Hie Corner School
This was built about 1894 on the corner of County Trunk V and County Trunk T. This is just a few yards from the Portage-Waupaca County line about 18 miles east of Plover. The school functioned until the late 1940's. Many of the students belonged to the Borgen family who lived in the area.
The building was donated by Richard & Beverly Borgen, and Lyle & Suzanne Borgen. When the society obtained the structure it was still on family land. At one time just before World War II the school had so many students that a wall was built down the middle to separate the two classes. As consolidation occurred with larger schools, the one room schools declined and this one was closed. Over the next couple of decades the Borgen family used the site for storage but it also saw a great deal of vandalism.
Inside the building, the front area was destroyed and the slate boards stolen. When the society decided to move the building the greatest difficulty was the height of the bell tower. The result was that the school was cut into three pieces (bell tower, roof, and main room) and moved that way. It was reassembled by cribbing up the roof and pulling the main room under the raised roof. When complete the two parts were off by 1/8 of an inch, the width of the saw blade needed to make the cut in the first place. Most of the desks you see here were found in the attic and refurbished to fit into this school.
A brief history of the school is located in our Archives section of school histories.
Description of School Interior ca. 1929
ORAL INTERVIEW ON JUNE 12, 1992 WITH MRS. FRANCIS KNOLL (FRANCIS JOHNSON):
Written by Anton Anday
Place: Portage County Historical Park -- Hie Corner School
Ms. Knoll indicated to me that she attended the Hie Corner School from the first grade till eight grade. Her first year of school was about 1929. She is the youngest of a family of fourteen. One brother died in infancy and another brother suffered with dysentery and never attended the school. The other five brothers and six sisters all went to the school. Two sisters who are twins are a live in the Amherst area.
Ms. Knoll (Johnson) walked into the building which was under the process of restoration. She looked around and expressed her pleasure as to the shape of the building and to the authenticity of the restoration. She indicated that the original ceiling indeed was of wainscoting painted cream colored, somewhat tan. The walls were plastered and were painted of the same color. Her memory of this was very vivid since her father Louis Johnson from the Town of Amherst was the original plasterer of the building. Wainscoting was on the bottom half of the walls as it is now. She indicated, looking at the color of the windows and sanded walls, ready for paint, that the color is indeed very close. (It was matched by Sherman Williams, from a paint flake taken from the lower wall.) There was a floor to ceiling wall from the door to the front of the chimney. Based on her recollection, there was no chimney at its present location at the time she attended school, but a wall did separate the entrance way from the class room. We did find the shadow mark on the ceiling, side walls (including the original pencil marks) and on the left hand side of the floor. (It is our guess that the chimney was added when the school was remodeled by adding insulation board on the ceiling over the Wainscoting. The original plaster and lath was removed from the walls and was replaced with insulation board. All insulation board was covered with quarter inch finish plaster. After removing insulation board shadow marks of original lath was visible. Lath was replaced and original three quarter inch plaster was replaced.) Ms. Knoll indicated that there were two permanent opening in the wall on either side opposite of the main door. She also stated that these openings did not contain doors. (We did find two doors in the attic of the school, these may have been installed in the original opening when the school was remodeled. We will restore and install them.) A wood furnace heated the room and was located between the third window and the entrance wall of the north side of the building. During the time she attended school here, it never had any electricity. (We suspect that electricity was added after remodeling in the late 1930’s or early 40’s.)
The memory of interior decor was extremely important to us, since no interior pictures exist of the facility. Ms. Knoll indicated that at the entry of the school on the right hand side of the entrance wall there were two rows of regular hooks for coat hangers. On the North side wall of the entrance way there were three rows of shelves where lunch buckets were stored. On the east side of the wall, from the North to the window the shelves continued. East side of the wall, south side of the door the hooks continued. In the Southeast corner of the entrance way was a cast iron sink, with a cast iron pipe leading through the wall to the outside. Opposite of the sink, on the entrance wall an aluminum cold water container was located. Aluminum cups were also located there. Inside the entrance wall between the two openings, where now the chimney is, an old fashion hand Victoria was located. Along the southeast side, inside of the entrance wall was a cupboard which held school supplies, paper, and art supplies. Between the third, second and first windows on the south side were two glass bookcases filled with text books. Between the first window and the black board on the south side there was an upright piano. In front of it is the teacher’s chair. Over the southwest side blackboard is the framed picture of George Washington and a roll down map of the United States. Over the Northwest side black board is a rolled down map of Europe and the framed picture of Abraham Lincoln. Over both blackboards the Alphabet is posted from A to Z. The teacher’s desk is located at an angel in the Northwest corner. On the wall from the corner to the first window on the north side is the bulletin board area. Between the first and second windows a visitor’s bench is provided. Between the second and third window was the wood furnace that provided the heat for the school. (One suspects from the shadow marks on the ceiling that the first coal and/or wood stove was up front in the right hand corner. The second wood furnace was located as is described above and that after remodeling the chimney was added with an efficient type furnace, probably coal.) Inside the northeast entrance hall, a small gas stove was provided with three burners to heat lunches during the winter. (Our assumption is, that this was a later addition of convenience and not original to the building.) A large iron hook from the middle of the ceiling has fascinated me for a long time. I asked what that may have been. I was informed that it is there that they hung the gas lantern for evening use of the building and that it was original in nature. Ms. Knoll also said that hooks from the front window sides were used to pull a curtain across the room for Christmas and other performances.
