A short history of Maple Grove School - District #2 Brownsotwn Twp.
Taken from old District records and memories of this writer, Mary Strewing-Quick-Erving. Transcribed from the original by Brownstown Historical Society.
May 2000 by Angie Pimpedly. and Richard G. Smith
History of Maple Grove / District #2
The first schoolhouse built in this District was built about one-half mile west of Telegraph Road, and on the south side of Van Horn Road. It stood about 1/4 mile east of Arsenal Road, and nearly across from what was known as the Joe Bird home. It was a very small building built of logs, and known as Brownstown #2.
In a few years this schoolhouse was abandoned, and another small log schoolhouse was built across from the present old brick schoolhouse, and just a little northeast of where the Fred Neifert store now stands, just a landmark as I remember it. Then about the year 1869 or shortly after the close of the Civil War, Mr. Moses Rumsey donated 1/2 acre of ground on the south east corner of Van Horn & Telegraph Road, to be used for school and church purposes. At this time this District derived its name Maple Grove District, from the many beautiful large Maple trees that grew on this Plat, where the old brick school now stands.
Steps were immediately taken by the School Board to build a new schoolhouse, the District was bonded for $1,000 for three years and work begun on the building, which was a frame structure with three windows on each side of the building, on each side of the door and faced Van Horn Road. Church services, prayer meetings, and funerals were held here for many years, also social activities, such as spelling bees, writing classes, singing schools, and plays rendered by neighborhood talent. In 1889 this building became overcrowded, and an addition of 12 feet was built on the south end of the building, with one more window added on each side. The interior of this building was wainscoted up to a short distance above the window sill and painted a bluish-gray. The upper part of the wall was plastered and whitewashed in a plain white, 4 inch strips of finished lumber nailed between each window and painted the same as the wainscoting with iron clothes hooks fastened to them, provided a convenient place for pupils garments.
In 1874 a good well had been dug up by Mr. B. P. Erving, in the north east corner of this school ground. It was bricked up, and with a chain pump and plank covering, from this well water was carried in a wooden pail and placed either on an old chair or a wooden box in the rear of the room, with a tin cup hung on a nail near the pail, also a tin cup hung on the pump.
In those days wood was the only fuel, and this school was heated by a large box stove, with a capacity for 24 inch wood, so at the District’s annual meeting, the School Board would buy ten cords of 4 foot cord wood from the lowest bidder which averaged in different years from $.60 to $.90 per cord, this meant that the man furnishing the wood was expected to cut this wood once in two (as this wood was 4 foot long) and had to be nicely piled in ranks, so it could be measured up by the School Board. Records show that in the year 1871 the wood was furnished by Mr. James Walker, at $.67 per cord, that meant the winter’s fuel cost the District $6.70.
What library books they had in those days was kept at the home of the Director, anyone wishing to read a library book went to the Director’s home and signed up for the book, (not many books were lost). In 1880, $5.00 was ordered spread on the tax roll of this District for incidental expenses of the school.
The lighting of this building consisted of four kerosene lamps suspended from the ceiling in sort of a small metal basket, and an oil bracket lamp on each and of the blackboard. The equipment of the room consisted of the teachers desk and chair, hand bell, a dictionary, a large map of North & South America, a picture of George Washington, a broom, a wooden water pail tin cup, fire shovel, fire poker, and an axe, beside the pupils desks and recitation seat.
In 1906, 16 years after the addition had been built on this building, our school was again crowded to its full capacity, and steps had to, again, be taken to enlarge our school room. So on June 7, 1906 a special meeting of the District voters was called to decide what could be done regarding the building of a new schoolhouse, 11 legal voters were present. The question was brought up and discussed, then a ballot was taken, and proved a unanimous ballot in favor of a new schoolhouse. The size to be 26 x 46 x 12 and to be built of brick.
A Building Committee was immediately appointed consisting of George Erving, David King, Charles Strewing, Fred Boelter, and Oliver Grigg. This committee lost no time, in spite of injunctions and oppositions brought up to prevent the building of this schoolhouse. The School Board and Building Committee struggled on, determined to have a new schoolhouse. The brick in this building was made and delivered on the ground by the Bunte Brothers of Arsenal Road.
On January 13, 1906, a meeting of the School Board was held. The school building was completed at a cost of $1700.01??? on this date the bills were accepted, the committee discharged, and the old schoolhouse sold to the highest bidder, Joseph Quick for $35.00 then resold to the Bunte Brothers (for $40.00) and now in 1946 the old building still stands at the tile yard on Arsenal Road and used as a storeroom. When the new schoolhouse was completed, parents in the District were very happy, and remarked, well there now, we are all set for school room, we will never have to complain for the lack of school room here again, but alas they failed to see what a few years might bring forth.
On August 10, 1915, Mr. L. Near?? Rumsey & wife Clara, donated to the District a 1/2 acre of ground adjoining a parcel donated by his father Mr. Moses Rumsey, in 1869 on the south. The District now owned one acre of ground, a wonderful school site with beautiful large Maple trees. In 1924, just 18 years after the brick building was completed, the very thing that parents failed to realize in 1906, was again confronting the District. We are again overcrowded, and we have two teachers in one room, we are now compelled to change one of our cloak and anterooms into a classroom, which will help out again for a time at least. But this relief seemed only temporary and something must be done. Special meetings of the electors was called by the School Board to enable the District to come to some conclusion on what could be done. when suddenly one day as if out of a clear sky, a Mr. Burns, a representative of the E. P. McFadden Company of Lansing, an old and reliable school supply company, called on the Secretary of the School Board. The School Board then consisted of John Ferstle Jr. as Moderator, William Bristow as Treasurer, and Mary Quick as Secretary. It was then a three member board, this being a Primary District.
Having heard of the crowded condition of this District, this Representative made the School Board a proposition, which was to erect a two room portable building with two cloak rooms, and two inside lavatories, and blackboards and window shades throughout the building, and two furnaces, with one room completely equipped with teachers and pupils desks to start school in. By the time school commenced in September 1924, at a cost of $5,000, to be paid in yearly installments of $1,000 and the interest, the Board met and talked over the proposition, and finally decided it was the chance of our lives, and accepted the offer, and got right busy and got a good block foundation ready for the building. And according to all agreements, when school opened in September 1924, the pupils of Maple Grove School walked into a very comfortable new school building, which would work out very nicely, until the District was financially able to build that anticipated modern school building.
Two years later, in 1926, the Real Estate people came into this District, and the property on the south of the school property, was about to be sold, it dawned on the School Board they had better get busy and purchase a parcel of that property for the school play ground, before it is too late, fully realizing that the District still had $3,000 to pay on their building, and that it would mean an extra burden on the Taxpayers. But as the playground was much too small for the number of its pupils and looking forward to the constant growth of our District, and for the interest of our pupils, and your pupils, they decided to make the purchase of an acre from the Blanchard Estate, which bordered the school ground on the south at the exorbitant price of $2,000 per acre. This put the District back to $5,000 in debt again, and now with three teachers on the payroll.
In Spring of 1927 conditions were such that our Wayne County School Commissioner, Mr. Eber W. Frost, advised the then three member Board to change their District government from a Primary District to a Graded District. So on July 11, 1927, at the annual meeting the question was brought up and the proposition explained and discussed, a vote was taken which resulted in an almost unanimous vote in favor of the change. A vote was taken which declared the Board vacant, with an election for the new Board of five members in order. The following people were then elected Trustees: Peter Bertram, Edward Sylvester, John Borchardt, Arthur Boelter, and Mary Quick. The they in turn elected from their number, a President, a Secretary, a Treasurer, and two Trustees. The District now felt they had gained another step in the advancement of Maple Grove School. The with careful planning and strict economy, the $5,000 indebtedness with interest was gradually paid off and a building fund started for that modern school which was so badly needed for our pupils, and a goal the School Board has set out to achieve.
Then in 1936, the School Board decided it would be a wise plan to purchase more property for our growing District if we had the opportunity. Fortunately, the Board was able to purchase the much coveted piece of property with tat sand hill for our school playground, which bordered the school grounds on the east, from Mr. & Mrs. Fred Rutkosky, and property formerly known as the Erving Farm. And now we have again come to a point where we are again crowded for seating capacity but by altering the hall and cloak rooms, in the portable building, a fairly good classroom was arranged, and the fourth teacher engaged.
Now while all this was going one, the wheels of advancement and negotiations were on the move towards that nice modern schoolhouse, the District so keenly anticipated. For a time all communications and correspondence concerning our building project seemed to have died down, when one fine day in May 1941, the first load of building material was delivered on our school ground, then gradually the material was delivered. Workmen appeared on the job and walls went up for that long looked for structure, and while the building was in progress the School Board lost no time in purchasing the necessary furniture to equip four rooms as soon as the building was completed.
On December 10, 1941, the construction engineer, Mr. Arthur Hopkins, handed over the keys to the School Board President, Mr. Peter Bertram, and informed him that the ground floor was in readiness for the School Board’s part of the work. Mr. George Erving, maintenance man, got right busy and cleaned windows, cleaned and waxed floors and made the room ready for the furniture, Friday night December 12, 1941. And while this cleaning was going on, Arnold Bader, a little lad not yet five years old, was entertaining himself by printing the alphabet on the east blackboard in the auditorium. Arnold was the first child to make use of the blackboards in the new building, or rather the new eight room Maple Grove School.
On Saturday, December 13, 1941, Mrs. Lois Welkenbach, Head Teacher, turned out early in the morning with full force of her 7th and 8th grad boys to help assemble desks and arrange the four rooms to move in Monday morning. On Monday morning, December 15, 1941, the four teachers namely Mrs. Lois Welkenbach, Mrs. Tillie Williams, Mrs. Lucille MacKenzie, and Mrs. Hazel Harrison, with their groups of pupils moved into the new modern Maple Grove School. School opened by returned thanks to God, and Pledge Allegiance to our Flag, and singing the Star Spangled Banner, then fell into their regular order of school work.
The Christmas program of December 1941, was the first social activity held in the new Maple Grove schoolhouse. The Dedication of the new eight room school of Maple Grove District No. 2 of Brownstown Township, Wayne County, Michigan, was held at the schoolhouse on January 15, 1942 at 8:00 P.M.
