June 18, 2007

A miniature Darwin schoolhouse

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

Jim Johnson of Litchfield had his work cut out for him when he was asked to make a model of the old Darwin schoolhouse.

“I could’ve shingled my own house faster than I did this,” Johnson joked. When asked how long it took him, he only says, “Longer than what I charged for.”

He cut the tiny shingles, bricks and siding and built a replica of the District 42 schoolhouse.

The schoolhouse was located in what is now Schoolhouse Park in downtown Darwin.

It was built in 1911, closed in 1971, and was taken down in 1983.

Former students of the old school, including 11 members of the Austin Casey family, gathered at the museum for a dedication Tuesday. Also in attendance was Johnson, and the Lindell family, who sponsored the project.

It all started when Dick Lindell visited the Twine Ball Museum and saw a model of the old Darwin Farmer’s Elevator, which Johnson also made.

Lindell thought the school would make a great model as well, and contacted Johnson.

He and his siblings spent all eight years of their school in that schoolhouse. The Lindell children include, Frank, 75, Dick, 73, Bob “Popeye,” 72, and Margaret, 68.

Roger Werner, director of the Twine Ball Museum where the model will sit, is thrilled to have this new addition.

“It is truly a masterpiece,” Werner said.

“Many people who grew up in Darwin remember seeing the schoolhouse,” he said. “If they didn’t see it, they’ve heard about it.”

Werner was pleased with the turnout of people who came to the dedication to see the “masterpiece” and to reminisce with fellow schoolhouse students.

“Word got around, and we’re glad it did,” Werner said.

“That’s the funny thing about this town; if something’s going on, they know about it,” he said.

The model schoolhouse can be seen at the museum weekdays during the hours of noon and 4:30 p.m.

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