The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Carthage, Jasper County

October 6, 2007

Cave Springs School restored, reopened

By Greg Grisolano

SARCOXIE, Mo. — Although she said the renovations were “beautiful,” former teacher Barbara Fuller said the old brick schoolhouse doesn’t look quite the way she remembered it.

“It seems smaller now,” remarked Fuller, who taught at the school from 1949 to 1950 when she was Barbara Tuttle Fieker. “It looked humongous when I first went in because I was scared to death, of course.”

Fuller and more than 150 others attended a ceremony Saturday at the schoolhouse to celebrate the restoration of the historic building.

The one-room brick schoolhouse was built in the early 1840s to educate children of the Cave Springs community.

While she said she was pleased to see how much effort had been made to preserve the look of the original building, Fuller noticed a few other changes she liked.

“We had those old, oily floors, and a great big, old wood stove,” she recalled.

After the school was closed in 1966, a group composed primarily of former students organized as the Eastern Jasper County Historic Sites Association to preserve the property. The building was deeded to the group in 1967, but efforts to preserve it were slow until last year when the group received a $50,000 donation from Pat and Carolyn Phelps, of Carthage.

That money helped pay for a new roof, floor and needed masonry repairs. The group hopes area schools will bring students to the site to learn about local history.

“We’re hoping some of the schools will bring classes out here and spend a day in the school, teaching classes just like they would have back in those days,” said Helen Hunter. “We’re open to suggestions.”

Building history

During the Civil War, the building served as a federal militia garrison. The use changed after the war, when it served as the seat of county government because the Jasper County Courthouse was burned down during the war.

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Carthage, Jasper County