The Washington County Historical Society was recently presented with a special donation from the Peck family, formerly of Woodbury.
The family donated an old school desk that was used at the Gille School, also known as the Woodbury School, District #27 in Woodbury, according to a release from the Washington County Historical Society.
The school, located on old Afton Road, was constructed in 1873. There was no pump for water in the school and, according to the Peck family, the students went across the road to get milk cans of water for use at the school.
“One year I organized a harmonic band; all pupils who had mouth organs or who could buy or borrow one were invited to take part. They progressed enough that they were able to play ‘Sweet Hour of Prayer’ at a Woodbury church service,” according to former Gille School teacher Elfrieda Zibell Brustman.
Brunstman taught at the school from 1931-35 and mentioned that the Christmas program was one of the highlights of the school year.
Other teachers that taught at the school included Annie McHattie, Laura Mahle Kernkamp, Gertrude Austin Bielenberg and Jeanette Garbe Schilling. In August 1952 the school became a part of District 102, which is now School District 833.
“Although the school now has become a residence, the memories of the school bells, milk cans of water, and Christmas programs lives in the stories and the artifacts at the Washington County Historical Society and the desk will find a special place for display at the Hay Lake School museum in Scandia,” reads the release.
For more information about the Gille School, or any Washington County rural school, visit the Washington County Historical Society’s website at www.wchsmn.org and click into Schools of the Past.