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  • Writer's pictureDebra M. Dudek

The Lost Cornerstone of Cobblestone School

When I was visiting my grandmother one summer, I saw a few bulldozers digging up part of a neighbor's field next door. I can't recall the year exactly, but it may have been in the late 1980's. I thought the workers might have been building a barn or sold part of the lot to build a new house, but later my grandma told me the equipment handlers were searching for the cornerstone of a one-room school house which had once sat on the property. The workmen dug around and surveyed the site over the course of a few weeks, but nothing was found.

I do not know much about the school house itself, and there is no connection between the school house and my family. My grandparents did not move to their farm until the mid 1950s, and by that time, the school house on the corner of Concord Road and Warner Road had been out of service for nearly a century.

One room school houses in rural Michigan were utilized well into the 1960s. A few of them, such as the Eccles School in Harbor Beach offered classes through this middle of the last decade. My father attend classes at Stoddard School for about two years in the early 1950's. Stoddard School was a one-room school house further up Concord Road on the corner of King Road. According to dad, he was not particularly impressed with the experience. He preferred taking the bus to Concord consolidated schools in the village.

While browsing through a 1976 copy of Reflections on the Pond published by the Concord Heritage Association, I found a photograph of the school house which stood on the Concord/Warner Road property, and I can see why someone was interested in finding it.

The stone structure, ironically named Cobblestone School, had been erected on the site sometime around 1850. It looks very similar to Sessions School, Michigan's oldest surviving one room school house in Ionia County. I was not able to find a period photograph or sketch of the school while it was in operation, however, I was able to confirm the location of the school in an 1858 plat map of Jackson County.

Cobblestone School was in use through 1871, when another property was purchased and a new school was erected two miles southeast on Parson Road. The few details I was able to find about the school do not provide details on what happened to the structure after the school was closed, and the photograph in the book is not dated.

I really appreciate the work of the Concord Heritage Association for writing and publishing their book. Without it, I would have a memory of a few bulldozers in the neighbor's field without the historical context of what the workman were trying to find on the property. Although the cornerstone of Cobblestone School is still missing, today's genealogists and local historians can use websites such as History Pin and What Was There to help connect digital users to the everyday sights and landscapes of the past.

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