Volume 6, Number 1, Fall 1976
We are here on this 17 day of September to dedicate this area, formerly the Old Branson School property, as a park to be known as the Old Branson School Park.
We are meeting on the 200th Anniversary of the signing of the Constitution of the United States of America. Had it not been for the signing of this instrument we probably would not be here today. However a land of Liberty and Freedom can slip away like a delicate flower. Only by constant vigilance will we hold it.
This is also a joy day for members of the Table Rock Extension Homemakers club, a day to celebrate its Forty Seventh Birthday. It was in 1929 that the club was organized. Mr. J. P. Penner was our mentor. But do not forget, the club has had its ups and downs during these years.
It had been a dream of the members to have a community building. They soon began pinning their hopes on the Old Branson School Building. They knew there was a movement toward consolidation with the Branson No. 3 which when it came would leave the property available for civic purposes.
The days for the one-room school building was nearing its end, and here was a big chance for the Club. With the first bussing of school children the little old school house would not be needed.
The memory of the marvelous teachers who down through the years can never be forgotten. It always amazed me how one teacher could marshall eight grades of children and in the course of a year have them advance into the next grade. I attended school in a log cabin school in Northern Idaho. The evidence of the courage and endurance of these teachers is the group of their pupils represented here today, former pupils of the Old Branson school.
Now was to come a change at Branson and this is when the Table Rock club received its great opportunity. There was the prospect of getting a community building. But the president of the club informed us that she owned the building. What a shock. However after a time we learned much about the exchange of private property.
The school deed to the acre of land had never been recorded. Grandpa John Boswell, as we called him, explained to me that it was almost two much effort to make the trip to Forsyth. Even on horseback it was a trying trip. With hardly a road and with boulders preventing a wagon passage, recording of the deed was just neglected. Then came a time for more change. A group of three men, Mr. V. C. Todd, Mr. York, and Mr. Fulbright were townsite committee to set up a home-site district. In dividing the land into lots of three acres or more it was discovered about the lack of recording the schools deed and Mr. Todd owning the land received a Quick-Claim deed. So Mrs. Hull came into ownership of the school property which she said was for sale.
We pounced upon the offer, but where was to be found the funds for the purchase. Mr. Mart Compton, the same man who helped to build the building in the first place, came forward, and loaned us the money. In seven years by dint of labor and saving we had it paid. The mortgage was burned as a Community fun night and dinner party and the Club had a building.
After a course of time, they wanted to rename the Club to the West-side Club. That did not last for more than a year as that name had no meaning. The club settled on returning to the original name of Table Rock. However it was through the Missouri University Extension work that the club was urged to become an extension club. They retained the name Table Rock, as the table was symbolism of the furniture of the Homemaker and the thought the Rock was the foundation of the home. So it became the Table Rock Extension Club. Later was added the word Homemaker. Now there comes another change for it is to be instead of a club an Association, one which has been a continuous organization for 47 years.
Too, another change was in effect. For the club members soon learned that the University Extension Service could not own property. Fortunately we had a member who took the situation in hand and proceeded to have the club incorporated then it could hold property. Three trustees were appointed and the club took on new form.
But more gloom was in store for the club. A storm blew down a near by tree which landed in the middle of the building, caving in the roof at its center.
After consultation with Mr. George Stancil, the club members decided that the best course instead of trying to rebuild or remodel the building which was already leaning, was to transfer the property to the City of Branson, a gift for a city park.
Mrs. Margaret Harrison, president of the Incorporation, found it her duty to take care of the transfer as voted unanimously by the members. The transfer was made by her proposal which gave the property to the city for a park. The City acknowledged the gift and notified the three trustees of their acceptance, enclosing a sketch for the future park and the preservation of the name of the school.
The old school bell was a casualty of the War. It had been taken down and sold for scrap but was yet intact when found at Kirbyville. The Club was able to rescue the bell, but now no building but the Park was also the answer in preserving the Old Branson School Bell.
Now we are here to celebrate this event with the Dedication of the Old Branson School Park. May this day be long remembered and the remembrance of the perseverance of a Civic Minded group of women who wanted to preserve the memory of the Old Branson School with this program on this Bicentennial day of September 17, 1976.
Copyright Ó White River Valley Historical Quarterly
Next Article | Table of Contents | Other Issues
Local History Home