Quarry School, 1868-1960

1866—Residents Overturn School Board Vote

The Town of Pewaukee’s first school, a log building, was located on a site that today is occupied by Harris Lumber Company just southeast of the I-94/164 interchange. According to School Board minutes of Sept. 24, 1849, the school was in very poor condition and without blackboards or outhouses. While School Board minutes from 1853 suggest proposals for a new school, it wasn’t until the annual meeting of 1866 that a committee consisting of John Hodgson, William Chapman, and Frank Federer was formed to search for a new schoolhouse location. After four weeks, they reported all were in favor of a site belonging to John Hodgson that was most suitable for a school, “dry and central for the district.” They also reported that, after consulting with builders and masons, a stone school could not be constructed for less then $1,600.

A series of proposals (related to selling the existing school and raising sufficient revenues to construct a new stone building) failed on Nov. 3, 1866. Instead, by a vote of 19 to13, it was decided that just $300 in taxes would be raised to move the old log school to the new site and make repairs. At the insistence of seven agitated residents, a special meeting was held which rescinded the Nov. 3 resolution. Thus, on June 10, 1868, the school district paid one dollar to John and Esther Hodgson for a three-quarter acre parcel to build “a substantial stone building.”

An 1859 plat map shows that Hodgson owned a quarry south of where the school was built, a likely source of stone for the building.

Samuel Eales

1868—First Class Is Held

A one-room school was constructed in the summer of 1868 and was ready for classes that fall. Moses and Clark Hartwell, a father-and-son team considered to be leading Waukesha County contractors, were hired to oversee the carpentry and finish work. Samuel Eales was hired as a stonemason. (Eales, seen above, also served as the school’s first teacher. He was born in England in 1826 and arrived in Waukesha in 1844. In 1880 he developed a “floriculture” business, and in 1916, at the age of 90, he was found dead in his greenhouse. A street near Frame Park, east of the Fox River, bears his name.)

John Hodgson’s widow sold a large portion of land neighboring the school to Joseph Hadfield in 1872 to increase his quarrying and lime business. The Hadfield Company built “company houses” for its growing number of employees, and the increase in area population mandated expansion of the one-room school. In 1878, just 10 years after initial construction, a second classroom was added by carpenter W. Reich and mason August Dieman. The original schoolroom contained the lower grades and the new eastern half was occupied by the older students.

In 1905 the school was referred to as the Lime Kiln School, but in 1924 the Waukesha County school annual listed the name as Quarry School.

Updating occurred over time as lighting progressed from kerosene to electric; heating shifted from wood stoves to a coal stoker and then to an oil furnace; and outhouses were replaced by indoor plumbing in 1950. Yet by the late 1950s teaching standards and, again, population growth made it apparent that a two-room schoolhouse would not be adequate to serve eight grades. In 1960 a newly built “Quarry School” opened its four classrooms, and after 91 years of service, the old Quarry School closed. (The newer Quarry School was replaced by American TV & Appliance in the 1980s.)

1960—School Becomes A Home

The old Quarry School was sold for $7,127  to Waukesha businessman and philanthropist E.B. Shurts on March 1, 1960. Shurts mortgaged the building to Rolland and Mary Buslaff who were custodians for the old and new Quarry schools.

Rolland, Mary, and five-year-old daughter Joy moved just 75 yards across the school’s blacktopped playground to their new home from what had been the Buslaffs’ home for 18 years—the burnt-out shell of the quarry’s horse barn.

Rolland compartmentalized the schoolhouse’s interior with wood paneling, exchanged picture windows for some of the double-hungs, and added four garages and a porch. The eastern classroom became the living space, and the western classroom his metal shop and office. Although his choices do not shine by today’s aesthetic standards, one has to be impressed with the breadth of work performed by a man, near 70 years of age, who had the use of only one good leg due to polio.

