Monday, March 11, 2013

2013 Update!



DANIELS SCHOOL RESTORATION PROJECT UPDATE


TO:                  Donors and Friends of the Daniels School Restoration Project

FROM:            Gloria Egger, Secretary/Treasurer and Bonnie Pitkin, President
                        of the Venado Historical Society

Much has happened since our last update!
  • The decision was made to acquire a grant (s) in order to obtain the $30,000 to $40,000 needed to complete the restoration of the school.
  • Gloria attended a grant writing class at SRJC and began the lengthy process of applying for the Federal and State Exemption Status, which is a requirement of foundations or corporations who award grants.
  • An attorney was secured, who reduced his fee, after seeing all the paperwork and endless forms Gloria had completed.  All request forms have been filed with the U.S. Treasury and State and now we have a waiting period of up to six (6) months.
  • In the interim, Gloria will research foundations that may be interested in the project and then grant forms will be prepared.

 Don’t give up on us.
We will preserve and complete the restoration of the Daniels School.
We look forward to conducting field trips for students in the near future.

If you know of any foundations or corporations that may be interested in preserving this California Historic Landmark, please contact the:

Venado Historic Society
7751 A Mill Creek Road,
Healdsburg, Ca. 95448

 or contact Gloria Egger directly at 707-433-7732
 or by email at: eggerpropmgnt@hotmail.com
 or contact Bonnie Pitkin at 707-431-3301.

Thank you for your continued interest and support of this project !

Friday, May 6, 2011

Project Update!

VENADO HISTORICAL SOCIETY
GLORIA EGGER, SECRETARY / TREASURER
7751 A MILL CREEK ROAD
HEALDSBURG, CA 95448
707.433.7732 - OFFICE
http://danielsschool.blogspot.com/

DANIELS SCHOOL RESTORATION PROJECTThe 120 year old - one room school house on Mill Creek Road in Healdsburg
Project Update!
Progress Report: 
  1. In May 2010, we began the Daniels School Restoration Project by asking for donations to pay for the various Sonoma County conditional requirements and permits to place Daniels School into a minor subdivision and begin the restoration of the old school house.
  2. We were able to raise nearly $6,000 in generous donations from local residents, organizations, and businesses.  In addition, many professionals drastically reduce their fees to help us and 45 people attended our barbecue fundraiser at Mill Creek Winery.
  3. We were able to obtain a waiver of approximately $3,700 from the County Board of Supervisors, under the guidance of the previous supervisor, Paul Kelley.  We now have enough funds to finish the paperwork for Title Insurance requirements, Map Check fees, Architectural Design fees, Sonoma Landmark Commission fees, and Sonoma County Building Department fees.  However, the previous donations will be gone.
  4. So now we begin again to raise funds for materials for the restoration.  We need framing materials, such as 2x4's, 2x6's, 4x10's, 4x12's, etc., windows, doors, roofing materials, interior/exterior siding, interior ceiling, electrical wiring, a pot belly stove (circa 1889), school desks and bookcases, blackboards, as well as a teacher's desk and chair.
  5. In May 2011 we launched the NEW Daniels School Restoration Blog: http://danielsschool.blogspot.com/ - We will be utilizing this website to solicit much needed monetary donations from the general public.  We came to understand that many businesses and individuals have been asking for an online option to donate to our worthy cause, so we listened, and now that request has been realized.  Please visit the Blog today to make your donation, it takes less than 3 minutes!  We will also be using this website as a forum for communication...Sending updates of upcoming events, giving you updates on the work we do at Daniels School, and also a place we can recognize everyone that has helped us so far.
We have already scheduled a work day on Saturday, June 11, 2011 ~ 9am - ???

Now that Spring has sprung, the weather has warmed up and our thoughts have now turned to CLEANING!  The sunny weather fills us with optimism and enthusiasm.  There is much to do at our little schoolhouse, so please come out for a day full of productivity and community spirit!  We need to clean the grounds and remove the old lumber, brush, leaves and other debris around the schoolhouse and surrounding property.  We can also remove some of the old siding.  Please wear your work clothes and bring your rakes, pruning shears, hoes, loppers, chain saws, hammers, other yard tools, and of course your work gloves.  A delicious Hamburger Bar-B-Que lunch will be served to all workers and volunteers who show up to lend a helping hand.  Come work and have fun as we begin the long awaited preparation to rebuild our beloved Daniels Schoolhouse!

Finally, if you can supply any of the above materials, please contact, Gloria Egger at 707.433.7732 or Bonnie Cussins-Pitkin at 707.433.3301.  All financial donations may be sent to the address above, or simply log on to our blog at: http://danielsschool.blogspot.com/.  Your donation is, of course, tax-deductible!

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR TIME & MUCH NEEDED SUPPORT!!!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Daniels School Kids With A Pet KID!


