Willowford School #3 moving to new home in Lone Butte

Willowford School #3 is currently located near Horse Lake Elementary school. (Fiona Grisswell photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Willowford School #3 is currently located near Horse Lake Elementary school. (Fiona Grisswell photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Willowford School #3 (Fiona Grisswell photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Willowford School #3 (Fiona Grisswell photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

The Lone Butte Historical Association (LBHA) is looking for help moving Willowford School #3 to its permanent home beside the Alice Singleton House in Lone Butte.

LBHA secretary Gayle Jones said the association has tried hiring companies to do the move but is having problems getting a response. Without a quote on the cost or timeline Jones said it’s difficult to make a concrete plan of action.

The one-room schoolhouse is located on the corner of Horse Lake Road and Ryall Road, adjacent to Horse Lake Elementary School.

Jones said the idea behind moving the school “is to draw more people into Lone Butte.”

It is an important piece of local history and would make a very good tourist attraction in the town ,she said.

A history of the school supplied by the LBHA said Willowford #2 School, as it was originally known, opened in September of 1939 to accommodate a growing population in the area, teaching Grades 1 through 10 until the doors closed in 1945.

After reopening briefly in 1949, it sat empty and abandoned for 50 years until it was donated to the Horse Lake Elementary school on the condition it was relocated and restored.

Volunteers from the school community and the LBHA moved the school to its current location and by the spring of 2000, Willowford school #3 (named for its third location) was restored to its former condition.

In the past, the school had a variety of uses, including a haunted house at Halloween and as a tool for teaching the history of the area to classes, but it is rarely used anymore, said Jones.

By moving it to Lone Butte it would be more accessible to tourists.

The hope is that in the future historical attractions in town will be open on a more regular basis and may even have people in the various buildings answering questions making it easier to accomplish this goal.

There is even talk of turning the old school room into an art gallery at some future date.

Before this can happen however the old schoolroom needs to be moved to its new home.

Contact the Lone Butte Historical Association on their Facebook page or email lbhistory86@gmail.com if you or someone you know could be of help in relocating this historic building.


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