Newspaper Archive of
Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
October 3, 2018     Feather River Bulletin
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October 3, 2018

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Bulletin, Record, Progressive, Reporter Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018 1B The 1864 historic Taylorsville School today, officially the oldest one-room, brick schoolhouse in California that is still sitting on its original site. Photos by Roni Java il R6ni Java Staff Writer The wisp of a summer breeze brushes past an open front door of the historic 1864 Taylorsville School on Thompson Street and you can almost hear the rushing footsteps of children playing outside, echoes of laughter and merry games of long ago. But it's only the wind in the trees. Scott Lawson, executive director for the Plumas County Museum, climbs out of his Ford pickup and takes a keen look at the stack of old, newly repaired windows being installed in the schoolhouse by Richard Davis, owner of LoveCraft Woodworks in Quincy. "Those look good!" Lawson says, walking into the 154-year-old brick schoolhouse that's undergoing some much needed stabilization work. Davis looks over his shoulder from a ladder where he's replacing one of 10 windows that nearly reach the ceiling and nods. Lawson has been overseeing the 32-foot by 34-foot brick schoolhouse since Plumas County bought it from the Native Sons of the Golden West back around the turn of the new millennium. Located on just less than one acre down a side lane off the main thoroughfare in this quiet, pastoral place, the historic Taylorsville schoolhouse is not to be confused with the far more modern structure down the road, also known as the Taylorsville School. This one-room treasure was constructed during 1863 with the expertise of a local rancher, Mr. O. Madden, who built the school and fired the bricks in a kiln on Indian Creek. Jobe Taylor, founder of the town, donated the original land. The building was dedicated March 10, 1864 and ultimately served hundreds of school children in grades one through eight, many of them from multiple generations of the same local families. The old school was closed in 1949 because it was deemed structurally unsafe after 85 years, though some locals recall their parents may have been teaching there as late as 1951. Once it was closed, the land and building were in the care of the Native Sons for many years and some upkeep and repairs were carried out as time went by. Porches were changed and a camp kitchen was installed for meetings and events. When the aging brickwork started to spread a bit, an iron stability rod was installed through the center of the building and braces were established on the outside. This appears to have been. done about 1900. People have love for the school Lawson's grandparents lived a long time in Taylorsville and watched the school go through a lot of changes. His mom, Diane Fischer, grew up there and attended the historic school herself. Lawson often played in the community while he was growing up and he says people have a lot of love for the school, despite the challenges of restoring her or even halting any further deterioration. Native Sons of the Golden West owned the 1864 historic Taylorsville School for many decades after it was closed to classes in 1949. Plumas County bought the building and grounds approximately 18 years ago. Decisions and priorities According to a Feather Publishing story in 1996, the reality of ongoing preservation responsibilities necessitated some late-1990s talks by the Native Sons about selling the property to Plumas County. Since that time, there has been little to no regular funding for either grand or modest renovations and now Lawson has a chance to stabilize and weatherproof the place, thanks to a coincidence and a different newspaper story that ran some months ago. Thank you, Wahl Foundation "I have to thank Gabrielle Thoddas with the Wahl Foundation, a Phoenix-based organization owned by a local Taylorsville family," Lawson says, smiling as he walks around the large, mostly empty schoolroom where sunlight streams across the old blackboard-covered walls. Plaster peels here and there. Donated school desks from different eras sit off to one side. "I can't say enough how much we appreciate her interest," he adds. "She represents the family and she read an article about this 1864 school in the local Nataqua News by Kathy Sholer Stiles of Greenville." When he received a phone call from Arizona inviting him to apply for a grant from the Wahl Foundation, Lawson didn't think twice. Furniture maker Richard Davis of LoveCraft Woodworks in Quincy provides his expertise on a critical project to restore and protect 10 large windows in the historic schoolhouse. Funds for his work and other repairs have been generously provided by a $19,000 grant from the Wahl Foundation that is owned by a local Taylorsville family. Davis is donating a lot of his labor. Plumas County Museum Executive Director Scott Lawson surveys the interior of the 1864 historic Taylorsville School that Native Sons of the Golden West sold to the county almosttwo decades ago. Funding for repairs, preservation and upkeep is especially valuable. , The application was successful and the charitable organization sent the county museum $19,000 in March 2018 to put toward critical needs. Critical repairs and generosity The funds have been a blessing, covering Davis and another contractor whom Lawson lined up for repairs at the old school. Glad to be working ahead of the winter weather that will eventually arrive, Lawson has dedicated some of the funds to a job that See School, page 9B Carving one's name into the bricks that make up the back wall of the old schoolhouse was a favorite recess pastime all through the 85 years that the school served Indian Valley families. Here is the handiwork of student Roland F. Cooke whose relative, Bob Cooke, was known as Mr. Taylorsville. i