Events

A Perfect Day for a Ribbon-Cutting

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Photo courtesy Caroline Bredekamp.

Friday, September 13th at 10:30 a.m. over 70 people gathered to celebrate.  It could not have been a more perfect day for a ribbon-cutting.  After 7 1/2 years of planning, fundraising,  researching, searching, rebuilding and restoring, Forest Grove School No. 5 stood immaculate under the bluest sky anyone could ever remember. We could not help but think that THIS is what it must have been like for those earliest students of the 1873 schoolhouse to walk through its welcoming doors, ready to take their seats and learn.

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Sharon Andresen welcomes the crowd at the official ribbon cutting of Forest Grove School. Filmmakers Tammy & Kelly Rundle filmed the event for their documentary "Resurrecting Forest Grove". Photo courtesy Caroline Bredekamp.

The Iowa Standard School plaque was secured to the door--a gift from Bill Sherman, Country School preservationist and advocate.  The bell was rung and that one sound ringing through the countryside caused many eyes to dampen and goosebumps to rise.

Ribbon cutting CBGetting ready to cut the ribbon! Photo courtesy Caroline Bredekamp.

The speeches were given. The gratitude and recognitions shared.  And then, the moment all gathered together had waited for, the ribbon cutting and the schoolhouse doors officially opened. It was a magical day--beyond belief.  Everything perfectly planned and executed, just as the rebirth of Forest Grove itself.

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Barb Andersen
Barbara Blunk Andersen listens to Bill Sherman talk about the significance of the Iowa Standard School plaque at the special luncheon that followed the ribbon cutting ceremony. Photo courtesy Caroline Bredekamp.

Bravo to the hardest worker we know, visionary Sharon Andresen, for all you have done; all you have dreamed and seen through from the very beginning until the end of this phase. It is a stunning achievement.  You brought so many smiles to so many faces on this day.  Bravo to the Blunk family, and the Forest Grove School Preservation committee and board, many who have volunteered time and talent all of these years.

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Architect Doug Steinmetz opens the luncheon. Photo by Caroline Bredekamp.

We will repeat what we shared at the end of the lovely celebratory luncheon that followed the ribbon cutting and tour of the breathtaking Forest Grove:

Here is to the visionaries, the dreamers, the planners, the givers, the grantors, the helpers, the consulters;
To the problem solvers, the fixers, the builders, the painters, the caretakers;
To the promoters, the teachers, the storytellers and the believers.
Today is YOUR day. YOU brought Forest Grove back. You raised it up. You never stopped believing... it is a true lesson to be learned and inspired by.

CONGRATULATIONS to everyone who had a part in “resurrecting” this beautiful icon sitting so proud on the Iowa landscape ready to 'teach' all of us again.

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Tammy & Kelly Rundle of Fourth Wall Films, producers of the new documentary feature film Resurrecting Forest Grove, have been documenting the restoration of Forest Grove School No. 5 since work began on the schoolhouse seven years ago. The film project is in the production phase and a fundraising campaign is underway to raise matching funds for a grant the project received from Humanities Iowa. Click HERE to learn more about the film project and how YOU can help!

 

 


Bettendorf school rescue complete: 'You folks did this'

QC Times image_Kevin E. SchmidtRibbon-cutting ceremony at Forest Grove on September 13th. Photo courtesy Kevin E. Schmidt, Quad City Times.

By Alma Gaul
Quad City Times

An unlikely long shot paid off Friday when supporters of the once-collapsing Forest Grove School in Bettendorf snipped the ribbon at the entry of the restored, 1873 one-room country school.

Peals from the school's original bell rang out across the countryside as Sharon Andresen, the Bettendorf woman who spearheaded the seven-year restoration effort, told the crowd of about 70 that although she is "often the face and voice of the project," the community should know that "you folks did this."

About $225,000 has been spent, with untold amounts of in-kind donations of time and materials, Andresen said. Money was raised through grants; the sale of historic tax credits; direct "asks"; Birdies for Charity, the fund-raising arm of the John Deere Classic golf tournament; trivia nights, and car washes.

Going forward, the building that was restored to the 1923 time period will be used as a museum/interpretive center, telling the story of one-room country schools and the farm life that surrounded them. At one time, Iowa was dotted with about 13,000 one-room country schools; they closed in the 1950s after state-ordered consolidation.

Read the rest of Alma's article HERE!

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Tammy & Kelly Rundle of Fourth Wall Films, producers of the new documentary feature film Resurrecting Forest Grove, have been documenting the restoration of Forest Grove School No. 5 since work began on the schoolhouse seven years ago. The film project is in the production phase and a fundraising campaign is underway to raise matching funds for a grant the project received from Humanities Iowa. Click HERE to learn more about the film project and how YOU can help!


Forest Grove School No. 5 Ribbon Cutting Celebration September 13

Ribbon-cutting

The official Forest Grove School No. 5 ribbon cutting ceremony is set for Friday, September 13th at 10:30 a.m. Forest Grove School is located at 24040 195th (Forest Grove Drive), Bettendorf, Iowa.

A celebratory luncheon at the Davenport Country Club will follow the official opening of the Pleasant Valley Township Forest Grove School No 5.  Special speakers will take part in the event.

Lunch reservations are $25 per person, payable to Forest Grove School Preservation by Monday, Sept 9th.

Mail reservation checks to Forest Grove School Preservation, PO Box 603, Bettendorf, IA, 52722.  The luncheon starts at 12:00 p.m. The Davenport Country Club is located at 25500 Valley Drive, Pleasant Valley, Iowa.

For more information visit https://forestgroveschool.org/

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Resurrecting Forest Grove, a new documentary by award-winning and Emmy®  nominated filmmakers Kelly & Tammy Rundle of Fourth Wall Films, cinematically tells the dramatic true story behind the seemingly-impossible task of restoring a crumbling 1873 one-room school to its 1920s appearance. Footage and interviews gathered over a seven-year period will illustrate the problems they faced and the solutions they employed as they attempted to bring this rural icon back to life. The surprises and successes of this challenging restoration project will be intercut with a vivid historical portrait of the 'Roaring 20s' in rural America.

Resurrecting Forest Grove is partially funded by a grant from Humanities Iowa, a State affiliate of The National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed by the film do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or Humanities Iowa.

Resurrecting Forest Grove will be released on DVD and its WQPT-PBS debut in 2020.

Click HERE to join the journey and contribute to the documentary project!