Known to most people as the Baileyville Community Hall (or Grange), this building had it’s not-so-humble beginnings as a school. As such, it was unique to its time, being a two-room schoolhouse versus the usual one-room. Although we know that it has served as a Community Hall for 80 years (1933 - 2013), there is some question as to its prior history. Past publications have provided information that the school was built in 1894 -1895 by Jacob Keller and Sons. However, recent research seems to support that the current building was built in 1901, based on the newspaper article referenced below. We do know that there was another schoolhouse in the pasture next to the current building. Could it be that was the one built in 1894 -1895? A school also appears on maps from 1861 and 1874 maps (see Appendix) - could that be the one in the pasture, or was there another school where the current building stands? We don’t know - do you? Records do show that a new building was built to replace the first one in the pasture.
At the time, most schools were only one room but Baileyville had two, even though most times only one was used. Some of the teachers were Nancy Houser Thompson, Helen Ward Maunger, Harold Albright, Maude Miller, Nancy McWilliams Potter, John Reish, Melvin Barto, Rebecca Parnell, Bernice Keatley, Belle Woomer, Miss Lee, Mac Fry, William Briggs, Ray Brown, Gregg Keatley, Gertrude Henry, Lucy Scott, Luella Archey, Paul Brown, Frances Henry, Mae Ellenberger, Priscilla Wasson, Walter McCormick, A. Brooks Corl and Herbert Harpster.
Many stories have been relayed by prior students of events at the school. One former student recalls, “One day someone put a handful of rifle cartridges into the pot-bellied stove. The stove door blew off and the chimney pipe dislodged filling the room with black smoke. Fortunately there were no injuries! Although everyone had their suspicion as to who pulled the prank, to this day, no one has told ‘who done it!’”
In 1903, the school was sold to the School District of Ferguson Township. It continued to be used as a school until 1932, when the new school in Pine Grove Mills was built.
On February 2, 1933 Denton Peterson and Ed Isenberg bought the school for the sum of $495 and donated it to be used as a Community Hall. The purchase amount was later repaid to them.
Many in the community have grown up knowing and calling the Community Hall the “Grange.” When the Community Hall was purchased, the Baileyville Grange #1991 was also being organized. Instead of building a separate Grange Hall, the organizers, who were also involved with purchase and renovation of the Community Hall, decided to rent the Baileyville Community Hall to use as their Grange Hall. Numerous families have been members of the Baileyville Grange over the years, attending its meetings and events at the Baileyville Community Hall. So when someone says it’s at the “Baileyville Grange,” they really mean the Baileyville Community Hall.
In addition to being a polling place for West Ferguson Township for many years, the Baileyville Community Hall and its spreading oak tree have seen many happy faces at birthday and anniversary parties, wedding receptions, plays, music festivals, dinners, and auctions. It has a rich history of serving the community.
Excerpt from Baileyville Community Hall Association Minutes:
On November 1, 1932 a meeting of the community was held in the school house. Ed Isenberg was voted chairman of the meeting, Mud Miller, Secretary. The object of the meeting being to organize, name the organization, etc.
The Baileyville School is now known as the Baileyville Community Hall. Next in order was election of board of trustees seven (7) in number. Nominations for trustees as follows D. S. Peterson, Ed Isenburg, Ruth Frank, Alfred Albright, R. W. Reed, Isabel Miesser, J. M. Ward. Committee appointed for making By-Laws as follows Mac Fry, J. H. Gilliland and Eugene Irvin. It was decided to buy the furnace of the Glades school house for $12. The next matter taken up was discussing the removal of the inner partition. The question of finance came next. No definite decision was drawn for raising the money.
The money which was raised by the play several years ago was to be given to the organization amounting to about $180.
A supper December 10th is to be given. General Committee appointed: Roy Stauffer, Paul Sunday, Mrs. Barto, Mrs. Isenberg and Mrs. R. E. Irvin.
Next meeting November 22. $5.00 received as rent for building from Election Board.
Motion to adjourn by D. S. Peterson.
R. W. Reed, Secretary.
Today, the Hall continues to serve the community as a local meeting place.