Personnel of Maple Grove School
Board of Education:
Mr. Peter Bertram President
Mrs. Mary Erving Secretary
Mr. M. J. Supple Treasurer
Mr. Arthur Boelter Trustee
Mr. William Reinhold Trustee
Mr. George Erving Maintenance
Mrs. Lois Welkenbach 7th and 8th Grade
Mrs. Tillie Williams 5th and 6th Grade
Mrs. Lucille MacKenzie 3rd and 4th Grade
Mrs. Hazel Harrison B. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Grade
Mrs. Valeria Lazarz President
Mrs. Tressa Johnson Secretary
Mrs. Hazel Harrison Treasurer
County Superintendent of Schools Staff:
Mr. Fred C. Fischer Superintendent
Mr. Charles E. Brake Deputy Superintendent
Miss Mary G. Clark Supervising Teacher
Miss Isabelle Hoersch Music Supervisor
Mrs. Maxine Freeborn Visiting Teacher
Dr. H. C. Metzger County School Physician
Dr. C. V. Tossy County School Dentist
Presiding Officer Mr. Peter Bertram
Song: Star Spangled Banner Audience
Invocation Rev. Nathaniel Skidmore
History of School District No. 2, Brownstown Mrs. Mary Erving
Presentation of School Keys: Mr. Davey, Board of Auditors
Acceptance of Keys: Mr. William Reinhold
Dedication Mr. Arthur Boelter
Parents Appreciation Mrs. Catherine Muir
Pupils Appreciation Elwood Kurth
(President 8th Grade C.J.C.)
At this time Mr. & Mrs. George Erving, presented the school with a 6x10 Flag in memory of the teachers who had taught in our school and had passed on to their reward, in behalf of Mr. & Mrs. Erving, the presentation was made by, Mr. M. J. Supple.
Acceptance of the Flag Miss Thelma Kaiser
Introductions Miss Mary G. Clark
Speaker (Deputy Superintendent) Mr. Charles E. Brake,
Summarization Mr. Fred C. Fischer, (Wayne County Superintendent of Schools)
Benediction Reverend Jerome Kaufman
All these improvements and advancements have been made possible through the cooperation of the Wayne County Board of Auditors, the Wayne County School Commissioner’s Staff, the Federal Aid, and the untiring and economical planning of the District personnel.
During the year of 1942 the upper story of the new school was completed, the yard graded and seeded, sidewalks laid, the parking lot was stoned and through the generosity of one of the board members, Mr. Gamester, our school ground was landscaped with beautiful shrubbery,
In the Spring of 1944, Mr. Forest R. Crooks, then President of the Maple Grove Improvement Association, conceived the idea that a school with such a setup as the Maple Grove school has, was entitled to a nice flag bas & pole, and in behalf of the Improvement Association applied to the School Board for permission to plan and erect such a base. The School Board gladly accepted the invitation to such a proposal, and agreed to furnish the material if the Association would do the work.
Immediately upon consent of the School Board, the Improvement Association built a massive cement base with a recess on each side for the purpose of installing bronze plaques, if at any time the District or Organization wished to do so.
For a time it looked as though it would be impossible to obtain the piping for the flagpole, but through the kindness of the Socony Vacuum Oil Refinery, was donated to the Improvement Association a beautiful 55-foot pole, which was installed on the base and presented to the Maple Grove School, by the Association.
On September 24, 1944, a Homecoming and Flag Pole Dedication was held at the schoolhouse with the following program.
Flag Pole Dedication and Homecoming
September 24, 1944
Tonight the Maple Grove School District #2 Brownstown Twp., accepts and dedicates this beautiful gift from the Maple Grove Improvement Association and we dedicate it in honor of and to the memory of the boys of this District who have been, or are in the Service of our Country, protecting our Sacred Emblem and our American Democracy, and when our Boys return, they will be proud and will greatly appreciated the honor, our District, our Improvement Association, and all who had made this fit possible, and not forgetting the Socony Vacuum Oil Refining Co. for their generous contribution of this gift.
So now in behalf of the Maple Grove School District, we extend our most sincere Thanks, and we hope it will always be cherished with Respect.
Presiding Officer.............................................................................................. Mr. Peter Bertram
Singing the Star Spangled Banner............................................................. by the Group
Invocation.......................................................................................................... Rev. Nathaniel Skidmore
History of our Flag.......................................................................................... 7th & 8th Grade Room
The American Creed....................................................................................... 7th & 8th Grade Room
Presentation of the Flag Pole....................................................................... Mr. Forest R. Crooks
Acceptance of the Flag Pole......................................................................... Mrs. Mary Erving
Raising of the Flag
Pledge of Allegiance....................................................................................... 2nd & 3rd Grades
Civic Creed........................................................................................................ 6th Grade Room
Songs................................................................................................................... 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th Grade Rooms
Poems.................................................................................................................. 4th & 5th Grade Room
Parents Appreciation...................................................................................... Mrs. Kathryn Muir
Introductions..................................................................................................... Mrs. Hazel Harrison
Speaker................................................................................................................ Mr. Fred Fischer, School Commissioner
Benediction........................................................................................................ Rev. Skidmore having been called away.
A silent Benediction was in order.
The Flag Ceremony was very impressive, but sad, owing to the fact that the Flag was placed at half mast, in Honor of Robert E. Fritz, Son of Mr. & Mrs. Edward Fritz, and a pupil of Maple Grove School, word having just been received from the War Department, that Robert had been killed on Moratai Island, Dutch East Indies, September 23, 1944.
The sad news was received, just as we were about to begin our Flag Pole Dedication Program, and was keenly felt by all, our deepest sympathy rests with this Bereaved family.
After the program a real dinner was served to about 150 guests. September 24, 1944 was brought to a close with a very interesting program presented by the Maple Grove Boy Scout Master and his troop.
