Front row: Charles Bolton, Billy Dixon, Bobby Knudsen, Don Bolton, Dale Knapp, Bob Dixon,
Delmar Pugh, Glenn Ray Knapp.
Middle row: Celia Letton, Rachel Wallace, Idell Metscher, Peggy Dixon, Lorrena Flaker,
Jack Dixon, Alice Wallace, Clara Pugh, Dorothy Jean Metscher.
Back row: Arthur Pennington, Julia Woods-teacher, Lavon Pennington, James Bolton.
Photo contributed by June Thomazin with identifications by Celia Letton Good.
Photo of the original North Star schoolhouse.
Image is from "Four R's of Barton County
Courtesy of Pauletta Orahood, President of the Barton County Historical Society.
Old North Star Schoolhouse Burns To The Ground
One of southwest Barton county's oldest landmarks, the old North Star schoolhouse, located four miles north of
Nashville, was destroyed by fire shortly after 3 o'clock Friday afternoon. Don Glaze, service man for the Barton County
REA, who first saw the blaze, warned the men at the Runnell's filling station in time for them to notify the teacher and
save all of the contents of the building.
Don was driving toward Nashville when he noticed a heavy smoke coming from the flu which ran outside of the north
end of the schoolhouse. He thought it was a bit peculiar that anyone should be firing a stove in such a manner when it
was so mild and only a few minutes until school was out.
As Don passed the building he glanced in the rearview mirror and for the first time he saw the flames shooting up through
the roof. Don whipped the car into the Runnells station and told the attendant that the schoohouse was on fire.
The man rushed ahead of Don, who had on his climbers, and told the teacher, Miss Julie Woods. The 18 school children
got their books and marched to safety. By this time several neighbors were there. They carried out the desks, the piano,
the Library, and other equipment.
Don detached the electric meter and attempted to get the base but the building was too hot.
Though the building was actually burning over their heads, Miss Woods and the children were unaware of anything out of
the ordinary. One of the children told Don later that he noticed a roaring but he thought it was only thunder.
As the walls of the schoolhouse crumpled it began to sprinkle rain.
Oddly enought Len Bright and Cap Joyce, insurance inspectors for the Barton County Mutual, checked the building not more
than an hour before it was razed. The found everything all right. The building was insured for $700 and the contents for $500.
The contents were damaged to the extent of perhaps $100.
The origin of the fire has not been determined. In all probability it was caused from either a defective flue or a spark alighting
on the roof.
Arrangements for a temporary school building have already been made. School will be held in a newly constructed residence of
the Runnels directly across from the station.
North Star schoolhouse had stood for seventy years. It was built somewhere in the late sixties. It was the first schoolhouse
built in Nashville township. The first teacher, we are quite sure, was the late Alec Pettinger, who died thirty years ago, and who
was for many years a Nashville merchant after he retired from the schoolroom.
A good many generations had attended school in the old building, which despite its three score and ten years, was yet, before the
fire, in excellent repair.
The Lamar Democrat, Tuesday, December 6, 1938. Courtesy of the Barton County Historical Society and June Thomazin.
Barton Rural School Burns
The North Star school in Nashville township, Barton County, was destroyed by fire last Friday afternoon. Don Glaze, a lineman for
the REA, who was passing on his way to Nashville, saw the blaze and notified the teacher, Miss Julia Woods.
The desks and other contents of the building were removed from the burning structure. Eighteen students are enrolled in the school.
The fire is believed to have started from a defective flue. The building was insured.
The Sarcoxie Record, Thursday, December 8, 1938.
New North Star schoolhouse.
Image is from the scrapbook of Idell Metscher Thomazin-Walls, courtesy of June Thomazin.
The North Star school was located two miles north of Nashville on Hwy 43 where it intersects with Hwy 126. It was on the northwest corner,
and on the opposite side of Highway 43 was a filling station- grocery store-residence owned by Albert & Minney Runnels. According to
J. D. and JoAnn (Runnels) Kirby, the school is no longer there.
Information courtesy of Lon Couch and June Thomazin.
People Of North Star Dedicate New School Building
Two hundred people attended the dedication for the North Star schoolhouse two miles north of Nashville, Monday evening. The old
schoolhouse was the first to be built in Nashville district, erected nearly seventy years ago, and burned last winter.
The new building meets every requirement for a number one rural school. The light enters from the rear and from the left. It is capable
of seating 38 pupils, much larger than the regular attendance. It has fifteen cubic feet of space each for as many as thirty-eight pupils.
It has electric lights. The walls are painted buff and the ceiling a light buff. It has a hard wood floor. There is a platform six inches high
at the rear end provided with a curtain. It has two doors with a stoop over each. Under each stoop is a cement floor. In one corner of the
room is a modern circulating heater.
The building cost $1080, the circulating heater $140. Equipment and building did not cost to exceed $1250. Most of the furniture in the
old building was saved from the flames.
Mrs. Anna Knudson made a very interesting talk to the crowd. She attended school in the building which burned down last summer,
sixty-seven years ago. The late Alec Pittenger was teacher. He had an attendance of seventy-five. At that time we believe it was the only
school in Nashville township. Mrs. Knudson recalled many incidents of her old school days at North Star.
The youngest pupil who had attend school in the old school house was also present. He was Harvey, six year old son of Mr. and Mrs.
The local community organization at North Star sold ice cream, hot dog and buns to the big crowd.
County Superintendent Elgin Dermott was present and delivered a very much appreciated address to the large gathering.
Russell Letton, Henry Melcher [sic]* and Albert Reynolds [sic]* are the directors, who had charge of erecting the new building. Mrs. Bernice Shaw
is clerk. Miss Julia Woods will teach the first school in the new building.
There is something of a coincidence in this connection. The Irwin school house burned down last winter and a brand new building
much to the order of the one at North Star is ready for use. Miss Julia Wood's sister, Mrs. Lanta Lee Woods Needham is the teacher
*Henry Melcher is Henry Metscher and Albert Reynolds is Albert Runnels.
The Lamar Democrat, September 1, 1939. Courtesy of the Barton County Historical Society and June Thomazin.