The Ward County Historical Society's museum will soon have a little red school house.
Owner Robert Sandstrom is donating the former country school to the museum, which was heavily damaged during the flood of 2011. The building was Ward County's oldest school, Graham No. 1 in St. Mary's School District six miles southeast of Foxholm.
After it closed, Sandstrom's father, John Sandstrom, bought the country school in 1960 and moved it to his farm in Lonetree. John Sandstrom restored the building and its contents.
This little red school house is the oldest country school in Ward County. It is being donated to the Ward County Historical Society by Robert Sandstrom.
The Graham School opened in 1887. It was used for church services by early Catholic settlers, served as the Kirkelie Township polling place and for school. It was the scene of many baptisms and at least one double wedding, that of Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Schmitz and Mr. and Mrs. John N. Hoerter of Foxholm.
"We're really excited about it," said site director Sue Bergan. Bergan said the school house is scheduled to be moved to the museum on the North Dakota State Fairgrounds by the end of the month.
The museum lost one of its two school houses to the flood, so this will be a replacement. Bergan said she thinks it would be fun if a local school wanted to bring children to the museum some day to hold classes in the school house.
"This one doesn't need much work," said Bergan, who said the school house comes complete with desks and books and a school bell and other artifacts from the Lonetree School.
Bergan said the Historical Society members will repaint the school house red, since the old paint is starting to peel. Other than that, "we just need to scrub the floor and dust the furniture and it will be ready," said Bergan.
The museum is closed during the winter but people can call and make a special appointment to take a tour of the museum. Bergan is looking forward to showing it off, especially during the North Dakota State Fair.
"This is a great addition to the North Dakota State Fairgrounds," said Bergan. "What a wonderful piece of history that can be shared with fairgoers and the Minot community."