“Providing a legacy for future generations of children is our goal,” said Wilhelms, president of the Stephenson County Historical Society. “Having a safe and attractive facility will allow us to continue our efforts to tell the story of the role of the one-room school house in American history.”
From the Nov. 2-8, 2011, issue