"The Day The Goat Came To School"
Daniels School children pose with the school mascot during recess break.
Pictured left to right: Elizabeth Gray, Mildred Stuart (front), Eleanor Harper (back), Stanley Stuart, Stewart Wade, Leland, Bob Wade (holding goat), & Georgie Lawler

Monday, May 2, 2011

Daniels School Work Day ~ Come One, Come All!


Daniels School Work Day
Saturday, June 11, 2011
9am - ???

Now that Spring has sprung, the weather has warmed up and our thoughts have now turned to CLEANING!  The sunny weather fills us with optimism and enthusiasm.  There is much to do at our little schoolhouse, so please come out for a day full of productivity and community spirit!

We need to clean the grounds and remove the old lumber, brush, leaves and other debris around the schoolhouse and surrounding property.  We can also remove some of the old siding.

Please wear your work clothes and bring your rakes, pruning shears, hoes, loppers, chain saws, hammers, other yard tools, and of course your work gloves.

A delicious Hamburger Bar-B-Que lunch will be served to all workers and volunteers who show up to lend a helping hand.  Come work and have fun as we begin the long awaited preparation to rebuild our beloved Daniels Schoolhouse!

Please R.S.V.P to Gloria 707.433.7732 or Bonnie 707.433.3301 By June 5, 2011 ~ THANK YOU!!!

Reviving Daniels Schoolhouse


Published: Wednesday, August, 2010

By NATHAN WRIGHT
THE HEALDSBURG TRIBUNE

Tucked away underneath the redwoods, Daniels Schoolhouse stands empty and silent in the hills above Healdsburg. Cars occasionally pass by on Mill Creek Road, often driven by the children and grandchildren of the original settlers who first came to the logging community of Venado in the early part of the 20th century.

Gloria Egger and Bonnie Cussins-Pitkin remember a time when the one-room schoolhouse was not silent. A time when perhaps a dozen students—children of a handful of families living in the remote hills of Mill Creek—gathered to learn.

The two Mill Creek Road residents, along with neighbor Kimberly Flowers, have come together to raise money to restore the schoolhouse so future generations of children may visit and understand how the original settlers lived. They estimate they’ll need up to $50,000 for the project--$10,000 for county permits and up to $40,000 to rebuild and maintain the structure as a local landmark. They’re also looking for the schoolhouse’s original furniture and any items rescued by neighbors in the years after the school closed.

“It’s like a dream come true,” said Cussins-Pitkin. “I always came back here thinking, when will we bring this back?”

The school closed in 1951 when the number of students had declined to the point where it became necessary to send them down the road to Mill Creek School, another one-room schoolhouse. It’s sat nearly undisturbed for long decades.

Daniels, like most of the one-room schoolhouses in the Healdsburg area, was housed on private property. Unlike many of these buildings, the property owner spared Daniels.

Local historian Kay Robinson has researched one-room schoolhouses in recent years, documenting 15 in the Dry Creek watershed including Daniels School. “About a third of the ones I researched still exist,” she said. “The others, I’m pretty sure, have been destroyed. Burned, removed, taken down for lumber, I don’t know.”

The fate of these schoolhouses varies from district to district. Of the five in what is now the West Side Union School District, only one, Felta School, has been totally restored.

Junction School was converted into a residence after it closed in 1952. Mill Creek School was dismantled in the late 1950s.

Lafayette School was dismantled around 1970. Jerry Arrigoni, the owner of the Westside Road property where the schoolhouse once stood, said it was in bad shape when he bought the land in 1969.

“When I bought the place hippies were living in it,” he said. “They’d burned a hole in the floor and were tearing out the old redwood for firewood. It really wasn’t worth putting a lot of money fixing it up because of the fire they did.”

So Arrigoni, a former school administrator himself, sold it to a neighbor for $1 to build a barn.

While the area’s other four schoolhouses met various fates, Daniels School sat undisturbed. Property owner Stanley Stuart—Cussins-Pitkin’s uncle—lived in Concord and left the structure alone. Then in 1993 Cussins-Pitkin bought the property and inherited the schoolhouse.

“I was delighted,” she said. “I was hoping that one day it could be renovated.”

Her hopes were nearly met in 1998 when the Venado Historical Society formed to restore the schoolhouse and community post office. In 1999 contractors raised the schoolhouse building and put in a new foundation, cripple walls and a front entrance porch and stairs. The full restoration halted when Floramay Caletti — a former student at the school and teacher at Mill Creek School — fell ill.

Now, nearly a decade later, the new group of Mill Creek ladies have come together to continue Caletti’s work. “Floramay started it and practically had it finished,” said Cussins-Pitkin.

Egger and Cussins-Pitkin chattered back and forth on a recent weekday afternoon, recalling stories of their youth at the schoolhouse. Egger, a few years senior, attended the school for one year in the late 1940s when her father fell ill and she lived with her grandparents. Cussins-Pitkin, who also attended the school for only one year, attended the Daniels for the school’s final year in 1951.

“We’d build forts on the hillside above the school, and throw rotten fruit and vegetables at each other at recess,” said Egger, standing inside the long abandoned schoolhouse. “We wouldn’t hit each other. Those are the things I remember. The good, clean fun.”

