Susan Cook, a park ranger at the Homestead National Monument of America near Beatrice, says visitors won’t be able to step inside the Freeman School for a few weeks.
“We’re replacing the whole wood floor in it,” she says. “They did replace it 15 or 20 years ago and the boards buckled because of moisture issues.”
Cook says the Freeman School will be closed for about a month and much attention is being paid to every detail to best preserve the historic site, which dates to the 1870s.
“It’s very controlled in what we do and even in how we’re taking things out of there, where do we store it, what gets stored where, and how the work is done.”
Visitors can still walk up to the Freeman School and peer inside the building’s windows. Cook says a small heater was installed in the school years ago to help keep the building in good shape during the winter months. She says a few bricks have been replaced as well.
“We monitor the historic graffiti because there’s a tradition of when the students would graduate, they would etch their initials and the year into a brick,” she says.
Pictures are taken of each of the bricks every year to keep a record for preservation purposes. The Freeman School was the longest running one-room school in the State of Nebraska when it closed in 1967.
By Doug Kennedy, KWBE, Beatrice