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From “The hitching post. . .” column in the Ottawa Herald, a series of articles about early Franklin County schools researched by Bruce Fleming and written by Herald Editor and Publisher Jim Hitch. This article appeared 4 April, 1991.
“Acorn School, District 74, was located four miles west of Princeton on the northeast corner of the intersection.
The present building was constructed in 1900 and it is believed that an earlier school was built in the 1870s.
Acorn School closed in 1959, the last teacher being Mona (Larkin) Neff and the last sachool board being Ballard Wood, Clifford James and Bob Herring.
Members of the last student body were Linda and Stanley Wood, Eileen and Rita Herring, Jean and Kenneth Hamilton, Glenda Greenfield and Kathie McClelland.
Others who taught at Acorn include Verna McCrea, Mable Nordyke, Irene Herron, Jessie Rumford, Mary Louise Wren, Lois Underwood, Agnes (Baker) Scheitzer, Charlene Fulton, Astrid (Whitaker) Seigler, Helen Oshel and a Mrs. Overturf.
The district was consolidated with Princeton in 1859, and the school building was bought by the Acorn 4-H Club, the Community Club and the Acorn Ladies Club, according to Edith (Ferris) Winters, 1537 Elm, who recalls the Dirty Thirties when dust storms blew in from the west and it got so dark that the teacher sent the pupils home at noon.
J.G. (Grover) Oestreicher, Princeton RFD 1, remembers the late 1940s and early 1950s, when Irene Herron, the teacher, was concerned that some of the very poor children were not getting a proper diet.
She asked some of the boys who trapped and hunted if they would bring rabbits to school. They pitched in and brought the rabbits, cleaned and ready to cook.
They were put on top of the old pot-belly stove and cooked until noon. According to Oesatreichter, the boys furnished rabbits until the advent of warm weather.
“After that, we still had hot lunches when the kids brought vegetables to make soup with. It was mostly tomato and potato soup,” he said.
“Great oaks from little acorns grow,” seemed to apply to Acorn school, for when they began to heat the school with propane, the old coal house was attached to the school to create a kitchen and Irene Herron’s hot lunches became a mainstay. Ballard Wood laid the new hardwood floors at the school when the kitchen was added.
The last day of school was always observed with a potluck meal at noon, after which there was a ball game with the men of the district paying the school kids. In those days the windows were covered with heavy screens to keep baseballs from breaking windows.
Community meetings at the school were monthly and often featured box suppers, student programs and plays. Sometimes neighboring schools would put on plays for each other.
In the winter sledding down the hill from the schoolhouse was a popular activity, as was ice skating at the Baxton Robison farm.
The school has been kept in good repair and monthly community suppers are still held there.
Among former Acorn pupils still living in Franklin County are:
Stanley Wood, Linda (Wood) Ecord, Roy and Bob Herring, Eileen Herring, Freida (Kochenower) Foltz, Floyd Kochenower, James and Richard Welch, Carl and James Halley, Clarice (Oswall) Knight, Hollis Anderson, Grover Oestreicher, Ellen (Oestreicher) Hickman, Henry Mason, Norma (Brock) Steward, Chester Fredericks, Kathie (Rea) Corbin, Larry Rea, Glen and June Willhite, Margie (Robison) Willhite, Rea (Robison) Weigand, Elva (Witcher) Smith and Nellie (O’Neal) Morris.