Rolland died at age 102 in August 1996 in Milwaukee’s veterans hospital. Mary gave the schoolhouse to daughter Joy and her husband Dan Savin in 2000. But because of Wisconsin’s 36-month gifting rule, the house could have been taken by the state to cover nursing home or medical expenses Mary might have incurred through 2003. Mary died just after her 89th birthday in June 2001, having lived with Joy and Dan in Big Bend for several months.

28 thoughts on “Quarry School, 1868-1960

  1. Samuel eales is my grt grt grt grandpa the eales family still lives in the wakeshua area Allan Lloyd eales Jr was my father he recently passed away

    1. Hello, Garrett. Nice of you to check in. My condolences on the passing of your father.
      If this pandemic ever eases, and you’re in the Waukesha area, you’re welcome to come lay your hands on the very stones your g-g-g grandpa father stacked to build this old school

  2. My name is Sharon Pike Peter’s. My father Rollo F. PIKE lived near the Quarry and his father was a worker there. My Dad was a fireman and his friend John Davis, they called him Mikey ran a shovel. I am thrilled to have found this website. I listened to an old trmrecirding and my Dad said he went to the Quarry School . One of his teachers was Ms. LOVE and it sounded like Isles. Now that I read this he may have meant the the teacher above. I think that would not line up with the years of attendance. There was a Dr. LOVE that time , so perhaps the Dr. and teacher were related. I would love to receive emails emails. My father also referred to the school we pass on Capital Dr. as Pumpkin Hollow School. So many memories of the area , but they changed roads and it is sad to see things go.

    1. Hello, Sharon — It’s interesting to read what you’ve related about your father and his friends. As you note, Waukesha roads and its countryside have changed much, and few buildings or landmarks have been preserved to tie the present to the past. Will make sure you get updates as they trickle in. I keep promising to publish a documentary about the school and its surroundings. That has been delayed by recent health issues, but it’s still my aim to get it online.

    1. A bit of googling leads me to believe Ned is your brother. He and I graduated together in 1973, however, our class size was so large, I knew of him by name only.

      1. Interested in hearing how ned and family became owners of the Quarry
        And there family roots.
        Such and interesting history

    1. We have a two-book set on our Eastman genealogy indicating: “The first one of the name in America was Roger Eastman, born in Wales, England, in 1611. … Roger came from Langford, county of Wilts, and sailed from Southampton in April 1638, in the ship Confidence, John Jobson, master, bound for Massachusetts Bay Colony. … Many traditions have been handed down, but it is believed that Roger Eastman was the sole ancestor of all the Eastmans in this country.”

      Does this have any particular meaning to you or the average Brit?

      The book goes on to name family members through to my father’s mother, born 1867. (My dad was born in 1894; I was born in 1955.)

    2. Your first EASTMAN is recorded as being born in Wales, England.
      Wales is a separate nation and is not referenced as a nation in England. I have come across the EASTMAN name whilst researching an ABBOTT connection to the EALES line in Waukesha. That’s why my interest in the Eastman surname was roused. We are thinking of making a trip to Waukesha next year to visit the school house where Samuel Eales taught and have myself photographed there and also see the street that bears his name. Do you know if a train goes from Chicago to Waukesha? Thank you from Bill Covington

      1. I understand Brits have been known to make fun of the Welsh. 😉 I may have to dig deeper into the Allen branch of my family in hopes of finding a proper English connection.

        The Hiawatha train runs between Chicago and Milwaukee several times a day. If you travel alllll the way to Milwaukee, the least we could do is pick you up at the train station and drive you out to the suburb of Waukesha. I’m stunned and amused that you’d consider our house a travel destination.

      2. Do you live in the school house? Have I understood correctly?
        I was under impression that you are the local historian in Waukesha. Your offer to meet us at Milwaukee Station would be ideal. Thank you.