Four beautiful bronze plaques were installed in the recesses of the Flag Pole base, by the District and the Improvement Association, with the following inscriptions.
1st In Memory of our Boys of our District, who gave their lives for our Country.
2nd In Honor of the Boys of our District, who was in the Service of our Country.
3rd In Honor of the School Board, who was instrumental in the building of our modern Schoolhouse.
4th In Honor of the Maple Grove Improvement Association, who was instrumental in the erection of the Flag Pole and Base and beautiful Bronze Plaques.
Following is a list of the names of the Boys of Maple Grove District #2 and who attended the Maple Grove School, and served in World War II, (and the Branch of Service they served in)
Name Branch of Service
Agin, Elmer Army
Bader, Arthur Army
Begeman, Wilmer Army
Bertram, Bernard Army
Bertram, Francis Army
Boelter, Wilmer Army
Borchardt, Albert Army
Cooper, Dennis Navy
Crooks, Forest E. Navy
Delsi, Samuel Army
Delsi, Efistia Army
Delsi, Ugo Army
Duckworth, Richard Navy
Duvall, William Army
Ferstle, Mark Army
Fritz, Robert (killed in service) Army
Geibel, Henry Army
Geibel, Ervin Army
Geissler, Bryan Navy
Gerber, William Army
Gilstorf, Harley Navy
Gladding, Arthur Army
Greybenz, Adam Army
Greybenz, Phillip Army
Hanning, Donald Army
Hanning, Robert Army
Hanning, Raymond Army
Jakubaka, Joseph (killed in service) Army
Johnson, William Army
Kaiser, Albert Army
Kerby, Walter Navy
Kerr, Leroy Navy
Kehoe, Michael Navy
King, Norbert Navy
Kish, Joseph Army
Langel Stanley C.B. Navy
Lazary, Norbert Army
Livernois, Albert Army
Livernois, William Army
Livernois, Ervin Army
Livernois, Louis, Jr. Army
May, William Navy
McLoud, Kenneth Navy
Neisen, Ira Army
Neisen, Leroy Army
O’Brian, Thomas Navy
O’Brian, Charles Navy
Poleski, Walter Army
Reinhold, Robert Army
Reynold, Donald Army
Roloff, Arthur Army
Sanderson, Melvan Army
Schoen, Martin Navy
Schoen, George Navy
Szabo, Alexander Army
Szabo, Anthony Army
Szabo, Edward Army
Uplegger, Edwin Army
Wash, Joseph Army
Witte, Harvey Army
In June 1946 it dawned on several of the active members of Maple Grove Improvement Association, that if permission could be obtained from the School Board, it would be fitting to plant five nice Maple trees in front of our school building, along Van Horn Road, in respect to the old Board members that were instrumental in the building of our modern schoolhouse.
Those gentlemen, namely, Forest Crooks, Barney Conrad, and Angus Kerr, obtained the required permission from the Board and planted the trees which were all growing nicely, when in July 1946 the last three members of what will now be know as the old Maple Grove School Board, surrendered their offices to new members as follows. Mr. Peter Bertram, who was elected on the Maple Grove School Board in July 1927, and whose term of office has expired, with 19 years of continuous service on the Board to his credit, and having sold out his property interests in our District, was not a candidate for re-election.
Mr. Arthur Boelter, who also was elected on the Board in 192, and would still had another year to service in filling out his term of office, resigned with 19 years of continuos service to his credit. Mrs. Mary Erving, Nee Quick, was elected on the Board in July 1924, and would have one more year to serve, in filling out her term of office, also resigned, with 22 years of continuous service to her credit.
At this 1946 Annual School Meeting, Mrs. Lois Welkenbach, and Mr. Leon Pheiffer, was elected for a one year term each, and Mrs. Catherine Muir, for two years, to fill the vacancies caused by the resignations of the last three members of the old Board. The above named new members, together with the two members namely Mr. Clayton Brewster and Mr. John Ingram, who had been elected the previous year on the Board, now took over the management of the Maple Grove School District #2 Brownstown Twp., Wayne County, Michigan.
From a one acre plat and one room schoolhouse in 1924, our school property has increased to five acres of ground, and a completely modern 8 room fireproof and fully equipped Schoolhouse with a nice lawn and shrubbery, sidewalks and a large stoned parking lot. And now with the Annual election of the Maple Grove School Board Officer for 1946 being over, with the following Officers, namely Mr. John Ingram, Mr. Clayton Brewster, Mr. Leon Pheiffer, Mrs. Lois Welkenbach, and Mrs. Catherine Muir, in control and management of the District, may we turn back the pages of history and time to the year 1865 and review the Teacher situation and salaries, as shown by old records.
In August 1865, Miss N. F. Fair, a qualified teacher was engaged to teach the Maple Grove School, or District #2 as it was then known, for 13 weeks at $3.50 per week.
