Publication designer and editor, supporter of ecological landscaping with native plants, perfumista and member of Basenotes.net community, and, along with my husband, restorationist of historic Quarry School in Waukesha, Wisconsin.
I received an email from a stranger in Oregon asking whether we would preserve an antique book with “Quarry School” stamped inside its cover. I enthusiastically assured this gentleman that we already owned and treasured similarly stamped books, housed within the school’s bookcases, and would care for this one equally well. I then asked the donor if he would send along the story of how the book came to travel from Wisconsin to Oregon. The twist to this story is that this is the famous book by Francis Parkman Jr. called The Oregon Trail.
From donor Ted, written January 15, 2021: “I bought this book at a nearby Portland, Ore., yard sale in 2018. The neighbor selling it said his mom had given it to him in the 1960s. At that time they lived in Kenosha, Wis. I find it interesting that The Oregon Trail book ended up in the Willamette Valley, which was the destination for the Oregon Trail. Also, since it is going back to Quarry School, I thought it was special that the person I bought it from was named Rock!!”
During the book’s interesting lifetime, it was once used as a gift. Inside it is written “To Wesley Dast Christmas 1934.”
It happens every once in a while — a car pulls in and a stranger says that they or a family member went to school here. This week we were delighted to meet Lynn Gauger, a Quarry School student for first and second grade. She’s still local, and we look forward to having Lynn visit again.
Thanks to Monica Boomgard, a Terlinden family member, we now have School District #3 (aka Quarry School) certificates earned by Fern and Olive Terlinden for “having been neither tardy nor absent” for full school years (varyingly 171 to 180 days) signed by teachers Iva Graf and Eleanor Peck, as well as a diploma from the Wisconsin Young People’s Reading Circle “as evidence of worthy endeavor and as a token of the value of good tastes and habits in reading” for Fern.
Monica, herself a university professor in education, included a touching letter with the donation of these materials: “… I have enclosed a couple of documents that I found among both my aunt’s and mom’s things. Each had spent time in that ‘little one-room school house.’ And then to know that my Great Aunt Irene was a teacher there was extra special.”
It is interesting to contemplate how these tokens of achievement were treasured and then transported back to Quarry School after originating here between the years 1928 and 1933.
On the occasion of a family reunion, Sept. 8, 2019, several members of the Terlinden family visited us to tour the school attended by their relatives Carl, Dean, Glenn, Olive, and Fern (the children of Charles Terlinden and Emma Koch). Isabel Imig, who married Carl, was a teacher here.
Thanks to Carl’s granddaughter Jennifer, we have more resources to share, including the two photos that follow.
I meant to show Jenny the special keepsake hanging in our bedroom on a cloakroom hook: the old-style prairie bonnet made by former teacher Irene Koch (Emma’s sister). The bonnet was a surprise birthday present for me arranged by my husband Dan.
A November 24, 1868, Waukesha newspaper announced the dedication of a new school on the “evening of Friday last”:
A New School House.—The school house in District No. 3, Pewaukee, (The Deissner Mill District.) was formally dedicated on the evening of Friday last. The exercises consisted of addresses by Mr. Gaylord of Milwaukee, Supt. Green, and others, interspersed with singing by the children of the district. This school house is of stone, and is probably the best house in the county of its size, erected at a cost of about $1,600, furnished and painted in the best style, size 28 x 26 feet, and 14 feet between joints [this means ceiling height], affording ample desk-room for 68 pupils, convenient recitation ground and seats, extensive black-board, cloak-rooms, wood-closet, provisions for ventilation, and surmounted with a cupola for a bell. The contract for the masonry was awarded to S. Eales, and the carpentering to the Hartwells, of this village. The school term of this District commenced yesterday, under the tuition of Mr. Eales.
Note that the school was not named at this time and was comprised of only one classroom. The second classroom of identical configuration was added in 1878. It is the newer wing which is most visible from the road.
From the basement of Quarry Elementary, we see Etta and Keith as Mrs. & Mr. Claus in the 1961 production of what was surely a gripping Christmas production. Just before the performance, Santa Keith had his picture taken with the elf-costumed Dave Farina.
Thanks to the very thoughtful Matt Newman, director of Sales and Services for School Facility Services in Waukesha, we now have floor plans of the otherwise-erased grade school of our memories: “The attached drawing was found in my blueprint file. It was identified only as Quarry School. Thought you may want a copy of it.”
Ground floor level.
There appear to be no architectural drawings of the exterior, however, Mid-Century Modern architectural stylings from the era by Joseph L. Eichler (see examples below) help one re-imagine Quarry Elementary. (Do you see a resemblance in the low-slung roof line and exposed beams and posts?)
The school was a masterpiece of design, in my opinion; reflective of its era like very few schools; and it’s a tragedy it was destroyed rather than repurposed. — J.B.
I spent part of this winter searching through newspaper archives going back to the 1850s in hopes of finding anything related to the schools that served this neighborhood near I-94 and County F (formerly Hwy 164). Most of this material will show up in the documentary I hope to crank out in about two years.
The most recently dated clipping is from October 1973. Thanks to the generous service of Waukesha Museum researcher John Schoenknecht, I have scans from Freeman photographer Earl Schneider’s original negatives. The caption to the photo below reads: We Count About 75 Kids Plus Pumpkins! Peter, Peter, pumpkin eater would have had a feast at Quarry Elementary School Monday. Students in all six grades brought their Halloween handiwork to the art teacher for judging.
This is the only exterior view, of our beautiful school available from the Freeman. There is absolutely no record of the school with the Waukesha School District headquarters (I was told they literally had NO RECORD OF IT). The Pewaukee City Hall’s Building Department has no permits records going back to the year the school was built. It’s as though the place exists in only a scant few photos and our memories.
Below is the sole interior photo of the school I found on record. It’s from the September 29, 1966, Freeman. The caption reads: Pupils Make Science Display. Fifthgraders at the Quarry school look over a collection of rocks and fossils their class collected as part of their science study. At the display are (left to right) Jerry Martin, 11, of W220-N743 Springdale Rd.; Laura Weber, 10, of W229-N2086 Hy. 164 and Tom Kamp, 10, of W24199-N11 River Lane.
Welcome. I am Joy Buslaff. My parents, Mary and Rolland Buslaff, moved into the old Quarry School in 1960, and I began attending the new Quarry Elementary that same year. (Sadly, the new school had a short life. It was demolished in the 1970s to make way for American TV & Appliance.)
In 2001 my husband, Dan Savin, and I began renovating the old stone schoolhouse. We hope to put finishing touches on the building and landscape in 2021 and plan to post a sign announcing that tours will be available by appointment. Further, I hope to produce a documentary about this special building and the history surrounding it. Fingers crossed, it might be released on YouTube in 2022.
You are invited to use this site to post your reminiscences and photos from your school days. If you’re unsure how to go about posting here, simply e-mail your text or photos to firstname.lastname@example.org or write to me at W233N671 Redford Blvd, Waukesha, WI 53186.
Former neighbors and the general public are invited to tour
our building and native plant landscape by appointment.