Howard Lake Herald, June 1, 1998

HL history: schools from logs to frame buildings

By Michael Mitchell

Pioneer schools first began in private homes, and later, in crudely constructed log buildings. In most instances, they were heated by huge box stoves, with a large iron drum to conserve the heat from the escaping flame and smoke.

These pioneer school rooms did not require any modern systems of ventilation, and it was usually close to the noon hour before the temperature reached a point where all parts of the room was sufficiently warm to give comfort to the pupils. Due to this fact, there were long benches placed about the stove where the pupils seated themselves during the early morning hours.

The furniture was made by a local carpenter from lumber secured from the crude saw mills of the period. The teacher was expected to serve as janitor, but in some cases, hired some boy living near the school house to build the fires. If the teacher found favor with the older girls, they rendered voluntary assistance in cleaning the floors and desks and in some instances, the windows.

This type of school existed as late as the early 1880s, when frame buildings were constructed. In many of the more flourishing villages, well-graded schools were established and modern school furniture was installed. In some instances there were schools of two, three and four departments.

The average monthly compensation of teachers in the rural schools during the 1934-35 school year was $69.72. The highest salaried teacher received $125 and the lowest $40. The first graduate from Howard Lake High School was Mary Comer in 1890.

Howard Lake trivia

The answer to the question, "Where was the first Howard Lake Municipal Liquor Store and what was the name of it?" is:

A year or so, after prohibition ended in 1933, the voters of Howard Lake voted in favor of establishing a municipal liquor store in the village. It was located where Gerry's Super Value is now and was in the Variety Store building, where the old bakery was located . The name was, The Log Bar, so named because the bar was made out of logs.

A short time later, after a restaurant closed that was in the village hall, the Howard Lake Municipal Liquor Store moved to its present site and was named The Last Chance for those headed west and The First Chance for those headed east.

The next question ­ where was the Howard Lake Ice Company located and what commodity did it deal with?

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