August 1867 Miss Livingston was engaged for 13 weeks at $4.25 per week
August 1868 Miss Cameron was engaged for 13 weeks at $2.50 per week
December 1869 Miss Reynolds, was engaged for 16 weeks at $5.00 per week
May 1870 Miss Stagg, was engaged for 16 weeks at $2.50 per week
Nov 1871 Miss Collard, was engaged for 16 weeks at $4.25 per week
May 1873 Miss Hitchcock, was engaged for 16 weeks at $4.00 per week
Nov 1876 Miss Peters, was engaged for 8 weeks at $3.00 per week
May 1877 Miss Carrie Thorn, was engaged for 12 weeks at $2.00 per week
Nov 1877 Mr. D. Wagar, was engaged for 16 weeks at $7.00 per week
May 1878 Miss Carrie Bird, was engaged for 12 weeks at $3.75 per week
Nov 1880 Miss Nellie McKee, was engaged for 12 weeks at $3.00 per week
Nov 1885 Miss Hattie Bradshaw, was engaged for 16 weeks at $7.00 per week
April 1886 Miss Jessie Pierson, was engaged for 16 weeks at $5.50 per week
Now let us come to later years, and notice the difference.
1927 Mr. & Mrs. Paul Coover, engaged for 9 months at $145.00 per month
1928 Mrs. Lois Welkenbach, engaged for 9 months at $150.00 per month
1929 Mrs. Margaret Eakley, engaged for 9 months at $150.00 per month
1937 Mrs. Tillie Williams, engaged for 9 months at $110.00 per month
1938 Mrs. Hazel Harrison, engaged for 9 months at $110.00 per month
1938 Mrs. Lavina Stoelt, engaged for 9 months at $110.00 per month
1939 Mr. Paul Hoopher, engaged for 9 months at $100.00 per month
Mrs. Lois Welkenbach, engaged for 9 months at $150.00 per month
Miss Eleanor Wilson, engaged for 9 months at $140.00 per month
Miss Ruth ??ulla, engaged for 9 months at $140.00 per month
Mrs. Lois Welkenbach, engaged for 9 months at $115.00 per month
Miss Eleanor Wilson, engaged for 9 months at $105.00 per month
Miss Ruth ??ulla, engaged for 9 months at $105.00 per month
Mrs. Lois Welkenbach, engaged for 9 months at $85.00 per month
Miss Eleanor Wilson, engaged for 9 months at $85.00 per month
Miss Ruth ??ulla, engaged for 9 months at $85.00 per month
Mrs. Lois Welkenbach, engaged for 9 months at $85.00 per month
Mrs. Eleanor Carter, engaged for 9 months at $85.00 per month
Miss Hazel Wagar, engaged for 9 months at $75.00 per month
Mrs. Ruth Werrell, engaged for 9 months at $70.00 per month
(A few years later,)
Mrs. Tillie Williams, engaged for 9 months at $110.00 per month
Mrs. Lavina Stoelt, engaged for 9 months at $110.00 per month
Mrs. Hazel Harrison, engaged for 9 months at $110.00 per month
Mrs. Lucille Rodgers, engaged for 9 months at $100.00 per month
Mrs. Lavina Stoelt, engaged for 9 months at $110.00 per month
Miss Gladys Brown, engaged for 9 months at $110.00 per month
Mrs. Hazel Harrison, engaged for 9 months at $110.00 per month
Mr. Paul Hoopfer, engaged for 9 months at $110.00 per month
1935 Metropolitan Spelling Champion and other Champions of Maple Grove School
Maple Grove School Organizes in Earnest to Produce a Champion for the Metropolitan Spelling Bee.
In 1935, the rural schools of metropolitan Detroit made their first bid for fame in the spelling bee world by producing the metropolitan champion in the person of Helen Gronas of Maple Grove School, Brownstown Township, Wayne County, in this year Maple Grove School also produced a Handicraft Champion in the person of Forest E. Crooks, a Sewing Champion in the person of Margaret Dunlop, a Health Champion in the person of Stanley Langel.
Maple Grove School, in 1935, justifiably proud of the success of its pupils in producing the metropolitan spelling champion, and other champions, celebrated with parties, entertainments, and gifts to the champions. Also the school placed a large banner on the fence surrounding the school, proclaiming to the world that the spelling bee and other champion laurels for that year belonged to them.
Since that time, Maple Grove has outgrown its old building, and after spreading first to temporary quarters which augmented the original red brick school, with a bell on top, the entire school is now housed in a beautiful eight room brick building with all conveniences typical of modern schools.
A SCRIPT Of the first Homecoming & Reunion of the Maple Grove School held August 24, 1940
August 24, 1940
The First Reunion of the Maple Grove School
The First Reunion and Homecoming of the Maple Grove School was held on the school grounds August 24, 1940.
The day was ideal for this occasion and a goodly number of teachers and pupils of all ages turned out, about 250 were present. In this group were four people who attended school here 69 years ago, namely - Mrs. Ada Selinger, nee Erving, from Chicago; Mrs. John Niefert, nee Smith, from Wyandotte; Mrs. Fred Boelter, nee Lizzie Uplegger, from Trenton; and Mr. Robert McCalla, from Vreeland Road, Trenton.
Mr. Henry Norton, who taught at Maple Grove in the year 1889, and who now resides in Holly, Michigan, and Miss Clara Janes, who taught here in 1891, and now a resident of Detroit, and Mr. Moses Stutz, who taught here in 1903-1094, and now residing in Hastings, Michigan, were the three oldest Teachers present, several other teachers and many old-time pupils from distant points were present, as our register will show later in the program.
A Basket Picnic was held at one o’clock P.M., hot coffee, sugar, and cream, were in waiting for the group. After lunch was over, Mr. William Bristow addressed the group in works of very hearty greetings, and welcome to their old school grounds. Next in order was the introduction of Teachers of Fifty years ago, namely Mr. Henry Norton, Miss James, and Mr. Moses Stutz. Then the Pupils of Fifty years ago were introduced and welcomed, by one of their old schoolmates, and new Secretary of the present School Board, Mrs. Mary Erving, nee Mary Strewing.
