Historic School House Turned Into Folk School

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A Dunn County couple decided to take an old school house and make it their own in an effort to revive it into a folk school.

Xcel Energy took down some power lines today to make a path for the oversized load as it was moved a mile down the road to the couple's yard in Downsville.

They may have moved its roots, but they're working to revive its history.

Kathy Ruggles said, "Many people in this area have a great appreciation for the history here so we hated to see it go down."

Kathy says she was reluctant at first to buy the 5-thousand dollar school but soon grew fond of the building dating back to the late 1800's.

“John found the school house and its all snowballed from there because its just such an amazing space nice big 32 ft across eight-sided space with these big old windows it just going to be a fabulous space."

After securing the building... The two tossed up ideas of what to do with it.

Kathy’s husband, John Thomas said, "We agreed maybe it would be a store but since that time it’s becoming something much bigger, it will be more of a school, a public building where people can come and share what they know."

It came with a cost, but one the couple says they're willing to open their wallets for.

Thomas said, "It's a one time event, we don’t go off to Africa or Scotland so we're just staying closer to home and doing something that seems useful.

And with a simple reason in mind, Kathy said, "one of the most important things to John and I is to help create community more and more, its something that has sort of gone out of our society because everyone’s gotten too busy and we're hoping that this is something for Downsville to create more community and help people see each other more often."

Kathy says they know several people who went to the school decades ago. John says they will be starting a log of all the students who spent their school days there.

If you went to the Dunn County school or wanted more information, you can contact John.

Dunn County Pottery
E4606 County Road C
P.O. Box 94
Downsville, WI 54735

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