Clear Creek community keeps school alive

In 1908 the one-room Clear Creek schoolhouse was built on land that sits along the current path of Highway 3 just north of the Highway 303 exit.

In 1940 the school closed.

In 1943 it was bought by the Clear Creek Community Club for $1 and this May — more than 100 years after it first opened — it was presented to community members as it might have appeared a century ago.

The presentation was done in conjunction with the Kitsap Historical Society, which does a handful of lunch events each year at historical sites around the county.

Sandra Ramsey and Randy Hunt with the community club spent countless hours over more than a month and a half preparing the schoolhouse for the May event.

But that’s just the recent work — they’ve

been improving and restoring the property since 1987.

For the historical soci- ety event, Ramsey and Hunt brought in old rows of desks and replaced partitions in the class- room.

Ramsey took the dec- oration a step further by painting the former teachers and students across a large canvas. She pulled their images from old class photos and painted them in startling color across the front of the classroom.

Two elderly gentleman, Eric Kegley and Dave Gillette — who attended the school just before its closing — attended the lunch.

According to Randy, when they walked into the classroom and saw the painting one of them instantly recognized one of the students on the wall.

When Ramsey and Hunt started renovating the property, it wasn’t in very usable shape. Many of the windows were

boarded up and pieces were missing.

They found the school bell on a different prop- erty in 1989, propping up a chicken coop.

Next door to the schoolhouse stands a teacher’s cottage and what used to be a double- ended outhouse.

In conversations at the state level, Hunt said he hadn’t heard of any other one-room schoolhouses that still stood with their teachers’ cottages.

Hunt’s wife, Marvel, said the outhouse was ahead of its time.

“Who could be proud of an outhouse,” she said. “We are.”

These days, in addition to hosting the historical society, the schoolhouse

serves as a community hub — where groups from 4H to Jazzercize and Scottish dancers are welcome.

If the property ever ceases to serve the com- munity, its lease will revert back to the pre- vious owner, Hunt said. And that’s something they have apparently thought about.

“Our dilemma is how to keep this thing from dying after (we quit),” he said.

After more than a cen- tury serving students and community members in the Clear Creek area, the school still stands — and residents like Ramsey and the Hunts hope to keep it that way for decades to come.


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