Sutter Creek, CA – July 18, 2014—This summer, the Sutter Creek Community Benefit Foundation (SCCBF) and the City of Sutter Creek will begin the restoration of the historic Sutter Creek Grammar School on Fullen Street. When completed, it will house a community museum, Sutter Creek archives, and will be available to the public for meetings, events and other activities.
The SCCBF is setting out to raise at least $150,000 for the overall restoration. First, they will begin with theremoval and replacement of the front porch and stairs, as well as renovation of the steeple, and other public safety issues. The SCCBF is looking to raise at least $50,000 immediately to complete these tasks before winter.
The schoolhouse is rich in Gold Rush history. The original wooden schoolhouse was built in 1856, but burned to the ground in 1870. The building you see today, a thirty-five by fifty-fivefoot, two-story brick schoolhouse was built in 1870 by a community-funded project of $10,000. Some 200 to 300 children from as far away as Plymouth and Latrobe attended the school each year. In 1896 the school district raised $5,000 in bonds to add the wings in the rear of the building. The school remained open until the early 1960s.
The schoolhouse, now on lease to the City of Sutter Creek and no longer used by the school district, was restored by the Sutter Creek Women’s Club in the 1980s and used as a community center until it was closed to the public. A few years ago, a small group ofconcerned citizens came together to raise money to save the school. In the past three years they have raised nearly $10,000 by holding three Mardi Gras Party & Cajun Cook-Off fundraisers. Some of these funds have been used to seal the attic. Earlier this year a committee was appointed by the City of Sutter Creek, which includes the original group of concerned citizens, to do a feasibility study, scope of work and a cost analysis for the renovation of the school.
In 2012, the SCCBF was founded as a not for profit organization under the umbrella of Amador Community Foundation. The SCCBF is dedicated to the restoration, preservation and development of Sutter Creek’s historic assets and to raising the funds needed for the projects. In addition to the schoolhouse, the SCCBF is currently working on a Park and Gold Mining display on South Main Street and a public plaza in front of City Hall, along with several other smaller projects.
“We are excited to see the schoolhouse being restored to its original beauty.” said Lisa Klosowski, one of the founding board members. “It will be wonderful to see this historic building being used again in Sutter Creek. I would love to see the Dance Classes and the Model Railroad Museum return. I would also like to see new uses, such as art classes and seminars being held for the public.”
If you or a loved one attended the school and have photos, stories, or names of other students, you are invited to share them with us. A “Scrap Book” history is being compiled, and will be a perpetual memory of the rich history of the schoolhouse. All donations of $250 or more will receive a copy of the “Scrap Book”.
Donors may participate in the renovation of the stairs, windows, doors and other projects through sponsorships and cash donations. “All of us at the Foundation are very passionate about preserving the history of our community, and we know there are many others that would love to be a part of this exciting project,” said Frank Cunha, board chairman for SCCBF. “We are hoping that folks will once again come together to save this wonderful old historic building by making a donation or sponsoring a specific project.” Volunteer labor and materials will also be welcomed when the project is under way. To sign up for the email list, please firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tax deductible donations may be made to SCCBF through their web site at www.sccbf.org/schoolhouse. Donations may also be mailed to SCCBF, PO Box 24, Sutter Creek, CA 95685 with a note designating your specific interest.
PHOTO: Bob Cookson poses with SCCBF board chairman Frank Cunha in front of the schoolhouse today. Bob, along with other members of the Wildman-McGee family have generously donated the funds to restore the building’s steeple.