The above people were all presented with a gold ribbon by the Reception Committee. Then came the Introduction of later Teachers and Pupils. These people were presented with blue ribbons by the Committee.
Then last but not least Mr. George Erving, a pupil of Sixty years ago gave a short history of Maple Grove School and District. The remainder of the day was spent in taking pictures of the different classes and their teachers, and real good old time visiting, and with the assistance of Mr. Merrill Page with his loud speaker, Mr. Fred Ernest with his camera and Mr. Forest Crooks’ Ball Team.
The day was declared very enjoyable and well spent by all present. At this time several letters and greetings from people who attended school here fifty years ago and more were read and applauded. And owing to the humor of a letter received from one of our old schoolmates, now in Washington DC, may we quote parts of its contents.
“Dear Old Friend Mary, Received your lovely letter and Invitation to the Maple Grove Picnic and Homecoming, and I wish I could be with you, but as I am many miles away, I will be with you in mind only. But Mary your letter brought back many memories of the past, when I was a school girl at Maple Grove, and this particular one Mary is on your Husband, George Erving. He was threshing grain for my Father this day, and my Mother sent me to the barn for something or other I have forgotten just now for what, but George caught me and filled the back of my neck with oat chaff it was terrible, and how mad I was at him, and after all these years I can still feel the itch from that chaff. George are you still the big tease, well Mary I hope your Homecoming is a success, and give my love to all my dear old schoolmates. Lovingly Hattie Gault Choate”
A vote was then taken to decide if these reunions should be held each year, a unanimous vote in favor of holding the reunions each year was the result of the ballot. The next reunion to be held the last Saturday in August 1941. We then adjourned with handshaking and good wishes, and each hoping that if it be our Heavenly Father’s wish we may all meet here again next year.
Following is a list of the people who attended the Maple Grove School, fifty years ago and more, and was present at this Homecoming.
Baker Edith Grigg
Begeman Tillie Kaiser
Berry Jennie Erving
Boelter Fred Sr.
Case Edith Eckliff
Crooks Miss Ruth
Demud Lillie Hughson
Mary Strewing, Quick
Euchart Minnie Boelter
Ferstle John Sr.
Ford Eva McCalla
Gladding Mary Brehmer
Herzog Louisa Geibel, Wenzel
Hoy Cora Milliman
Hughson Julia Campbell
Niefert Minnie Smith
Otto Kittie Winnie, Erving
Parrish Eugenia Erving
Rice Lina Campbell
Sollinger Ada Erving
Stutz Lorette Erving
Welle Lucy Strewing
The following is a complete list of the people who registered and attended this Homecoming.
John H. Crooks, Sr.
Lillian Begeman Janosky
Sylvia Jean Janosky
Tillie Kaiser Begeman
Elma Begeman Hildrebrand
Edna Kaiser Brehmer
Viola Kaiser Welle
Mable Little, Hawk
Wm. W. Grigg, & Wife
Charles T. Avery & Wife
Gladys Brown, Stutz
Mary Lois Stutz
Mr. & Mrs. John Neifert
Eva Brown, Phillips
Grace Brown, Erving
Dorothy Boelter, Lilley
Lerene King, Hutting
Forest R. Crooks
Forest Crooks, Hr.
Lucille M. Crooks
Alice M. Neifert
Grace Ferstle, Brick
Grace Wagar, Law
Clara M. Bevier
Mable E. Semmeck
Mary Ferstle, Rutkowsky
M. W. Stutz
Hattie Boelter, Burke
John Ferstle, Sr.
Eva McCalla, Ford
Ada Erving, Sollinger
Elvira Ferstle Wright
Gertrude Edwards Wagar
Mr. & Mrs. Robert McCalla
Miss Elizabeth McCalla
Mrs. Lula Erving Stutz
George W. McCalla
Mr. & Mrs. Henry H. Norton
Mrs. Charles Norton
Mrs. Leota Marks, Chase
Mrs. Blanche Grigg, Cronenberg
Mr. & Mrs. John Ferstle, Jr.
Anna Brehmer, Kaiser
Charles J. Schaller
Ada Stauffer, Schaller
Mrs. Hattie McCalla, Richards
Mr. & Mrs. Oscar A. Eckliff
Edith Eckliff, Case
Mrs. Alice Begeman, Higgins
Doris Little, Wenzel
Mr. & Mrs. Herbert Ketelhut
Mr. & Mrs. Earl G. Perrault
Fred W. Provey
Vevia Grigg, Provey
Miss Clara M. Jaynes
Mr. & Mrs. Fred W. Boelter
Mr. & Mrs. Jerome Redmond
Mrs. Florence Bristow
Mrs. Lavina Stoelt
Mrs. William Wallace
Miss Ruth Fuleihan
Mrs. George Sanders & Marie
Mr. & Mrs. Clark Sanders
Colonel E. Grigg
Pansy Little, Wilson
Mr. & Mrs. August Brehmer
Ada C. Wagar
Florence Erving, Brow
Mr. & Mrs. Arthur Boelter
Mr. & Mrs. Fred Boelter, Jr.
Mr. & Mrs. Clarence Grigg
Clarence Grigg, Jr.
