By Cindy Hadish
Clark “Bud” Derhammer wanted a last look at the schoolhouse he attended before it rolled off to a new destination on Dec. 5, 2022.
Derhammer, 81, remembers playing in the Stony Point School yard back in the 1950s and crossing the creek to walk to school if the water “wasn’t too high.”
The former Stony Point student was among a number of spectators to watch the one-room school move from its more than century-long location, near Covington on Highway 94 and Stoney Point Road, to a new site, just a mile or so away on Ellis Road, rural Palo.
Ferneau & Sons House Moving & Raising of Marshalltown took less than 30 minutes to relocate the 45,000-pound, 20-foot tall building, which dates back to the 1870s, after starting the move promptly at 9 a.m. Monday.
Overcast skies, but no snow, little wind and temperatures in the 30s made the weather nearly ideal, said Kevin Ferneau, who moved the schoolhouse with his son, Matt Ferneau.
The route included one turn from the highway onto Ellis Road, before climbing to its new site on a hill.
Former student Rae Jeanne Kilberger, 85, is entirely self-funding the move and restoration of the school, which had been deteriorating at its original location after closing in 1959.
In 2005, restoration efforts were underway at Stony Point School, but by 2014, that effort had ended due to a lack of funds, according to Iowa One Room Schools.
Kilberger had the school relocated to nearby property she owns to restore it as much as possible and be able to closely monitor the building, which was subjected to vandalism and theft at its original site. Broken windows, missing doors and other damage will be repaired in the coming months.
She hopes to eventually open it to the public so future generations can learn about the daily chores and other aspects of one-room rural schools that once numbered more than 100 in Linn County, alone, to just a handful remaining.
Already, the move elicited stories shared by former students and others, including one relayed to Kilberger’s friend, Teresa Walker.
Walker said a neighbor who boarded a horse on the field adjacent to the school was perplexed when her horse went missing. After two days, she finally heard a noise and found her horse in the basement of the school.
The horse had entered the lower level through doors where students formerly carried wood into the building.
Cutting wood was among the chores that students, in first through eighth grades, were tasked to handle, Kilberger said.
Even though the school day might be unfathomable to students now, Kilberger — who went on to own a fluorescent lighting business — has fond memories of her time at Stony Point School.
“A lot of people think I’m nuts, but I don’t care,” she said of the move. “If they want to spend their money on beer and drinks, that’s their problem. If I want to spend it on the school, that’s my problem.”
More: Learn how the Cedar Rapids School District could destroy a key piece of history and see more photos from the move of Stony Point School, below: