After 129 years, bell comes down from old Scottville High School, teacher wants it refurbished.

February 8, 2017

scottville_schoolhouseAfter 129 years, bell comes down from old Scottville High School, teacher wants it refurbished.


By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

SCOTTVILLE — For 129 years, the bell has sat in the tower above the old Scottville High School. On Wednesday, it finally came down. The bell has been donated by the old schoolhouse’s owner, John Wilton, to Mason County Central Schools, where it will likely replace the victory bell at Spartan Community Field.

Wilson, who lives in Queensland, Australia, purchased the schoolhouse in 2012 while traveling through Scottville. Though he has put a lot of work into cleaning out the building and securing some of its walls, word on the street is that the building is likely going to be razed in the future.

MCC Middle School teacher Scott Dumas, who is also a graduate of MCC High School who went to school in the old building, came up with the idea of acquiring the schoolhouse bell several years ago. “Just recently I was talking with (City Manager) Amy Williams and she got me John’s email address. It just took asking him,” Dumas said.

On Wednesday, Nick Wagner Construction and Zupin Crane of Manistee donated their time to help take the bell down. From there, the bell is being taken to Alway’s Service Center in Amber Township where Rick Alway has volunteered to sandblast the bell.

History of the school:

1877: A group of concerned men met on a woodpile at the intersection of what is now State and Main streets to discuss building a school in Scottville (then known as Sweetland). The men included Harry Melson, H. Schulte, C.W. Jones, J.C. Mustard, James Sweetland, J.N. Mack, Andrew Neil, and John Winters. Scottville school district was formed and school was conducted in a building on what is now Blaine Street (possibly Thomas Street at the corner of James Street). First school board members included John Tracy, C.E. Schumacker, and James Sweetland. Prior to this time, Scottville children walked to Jones School, located at what is now the corner of Johnson and Gordon roads in Amber Township.

1878: A permanent building was built on the southeast corner of State and Main streets. First teachers were C.W. Jones and Sarah Turner. Other early teachers included Sarah Painter, Fred Fairbanks, and Emma Bishop Loomis. The first schoolhouse was later sold to the Seventh Day Adventists and moved to Third Street south of the railroad tracks.

1888: Brick schoolhouse constructed.

1893: First eighth grade graduation. Graduates included Effie Tracy, William Freedy, Johnny Greenway, Joseph Snell, and Ruth Bishop (later Falconer).

1903: First 12th grade graduation. Nora Cranley (later Clay), Pearl Shelley (later Henry), Ethel Fortune (later Sloan), Ray Trucks, Julia Landon, Frank Ponko, and Sherman Clay.

1911: North and south wings were added to the school.

1927: Gymnasium built on brick schoolhouse.

1951: Scottville Elementary built.

1956: Scottville Schools, along with several country schools.

1959: Mason County Central High School is built at the west end of Broadway Street. The old high school becomes a junior high.

1976: Middle School is built at the west end of Beryl Street. The old schoolhouse is sold.

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