Mr. & Mrs. A. Rolf
Mr. & Mrs. R. W. Baker
Mrs. Lois Welkenbach
Mr. & Mrs. William Brown, Jr.
Mrs. Nettie Little
Mr. & Mrs. Charles McCalla
Mr. & Mrs. Frank McCalla
Mr. & Mrs. Marvin Tiedeman
Mr. & Mrs. Jesse Brown
Mrs. Elva Stark
Mr. & Mrs. Gorden Wagar
Mrs. Addia Smitka
Mr. & Mrs. William Smitka
Mr. & Mrs. Morgan Smitka
Miss Annie Singer
Mr. Peter Singer
Mrs. Clara Kaul
Maple Grove School Teachers and Pupils move into new eight room modern school
When on December 15, 1941, the four Teachers, namely Mrs. Lois Welkenbach, Mrs. Tillie Williams, Mrs. Lucille McKenzie, and Mrs. Hazel Harrison, with their groups moved from the little red schoolhouse at Maple Grove into the new modern eight room schoolhouse, many in the District were very anxious to tear the old building down, and as they said, remove the old eyesore from our corner, but the older and more sentimental residents held out the building should be retained for a time, at least, for a Boy Scout Meeting place and other social activities.
So in order to settle the question fairly, that question was brought up at the Annual meeting in July 1942 and a vote taken, and the decision was to let the little red schoolhouse stand, and let the Boy Scouts use it until such time as the School Board might see fit to repair and remodel it.
So in January 1949 the School Board decided it was about time to start action in giving the little red schoolhouse a new look, and give it a new lease on life. So the one-room building was remodeled and enlarged for a community & recreation center and P.PTA, boy Scout, and Improvement Association Meetings, Dances, and social activities in general for the community, and when it is completed it will provide: a kitchen, an auditorium, check room, lavatories, furnace room and other recreational facilities and it is now believed, may also be converted into a classroom again, as the new building is again nearly filled to full capacity.
So at this time the School Board appointed a Building Committee consisting of Mr. Barney Conrad, Mrs. Mary Erving, Mrs. Marion Casinni, Mr. Dan Cooke and Mr. Jess Williams. This committee was given full authority to use their judgment in creating a building fund, and drawing plans for the project. A short time after their appointment this committee met and organized in legal form, by electing Mr. Barney Conrad, President of the committee; Mrs. Marion Cassini, Secretary; and Treasurer, Mrs. Mary Erving; Mr. Dan Cooke and Mr. Jess Williams, as Trustees. The building fund was started with the proceeds of a drawing and a dance held in the P.O.O.F Hall in Flat Rock, and serving lunches to the school pupils, and followed with donations from the School Board, Improvement Association, PTA and Community Chest and personal donations.
The Plans for the remodeling are drawn.
The plans for remodeling of the little red schoolhouse are drawn and presented to the School Board for approval and, on June 17, 1950, ground was broke by Mrs. Erving for the project. And on July 11, 1950 the footing course was poured and work really began for the remodeling of the little red schoolhouse, which may be returned to its original usefulness as a classroom, and class pupils again pass through its doors, in addition to being a recreational center for the community. This Building was at one time the pride of the community and considered a great improvement over the old schoolhouse which had served the community since 1869.
New Modern 8-Room School Built in 1941
When in 1941 the new modern 8-room school with its spacious rooms and fine large auditorium was built. It was a great improvement over all the other Maple Grove Schools, and the center of community activities, but now in the Spring of 1952 it is overcrowded, and Maple Grove is turning back to the little red building of other days, and Mrs. Erving says her interests in Maple Grove Schools dates back through four generations of her family who attended school at Maple Grove, and she has been a member of the Board of Education of this District for 22 years. The five members of the Building Committee are members of the Maple Grove PTA, and several of our citizens have donated labor towards the remodeling, and they say we are pulling for the little red schoolhouse and when completed will be self-supporting as a community center.
And now may the Boy Scouts, and Girl Scouts (if they ever organize), find a welcome meeting place in the little red schoolhouse at Maple Grove.
Before closing this little Script of our Beloved Maple Grove School and District
May we add one more time that may be of interest to our residents. We no doubt are all familiar with the story of Mary O’Leary and her cow, that kicked over the lantern, that started the big Chicago fire, on October 8 , 1871, and history tells us rendered approximately 125,000 persons homeless and caused damages estimated at several millions of dollars.
The O’Leary Family were also rendered homeless, and they soon started traveling, (minus the cow) towards Michigan, in search of a new home.
The O’Leary’s Lands in Brownstown Township
In October 1873, the O’Leary Family landed and located in that portion of Maple Grove District, that is bounded on the North and East by Struin Road, on the South by Van Horn Road, and on the West of Telegraph Road, and is located just north of the Maple Grove Schoolhouse, containing forty-five acres, more or less.
The north and south portion of this area was thickly wooded, and covered with Hazel Bushes and Tag-Alders. The central portion was a large Apple orchard, while at the approach and on the top of the big sand hill (that still stands there in 1952) stood a mammoth building built mostly of Black Walnut lumber, and operated as a Stage Coach Inn, for the convenience of stage coach drivers and their horses, and for the accommodation of their passengers. But when the O’Leary’s purchased this Plat, the stage coach business had been discontinued and the building had been idle for some time, so the family was able to move right in and go settled, and immediately started their two boys, Mike and Timmy, as pupils in our Maple Grove School.
