2017-12-31 / Insight

Community saves Flansburg School

BY PHIL FOLEY
810-452-2616 • pfoley@mihomepaper.com

GOODLAND TWP. – It’s still sitting on blocks next to the Goodland Township Hall, but the historic Flansburg School got a new lease on life.

After preparing Goodland Township youngsters for a better life for just over a century, the school sat empty on Wheeling Road at the end of Shaw Road for 42 years. A year ago this fall the owners decided they wanted to do something different with the land the building sat on and offered it to Goodland Township.

All the township had to do was cover the cost of moving the historic structure the 3.2 miles from where it was to the township property on North Van Dyke Road. And therein lie the rub. Township residents have spaghetti dinners and other fund raisers and the July deadline came and went.

Fans of the school held more fundraisers; Township Clerk Mavis Roy got DTE to cut some of its fees; and a column in The County Press triggered a last-minute surge of community donations.

Roy noted that while there are many grants available for building renovations, there aren’t any for building moving. But community rallied behind the old building and in October, Lapeer County Road Commission crews trimmed trees, DTE lifted lines and a moving company rolled the building down the road to the township’s parking lot.

In 1895 Lapeer County was served by 135 school houses. The Flansburgh School is the last of seven that once served Goodland Township children. Five were converted to private homes and one — the Abbott School — burned down in the 1980s. Only a handful of the county’s oneroom school houses still remain.

Some of the Flansburgh School furnishing are in the Goodland Township Library, but Roy would like to see the school become a township museum and part of the park being developed at the township hall.

The next big step will come this spring, when Goodland Township officials look to put the building on a foundation. “We’ve got a lot of volunteer masons, we just need 20 yards of concrete, Roy said.

With its future secure, township officials can now focus on making Flansburg School representative of the scores of oneroom school houses that served generations Lapeer County children.

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