Posted: Jun 19, 2013 5:05 PM by Jamie Leary
Updated: Jun 19, 2013 5:16 PM
BOZEMAN - Montana's rural schoolhouses have landed on a list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.
The Montana Preservation Alliance says this designation will help garner more support towards salvaging Montana history.
"I came from one-room schoolhouses. My mother taught in this school," Carol Chambers said, pointing out old photos of her mother, Helga Pinkerton, who was a teacher at the Little Bear School in Gallatin Canyon.
Chambers is now the president of the Little Bear School Museum in Gallatin Gateway and touted as a local hero by the Montana Preservation Alliance for her efforts to resort the school.
"You know, I think Montanans have a good work ethic and a moral value and they all came from one-room schools," said Chambers.
Montana has more one- and two-room historic schoolhouses still in use than any other state. As the state's population grows, those schoolhouses are left abandoned, pieces of Montana's history forgotten.
Author Charlotte Caldwell spent three years documenting the history of at least one schoolhouse in each of Montana's 56 counties.
"I really wanted this book to become a catalyst for people to recognize that these humble and iconic little buildings are worth saving," said Caldwell.
Caldwell donates all proceeds from her book to the preservation of Montana's historic school houses. So far, she has risen over $56,000.
"Oh, I'd like to see them all saved, you know, they've got so much history and, you know, that's our heritage," said Chambers.
Also on the list the 2013 Most Endangered Historic Places are the Astrodome in Houston, Texas and the World Port Terminal at JFK Airport.
To support Montana's schoolhouses, you can purchase Visions and Voices: Montana's One-Room Schoolhouses by Charlotte Caldwell, or visit the Montana Preservation Alliance online.