RFCC Ribbon Cutting For The Little White School House The Friends of the Rocky Ford Historical Museum
Description: Susan Jung RF Mayor, Donna Abert, Nancy Martin, Jeanette Myers Secretary-Treasurer of the Friends, Stephanie Mendez Valley Wide Health Systems, Steve Carlile, VP of the Friends, Monica L Martinez President of the Friends, and Dustin Bryan.
Ribbon Cutting for The Little White School House
On Friday April 23rd The Rocky Ford Chamber of Commerce held a Ribbon Cutting for The Friends of the Rocky Ford Historical Museum's "Little White School House," which was donated by Valley Wide Health Systems.
Friends Secretary and Treasurer Jeanette Myers gave a speech to the crowd at the event:
"The Friends of the Rocky Ford Historical Museum would like to thank a few people for making this acquisition a reality. A special thanks to The Rocky Ford Chamber of Commerce, Brian Hancock of Hancock Realty, Neil Van Dyk of Van Dyk Insurance, and Bob Garlington & Georgia Williams from Otero County Title for their generous donations to the Friends, Angela Ayala from Norm Murphy and Finally a big thank you to Valley Wide Health Systems, Inc for making this school house a gift to the Friends of the Rocky Ford Historical Museum."
"The Little White Schoolhouse was built in 1877, to accommodate 15-20 students. schoolhouse in the township of Rocky Ford, and was located where the Otero County Extension Office and Nava Manor is located now: 10th and Chestnut streets., The 15 X 15 foot original adobe building was weather boarded and painted white. Ten years later, Rocky Ford held it's first election in the building on August 6, 1887. The Little White Schoolhouse was the place of all important meetings at the time, whether it was held as a voting booth, a city ordinance meeting, or a meeting place for, churches at that time. While the Sugar Factory was being built, the town grew very fast and the student population doubled and tripled in size monthly. In 1896 the school was then enlarged to hold more students. Finally, when a bigger school was built to replace this building (known as the First Liberty School) this school was then sold and-moved to its current location in 1898. For those of you who read the Daily Gazette article on the schoolhouse, we have a recent update, we now have confirmation that Mr. Marble did indeed purchase lots 3 & 4 (not 5) in 1898, which includes 407 North 12th St and contradicts previous information from ten years ago."
"The Friends plan on restoring the Little White Schoolhouse to its original condition but we cannot start that until the Museum's foundation is restored. It could start sooner, if we could get some more volunteers and, of course, money! We are a 501(c)(3) so, for example, you could get a deduction on your taxes, if you so desire. In order to obtain a loan from the Colorado Historical Society, we must pay 25% of the cost of the repairs. So our goal for the Museum is around $400k, which our share would be $100k. That restoration could begin very soon by starting with the highest priority first, one project at a time. Our goal is to have a grand re-opening of the Museum in a year from now or sooner if we can get more done. We can also apply for a raffle license and we plan to do that next year as well as having some really great prizes to help raise funds for restoration!"
"The Friends of the Rocky Ford Historical Museum was established as a 501(c)(3) in December of 2018."
"The Friends of the Rocky Ford Historical Museum's Board Members are: President Monica L. Martinez, Vice President Steve Carlile, Secretary/Treasurer Jeanette Myers and Board Members are Dustin Bryan, Rich Geist, Donna Abert and curator Rob Marshall."
"In last year and half we have had some major changes in the board of directors."
"With Bill and Geri Hodges retiring as Curator, then Darrel Grasmick as a board member, then in February of 2020 Bill Hodges passed away unexpectedly, then last Summer Emmett Davis retired during Covid. So we have pretty new friends of the board of directors and a handful of Friends of the Museum. Those friends are Guest Curator Sue Dreiling, Nancy Martin, Ray Gonzales, and numerous others who come out to help by volunteering at the Museum."
"l'd also like to thank all of our Friends present and past board members and volunteers for all of their hard work to obtain our goal of the reorganization of the Museum. We have been working relentlessly at the Museum this past year. It started with the re-stuccoing in the basement and it finished up with a beautiful paint job. In order to do this, the basement exhibits were completely emptied and placed in the Carriage House."
"Once the construction work was completed, the reconfiguration of the exhibits in their cases began. We now have partitioned display "rooms", keeping each content area grouped together. We have curated a turn-of-the-century kitchen, a parlor, a bedroom, ranching displays, farming displays, American Crystal Sugar, the seed business, schools, the military, Native Americans, Railroad, the Arkansas Valley Fair, etc. With the help of Mark Allen, an I.T. professional, we will soon be connected to the 21st century. With this we shall be able to respond to research queries and our entire collection will be digitized. This project is huge and we are in dire need of a few more volunteers. When completed, as Emmett would say, We will Shine, We will Shine!"
"We thank you for coming to join us in celebrating the restoration of a part of Rocky Ford's History. you are invited to come in and look inside the building and you will be able to see what it looks like before the restoration. We ask that you sign our guest book today. We also have a volunteer sign-up sheet or if you have any questions, please feel free to talk to one of our board members or volunteers. We are also part of the southeastern Colorado Enterprise Zone and with any donation over $200, you would qualify for a tax reduction on your Colorado Income tax. It pays just like cash! We have cookies and lemonade inside."
"Once you leave here, come on over to the Museum, 1005 Sycamore and have Rob give you a tour and see what we are doing. The Museum hours are 1-5 on Wednesdays and Fridays until Memorial Day Weekend. After Memorial Day and through to Labor Day weekend, our hours are Tuesdays through Friday 1-5 and Saturdays are 10-2."
"Donations are always welcomed and are tax deductible."
Find out more about The Rocky Ford Chamber of Commerce:
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