      3. Bill, I don’t know if you ran across the photo of my husband Dan on scaffolding at quarryschool.com (direct photo link below). It took him eight continuous workweeks to tuckpoint that one wall. If you could lay your hands on it along with Dan’s and Ken Redmer’s (see post below), something downright supernatural might happen! Samuel could rise from his grave. http://www.home.earthlink.net/~pubstu/8weekWall92447.jpg

  3. Bill, it’s exciting to learn you’ve found this connection. I looked up Wakefield on the map. It made me ponder the size of the Atlantic and the challenges of life in the 1800s. So many families said good-bye to loved ones never expecting to see them again. They could not have envisaged a day when their great-great descendants would sit at a keyboard and trace connections. Mind-boggling. ~ Joy Buslaff

    1. Owdo? Thanks for your reply. Samuel Eales ( 1826 ) arrived with a brother and other folks from England. They were from the small village of Bugbrooke, Northamptonshire. Opportunities for employment in the village was restricted to agricultural work as there was no industrial base there. As a result, the chance of starting a new life in America for the ‘Eales’ family was irresistible.
      Jane Eales ( 1819 ), my grt, grt grandmother stayed put or else I might have been talking with an American accent!! I’ve visited America twice and it sure is ‘a mighty fine country’. All the best from the other side of the Atlantic.

      1. “How-do, how-do?” my Dad would ofttimes say (his mother’s ancestors being Eastmans from the U.K.)

        I just read your note aloud, and husband Dan cheered, “Cool!”

        What accent?! Ha.

  4. Ken, check your email for my excited response. I’ve corrected the glaring omission of your great-great grandfather’s photo from this site. I hope you can visit this place, a monument to your ancestor’s achievements.

  5. My name is Ken Redmer, I am the great-great grandson of Samuel Eales. In your 1868–First Class is Held section, you make reference to “the bearded man pictured on our homepage”. Unfortunately, I can’t find that picture!

    If anyone could email me a picture of my great-great grandpa (or provide me with any stories you might know of him!), I would be most appreciative. 🙂

    1. My name is Holly Smirl Wirth. My mother was Jean Eales, Samuel Eales was her great (?)-grandfather. I am so excited to find all of these relatives!

      1. Holly, I apologize for taking days to respond. Don’t let that fool you into thinking I am anything but enthusiastic about your having found this connection. Do you live in Wisconsin or do you ever visit Waukesha? The Eales house (near Eales Avenue) was torn down just a couple years ago, and every time we drive by the empty lot, my husband and I mourn a little. The building is still visible in some online aerial maps.

    2. There is a picture of Samuel Eales at St Mathias church. Where he built the small chapel ther.
      It’s located on MainSt. WAUKESHA

      1. Greetings, Herbert — Thanks for adding the information. Please keep in touch. I was hoping to announce we were ready for tour groups in 2020, but between health issues and the pandemic, we’re not ready yet. Stay tuned, everybody.

  6. Hello, Jim! You may remember my parents (Rolland and Mary Buslaff) who lived next door to the school and were the custodians. I was born in 1955, so we probably didn’t cross paths, but I remember the name Lipuma. My family lives in the school now, and we’d be delighted to have you visit us in your old neighborhood. If not for the school, the quarry, and the Fox River, you probably wouldn’t recognize the area. I’ll email you with my phone number. ~ Joy Buslaff

  7. I attended school here about 1950-1956 or 57. Then went to St Michaels in Milwaukee.
    My name is Jim Henry Lipuma. (Some may know me by James, although that was not really my name). I have a sister Jeanette and a brother Jerry who also attended this school. I also have cousins named Johnny,Sammie,Annie and Beverly Lipuma who attended here too.
    We lived in a quarry house sort of across from the school. My Dad was a foreman at the Quarry.
    I do remember friends named Evans (dad was a sheriff I believe), Stites and Molette.
    Planning to be in Waukesha on Sept 9-12,2011 and hope to see some memorable sites.
    I live in Texas now,looking forward to cooler weather too!
    Would enjoy hearing from anyone.

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