But the O’Leary’s stay at Maple Grove however was of short duration, for three years later, in October 1870 they deeded this entire plat or area to a gentlemen from Ecorse Township by the name of Mr. Teddy Buford. But the O’Leary Family was allowed to remain on the place until 1877, when Mr. & Mrs. Buford turned the place over to their daughter and husband, Mr. & Mrs. Charles Strewing Sr.
Mr. & Mrs. Strewing and family moved in their new home. In the year 1877, Mr. & Mrs. Charles Strewing Sr. and their little family, a little girl Mary six-years old and little son Charles two-years old, moved in this portion of Maple Grove, which at that time looked life a thickly wooded and thickly brush covered wilderness, with a mammoth large building in the central part of it, and in this day and age would be a hideous place to live in, but nevertheless this family moved right in and immediately started clearing and improving their new home, which was done by cutting down the large trees and burning them into charcoal, and this was delivered tot he Wyandotte Foundry in horse-drawn wagons, driving north on deep-sanded Telegraph Road, then known as Territorial Road as far as Eureka Road then east into Wyandotte. If the men were lucky enough to have their load ready the night before and could get an early start, one load could be made each day. Then there was the clearing of the brush which was done by cutting the underbrush and Tag-Alders and with the limbs and brush from the large trees, were piled up in huge piles and burned. After this was done came the task of getting rid of the large stumps, which was done by cutting away as much of the roots as possible, then digging away the sand from the bas of the stump, and place a quantity of black powder and setting it off. The force of the powder would usually split the stump, then the axe and wedges the stumps were loosened from the ground, for a time to dry, then cut in smaller pieces, fuel for the kitchen stove and the round Oak Heater, but mostly large box stoves for winter heating, the ashes from the bonfires were scattered over land which forms the rich and fertile loam??? found around most of Maple Grove, in the course of time, three more children were added to this family, Lucy now Mrs. Lucy Welle of Brighton, and William, and Julia now deceased, they fell in line picking up brush and roots in clearing this section of Maple Grove District.
Seventy-Five Years Later
And now in 1952, seventy-five years later, we find several of Mr. & Mrs. Teddy Buford and Mr. & Mrs. Strewing’s descendants still own and maintain their homes, also some business places on this particular section of Maple Grove.
Beginning at the corner of Van Horn & Telegraph Road, just across from the little red schoolhouse, a grand-daughter and husband Mr. & Mrs. Fred Neifert own their home and operate a grocery business, then just north of that, another grand-daughter and husband Mr. & Mrs. Forest Crooks own a gas station & barber shop, then we travel a short distance north of the barber shop, we come to two homes and a Brick-Crete plant, manufacturing building material owned and operated by the same grand-daughter and husband Mr. Forest R. Crooks, Sr. and their son Forest E. Crooks and great grandson and family, and this brings us down to the fifth generation of ownership on this particular plat in Maple Grove District. Other descendants of these pioneer people found in other sections of the District is a grandson Mr. John Welle and family, a great grand-daughter and family Mr. Leon Pheiffer, another great granddaughter Mrs. Thelma Bader and family.
Which goes to prove this family’s interest has surely been centered in and are just proud of Maple Grove. In 1902 Mr. & Mrs. Strewing built a new home on this Plat facing Telegraph Road, which is stilled owned and occupied by a daughter, Mrs. Mary Erving, in 1952. And in addition to the improvements mentioned above at this time fifteen other homes have been built and are occupied by their owners, a goodly sized Nursery at the northern end of this plat and started by Mr. & Mrs. Albert Gamester several years ago, but now owned and operated by Mr. & Mrs. John Chiles. And now as we cross over to the west side of Telegraph Road at this point, we find Mr. Herman Tillman still operating the same farm his parents located on when they immigrated here from Germany, and his is still living in the same house he was born in, in 1877, he grew up and was married and reared his family, and spent his entire life on this farm at Maple Grove. Now as we travel a short distance south on the west side of Telegraph Road we come to a large greenhouse and florist business, established by Mr. & Mrs. M.J. Supple several years ago, on what was known as the George Erving farm, which they purchased about in the year 1919, but now in 1952 is owned and operated by the son & wife Mr. & Mrs. William Supple and doing a big business.
Mr. & Mrs. M.J. Supple have moved down nearer to Van Horn corners & the little red schoolhouse, just across from Crooks & Son’s Brick-crete plant, and opened up a florist and gift shop and they are doing a good business.
Many other business places have been established such as gas stations, repair garage, grocery stores, and lunch rooms in more distance sections of Maple Grove District, since 1877, are all doing a good business.
Telegraph Road Takes on A New Look
In 1921 Telegraph Road which runs almost through the center of our Maple Grove District was changed from a deep sandy thoroughfare to a wonderful paved four-lane highway, with a record of being one of the most heavily trafficked highways in the U.S.
In 1941 when the eight-room modern school was built at Maple Grove, water mains were laid long Telegraph Road from Flat Rock to Van Horn Road, and our school was serviced with city water, which was another improvement for Maple Grove.
And now in 1952 through the efforts of the Maple Grove Improvement Association which was organized in 1939, the entire central section of this District is being serviced with city water, in closing this little Script of the Maple Grove District #2 Brownstown Township, Wayne County, the writer wishes to say,
“I am Proud, our school motto of sixty-five years ago, Maple Grove, Against the World, still holds good, in June 1952.