The two spoke of Christmas recitals, of drawing water from the spring and ladling out of a bucket, and dunking for apples. “Our teacher went out wildflower picking with us,” remembers Cussins-Pitkin. “I knew the name of every flower, or every tree.”

The Venado Historical Society is now accepting donations for the project and ask donors to send a check to the Venado Historical Society, 7751 A Mill Creek Road, Healdsburg, CA 95448. Those with questions can call Gloria Egger at 707.433.7732 or Bonnie Cussins-Pitkin at 707.433.3301.

It's Official, We Are A Historic Landmark!


COUNTY LANDMARKS COMMISSION
County Of Sonoma
Daniels School
HISTORIC LANDMARK
No. 186
This is to certify that the above historic site has been officially designated as a County Landmark by the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors on 09/18/2001.
Paul Kelley
Chairman

Aging Healdsburg Schoolhouse Set For Restoration


Posted by Town Hub Staff on July 24th, 2010

By CLARK MASON
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

A 120-year-old, one-room schoolhouse sits off winding Mill Creek Road west of Healdsburg, a remnant of the nearly forgotten community of Venado.

By this time next year, if local residents are successful in raising enough money, the decaying structure will be restored as an example of the schoolhouses that once dotted rural America.

“Daniels School” as it was known closed in 1951. But on Friday two women who attended it walked around the dusty inside and reminisced about those long-ago days.

“I remember all the paper and crayons. I was probably five or six. There was one other boy in the first grade with me,” said Bonnie Cussins-Pitkin, who attended for one year prior to the school closing due to falling enrollment.

Pitkin, 66, remembers that first day of school, when the teacher asked her to go to the blackboard and write the numbers from 1 to 10. She turned to the boy in her grade and asked him quietly, “Richard do you know?”

“I know some of them,” he replied.

“So the two of us worked together” to produce all the right numbers on the chalkboard, she said.

The memories came flooding back Friday: the potbelly stove, the placement of desks for the teacher and her eight or ten pupils, the two outhouses, the songs they sang, the games they played at recess.

Gloria Egger, 71, also attended the school for a year.

“We had people riding ponies to school,” said Egger, a semi-retired real estate agent, who like Pitkin still lives nearby.

Egger remembers rainy days when her grandfather would put her in galoshes and stick her on the back of his tractor to take her to and from school.

She has vague memories of the classroom itself. One female teacher taught first through eighth grades, all in the room measuring 284 square feet.

But Egger remembers playtime vividly.

The children brought rotting fruit and vegetables to toss at each other.
“We’d build forts and would throw rotten fruits in recess,” she said.

“We didn’t know we were girls, we just played with the boys,” she said.

The two women are spearheading a $40,000 fund-raising drive to rebuild the decaying historical landmark from floor to roof. Historical accounts and the two women say the school is named after R. A. Daniels, who agreed to move the school to its present location more than a century ago.

They need to obtain the necessary county permits and also subdivide the half-acre school site from a larger parcel, so it can be donated to the Venado Historical Society.

Venado is the Spanish word for deer or venison. The hamlet in the hills eight miles west of Healdsburg got its name from Stillman Batchellor, a mining engineer turned fruitgrower who settled in the area in the early 1900s after working in Cuba and Mexico.

Even before Batchellor established his El Venado Ranch, settlers were attracted to Mill Creek by the mining, logging and tanbark. March’s Mill, one of the earliest sawmills in the county, gave the creek its name in the 1850s, according to historian Gaye LeBaron.

Besides the school house, about the only tangible remnant of the community is the redwood-shake Venado Post Office that operated from 1922 to 1941, according to the Russian River Recorder.

Old-timers remembered how early automobile dealers used the start of Mill Creek Road as sort of a proving ground. They would drive the steep and slippery “Hopper Hill” at the start of the road to demonstrate how good their cars were.

In 1925, an article in the Healdsburg Tribune Weekly reported that “Venado is so new, and so far from the regular beaten track of tourists that is has attracted little attention.”

That assessment about the lack of tourists still rings true today, though occasional bicyclists use that same hill as a training ground.

The old school house sits on a slope up winding, redwood-lined Mill Creek Road, seven miles from the intersection with Westside Road.

Even though its off the beaten path, the stories live on of the events at Daniels School and the backwoods: wild pigs, rattlesnakes, traplines and fighting forest fires.

Efforts began in the late 1990s to rehabilitate the old school house. The foundation, porch and awning were rebuilt. But the dream of renovating the schoolhouse was delayed when the leader in the effort, Flora May Cootes-Caletti, became ill.

About two weeks ago the fund drive was renewed. Letters have gone out to local residents, Healdsburg businesses and wineries. So far, almost $900 has come in.

A local contractor is donating his time to the rebuilding and Standard Structures of Windsor is donating some materials.

Contributions can be sent to the Venado Historical Society, 7751 A Mill Creek Road, Healdsburg, CA, 95448.