Forest Grove #5 is in the early stages of restoration. A benefit screening of Country School is being held
to help raise addditional funds to continue preservation work on the one-room school located in
Fourth Wall Films, together with Forest Grove School Preservation, will present a special benefit screening of the Emmy® nominated documentary Country School: One Room – One Nation on Saturday, September 29, 2012 at 6:30 p.m. at Pleasant Valley High School, 604 Belmont Road, Bettendorf, Iowa. The film will screen for the first time in high-definition (HD) followed by a Q & A with award-winning filmmakers Kelly and Tammy Rundle. All proceeds will support the rehabilitation of Forest Grove #5, Bettendorf, Iowa’s iconic one-room schoolhouse.
From immigration issues in early schools to the controversial demise of their widespread use in the 1950s and 1960s, Country School: One Room – One Nation combines visually stunning images of a myriad of restored and decaying buildings—including one designed by Frank Lloyd Wright—with surprising, humorous, and heartwarming stories from former teachers and students. More than just nostalgia, Country School also delves into the dark side of the one-room school experience and dispels the myths behind the revered institution that helped bind a young nation together. The filmmakers visited over 70 one-room schools in Iowa, Kansas, and Wisconsin.
Forest Grove #5 also appears in the film. The schoolhouse opened its doors in 1873 and was closed in 1957. Spearheaded by Sharon Andresen and the family of former Forest Grove student Delbert Blunk, efforts to save the 139-year-old schoolhouse have been underway since early 2012. The Rundles are documenting the group’s restoration efforts and progress.
“I remember seeing a photo of Forest Grove as we conducted preliminary research for Country School,” said producer Kelly Rundle. “Even in its dilapidated state it has a stark beauty.”
“We filmed Forest Grove during a snowstorm in 2009 and I remember thinking it would soon be gone—never dreaming that it could be rescued,” said producer Tammy Rundle. “We were so happy to learn about the determined group of people with vision working to save this important local landmark.“
Preservationists have decided to interpret the school’s 1940s era classroom in the restoration. They plan to open the building to 3rd and 4th grade students for re-enactments that would meet Iowa History curriculum requirements. Seasonal events will also be hosted at the site and community groups will be encouraged to use the space for small functions.
The Forest Grove #5 Benefit Screening Event will take place in the Pleasant Valley High School Theater, 604 Belmont Road, Bettendorf, IA on Saturday, September 29 at 6:45 p.m. Doors will open at 6:15 p.m. The presentation includes the special HD screening of Country School: One Room – One Nation, a discussion with the Rundles, and the latest updates on behind-the-scenes work being done to save Forest Grove #5. Photographs and artifacts from the school will also be on display. Tickets can be purchased at the door for $10. All proceeds will support the stabilization and restoration of the Forest Grove School.