Washburn Co. WIGenWeb

Stunce Brook School

Stunce Brook School had a variety of names including Bramer School in 1904 and Stoneback School.  The school was located in Section 27 of Chicog Township and was designated as School District #9.  One can only speculate that the various names of this school are because of the landowners surrounding this school.  Samuel E. Stoneback bought 120 acres of land directly east of the school on 08 Nov 1905 and Gust Bramer bought the 160 acres of land to the southeast of the school.  The school itself was located on land that was owned by the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha Railroad.   Today, the school property is owned by a private party, but the surrounding land is owned by both the Town of Chicog and the Nekoosa Paper Co.

Here is a photo of the souvenir booklet showing the 1914-1915 Student List for the Stunce Brook School, along with a photo of the school and students, taken about 1914.

Teachers, and the years that they taught in this this school include:
Viola Larson 1924 – 1925 James & Julia Schmitz 1935 – 1936
Carolyn Henble 1928 – 1929 Helen Brickley 1936 – 1938
Pearl Evenson 1929 – 1930 Edna Evenson 1938 – 1941
Evelyn Dahl 1930 – 1931 Delores Anderson 1941 – 1942
Lloyd Twining 1931 – 1934 Rachel Salisbury 1942 - 1943

At the time Edna Evenson was teaching, she was earning $85.00 per month and taught for a full 9 months each year.  According to her contract, there would be no school on Saturdays, and she was expected to do the janitor work as well, which was included in her monthly salary.

In October 1939, there was a school board discussion of ‘inlarging’ the schoolhouse.  Plans for the remodeling of the building were sent for – to whom, it is unknown.  In this same month, it was also discussed and a contract was written that School District #9 obtain a loan from the Bank of Spooner for $450.00.  No mention was made as to what this money was to be used for.

In December 1939, the school board again met, this time to discuss sending for plans for a new school building.  It was also decided that the board should send the plans to the lumber companies for estimates on building costs.

On 07 Feb 1940, a meeting was held at Hilstrom’s office in Spooner to discuss the possibility of the W. P. A. project building the new schoolhouse.  The cost of the building according to the plans received from Madison was set at $2800.00, including the furnace.  The WPA would furnish the cement and all labor except chimney building and electric wiring, if there were no craftsmen among the WPA workers.  Work could not be started until after 01 Jul 1940.

A special district meeting was held on 10 Feb 1940 at which time the county superintendent took over the meeting to discuss the possibilities of building a new building or remodeling the old one.  At this time, the possibility of consolidation with districts 14, 5 and 7 was also discussed, after which the meeting was adjourned.  In July 1940 a committee was formed to work with the school board to find out which school could be run the cheapest, which school was legal, etc.  The committee consisted of P. O. Klawitter, chairman, and L. Bright, Joe Kordick and W. A. West.  On 15 Jul 1940 at the school district meeting a vote was cast to see whether 2 or 3 schools would run.  Of 89 votes cast, 41 were for 2 schools, 47 were for 3 schools.  There was one ‘odd’ vote.

In a Report of School Visit by County Superintendent of Schools, dated 22 Oct 1940 this was filed:

Edna Evenson, Teacher – 22 students total – 22 students present

  • Disciplinefairly good
  • Condition of school buildingfairly good.  Interior needs redecorating.  School room too small for enrollment.  Addition for cook satisfactory.  Increased lighting needed in cloak room if possible.
  • Condition of out buildings and grounds – Toilets in fairly good condition.  Grounds in rear should be cleaned up (teacher).
  • General EquipmentDouble-roller shades (3) needed.  Door handle on stove needed, as well as water pan.  Educational equipment quite well supplied.
  • Teacher – (blank)
  • ClassworkProcedures good.  More stimulation needed
  • PreparationPlans good. Lower grade seatwork should be improved.
  • Attention to physical conditionsAttention given to heating and lighting.  School room fairly neat.  Good posted work.
  • General observation and evaluation of teacher’s workMiss Evenson’s work shows some improvement.  Further improvement can be made in motivating and preparing assignments as well as general management.
  • Remarks and suggestions to school board – With the above needs met and provisions for either enlarging school room or reduced attendance at this school, good physical conditions would exist in this school.  It is hoped these problems can be solved satisfactorily.
  Irving E. Crowell, County Superintendent of Schools

At the 06 Jun 1941 school board meeting a motion was made that the board call a special district meeting for Friday, 13 Jun 1941 to see about remodeling the Stunce Brook schoolhouse and to authorize the board to borrow money for the same.

At the 15 Jul 1941 school board meeting it was decided that school would run at Stunce Brook and Twin Lakes schools – there was no mention of Beaver Dam, but in the 27 May 1943 edition of the Spooner Advocate, page 8, Chicog News, we find the following paragraph:

    “Our three school close on Friday.  The teachers will return to their homes.  Miss Rachel Salisbury to Chittamo; Mrs. Pearl Barager to Spooner and Mrs. Madge Kildaire to Trego.”

In the 01 Jun 1944 edition of the Spooner Advocate on page 1, this article was run:

“Rural Schools Disappear"

    Wisconsin now has 1,034 fewer rural school units than it had in 1939.

    That is the disclosure of the state department of public instruction as it surveys the results of four years of work in reorganizing the rural school district boundaries of the state.

    The rural school consolidation law under which State Supt. John Callahan can abolish or annex school districts upon his own motion has survived vigorous attacks in the courts, in the legislature, and in political campaigns.  Now it appears that the department’s work is nearly completed under the law.  It is continuing, however, to persuade town boards to act voluntarily on school consolidation principles.  It reports that many town boards are doing so.”

It seems that the Chicog town board complied with the decision to consolidate, as I found the following statement in the 10 Jul 1944 board meeting minutes:

    “Motion made and seconded the school board see that the playground equipment from the other schools be put up at Twin Lakes School.  Joe Kordich and the 4-H boys to move it and put it up – the board to furnish any additional material.”

So it seemed that Stunce Brook School was no longer in session.  The building and school site were put on the auction block on the same day as the Beaver Dam school building and site, 20 May 1946 at 11:00 a.m., as announced in the 02 May 1946 edition of the Spooner Advocate.

Sources of information include:

Washburn Co. Platbooks for the years 1915, 1928, 1992 and 1996
Records held by the Washburn Co. Register of Deeds Office
Records held by the School District of Spooner
“Historical Collections of Washburn County and the Surrounding Indianhead Country,” Vol. 4, page 157
Articles printed in the Spooner Advocate.

See also the Stunce Brook School Census Records (1922 - 1930) !


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