Members of the Maher-Onion Valley Community Club will host an open house during the Pioneer Days weekend, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the historic Maher schoolhouse. The event is Sunday, June 11, from 2-5 p.m. at the schoolhouse, with a special presentation at 3 p.m. The schoolhouse is located five miles south of Crawford.
The Maher Schoolhouse replaced an original schoolhouse, which was destroyed by fire in 1917. The school remained open until 1950 when Maher joined the Crawford School District and students began attending Crawford School. The community club now owns and maintains the property.
In March last year, club members undertook a lofty remodel project. Jane Hart, president of the Maher-Onion Valley Community Club, said the project began when members wanted to remove the false ceiling in the building and expose the original stamped tin tiled ceiling. That led to re-doing the wiring, putting in new insulation and drywall, and re-doing the floor. Light fixtures salvaged years earlier from the old Crawford School were installed. Hart said the club is proud to have secured 100 percent of the labor and materials from community donations.
The bell on the schoolhouse is new; several years ago, people noticed the bell had gone missing. Hart said there have been many rumors as to its whereabouts -- most recently they heard that a retired professor in Texas had the bell, but that hasn't been confirmed. Last fall, Crawford citizen Glen Davis found a historic, 100-year-old bell at an auction, which he purchased and donated for the schoolhouse. It now hangs in the bell tower.
The building is now used for social functions, community events and meetings. In addition to club meetings, the Montrose County Commissioners hold meetings there every year. Montrose County also leases a portion of the property for a county shop, which helps with maintenance and upkeep of the property.
At the June 11 event, the club members will invite any former students to tell stories of their time at the Maher Schoolhouse. Members are also asking that if anyone has photos from the school to please contact Jane Hart at 921-8000, so copies may be hung at the school.