Ms. Knoll indicated that she will search her photo albums and send us any and all pictures from the school. If she would recall anything, she will write it down and provide it for us. I asked if she could talk to others in her class or before her attendance time at the school for purposes of gaining more information about the building and those who attended it. She indicated she would. The interview ended about forty-five minutes after it started. I gave her my address for any further communications. The interview was a pleasant encounter in a very busy day.
P.S.: She also informed me, that the Portage County 150th anniversary addition of the Stevens Point Journal has made a mistake in identification, in that the Pipes school house, built on the property of Raymond Pipes was and is in the township of Amherst and not in the Village of Amherst.
I received further communications from Ms. Knoll which read as follows. "More things I remember, when I went to this school. There was a wood box on the right side of the heater for chunks of wood. This big heater had a metal jacket around it, There was some kind of a design in it. That square whole in the ceiling as we first came in, was for the rope for ringing the school bell. The school bell rope was hung on a hook, up high on one of the clothes hooks. The wall in between the two open door ways, in the hall, had two or three rows of hooks for the children clothes. As we came in the door way, there were hooks for the children’s clothes on both sides of the wall. Under the east window, on the right side, were shelves; for lunch pails. Also there was a picture on the south wall, up over the second glass book case, of a girl with a blue bird setting on a tree link. But, I don’t remember what the name of the picture was. There was a hand turning pencil sharpener that set on the middle window sill on the right side. There were pull window shades. They could be pulled up or down for the sun by a small rope like. There was a metal globe map on the floor stand. There was a school wall clock, on the right side of the wall, up over the bulletin board. There was a wood cupboard, on the left side of the door way in the main room, where school paper, school dishes were kept. The hall way sides did not go all the way up to the ceilings, only the center wall did. There was a wire waste basket that set in back by the phonograph. Near by the hand sink was a ledge that sat on a white enamel water pail, with a white enamel dipper. There also was a looking glass in a white wood frame; I would say 16" x 20" in size. This was above the hand sink on the east wall. There were curtains on the lower half of the windows. I remember my first teacher, use white gift tissue paper, fold over a spring rod and pinned, to keep them on. There wasn’t any cloth curtains those days. On the North hall wall, was for hanging clothes. The hall door to the right stood a three burner kerosene oil stove to heat up hot lunch dinners. The rest of the space from the kerosene stove, to the north wall, was many shelves for lunch pails or dinner pails. That metal rod that hangs from the ceiling, hung a gas mantle lamp and in the hall at Christmas time a gas mantel lantern was used at night. There wasn’t any electric light in that school, they were put in after I left there. Also there was a roll of hand paper for to wipe our hands on. This was below the looking glass. Also there was a clear glass container for green liquid soap. When one would touch the bottom it would release the liquid soap, this was on the wall, by the hand roll wiping paper. This kettle that was use to heat the hot food. It was blue enamel outside and white enamel inside, which held water for warming the food. There was a wire waste basket to put the dirty hand paper in, that sat on the floor by the hand sink. This hand sink was the size of a small single white enamel sink, with a white enamel wash dish, for washing hands. As when one came through the door on the left side, in the school room was a shelf, with a big Webster’s Dictionary, for the children to use. On the wall above the phonograph hung a big school calendar. On the right side wall between the first and second window, was another bulletin board. There was a waste basket, a wire one, that sat on the floor by the teacher’s desk. A long handle dust pan and broom and snow shovel, and a small shovel for cleaning out the wood ashes from the heater, was kept in the hall. A metal can of kerosene, was kept in the hall also for the three burner oil stove. This small square hole up front of the ceiling, I don't recall what that was for. I remember on the teachers desk was a wire basket, for grading papers. Also a container to hold pencils and pens.