Choosing a picture to run and a tale to tell each week sometimes
gets to be a bit of a problem. I have at least two purposes for
choosing this week's picture.
First, to demonstrate the quality of work and the availability of the services of Bob Hightshoe at the TT office. The reproduction we are running this week was made from a picture postcard I found in a box that my father had. The original from which he worked wasn't in the best of condition but the enlargement turned out exceptionally well. I certainly don't purport to be any authority on photography, but I am very pleased with his work. And his prices seemed reasonable even to an old Scotchman.
The main focus of the picture is the lumberyard which sat along the south side of main street in Worth. The picture was probably taken sometime around 1910. The man standing in the office doorway is my grandfather, W.R. Gladstone, who managed the yard at that time. At that time I think the yard was sort of a cooperative venture. There was also a second lumberyard in Worth at that time and it sat a block north of main street.
The next owner of the yard was Lester Pettijohn. I think (emphasis on think) that Lester Pettijohn was a brother of Cory Pettijohn who at the same time was a partner in the Okey & Pettijohn lumberyard in Grant City. Cory Pettijohn finally ended up in King City as the Ford dealer and father of the present owner, Jim Pettijohn.
Pettijohn in turn sold the lumberyard to Dr. Albert Andrews and his brother Hayes. Hayes was a licensed embalmer and the brothers also operated a funeral service. Dr. Andrews died in the early 1930's and Hayes operated the lumberyard for another 10 years or so when it was closed during WWII.
The building was razed and Fred and Hazel Michel built a new home at that location. The Michel home was destroyed in the 1947 Worth tornado.
The Baptist congregation purchased the site and built their present house of worship on the remaining basement.
But that really isn't the story I want to tell. Dimly, in the left background is the schoolhouse. Some historical material about the Worth School is really the principal subject.
When the town of Worth was founded in 1899 it was a part of the Shiloh school district. In fact, the town was along the eastern edge of that district. The old Shiloh schoolhouse sat on the northwest segment of the crossroads 1/2 mile west of the southwest corner of Worth. It sat in the center of the 4 square mile area it served.
Now any self-respecting town would want a school and the new town of Worth was no different in that respect. A movement was soon underway to build a schoolhouse in town. Naturally, the people in the western side of the district had some objection so, as is often the case, a compromise was effected. The people in the west two mile area were given their choice of being in the new Worth district of going into the Leonard district which was the next district to the west.
About 25 percent of the land in the Shiloh district transferred into the Leonard district. A new schoolhouse was built in the Leonard district some 3/4 of a mile east of where the original schoolhouse sat.
In 1901, a two story, 2-room, brick schoolhouse was built in Worth. For the next 15 years the school operated as an elementary school.
In the year 1917 two significant educational things happened in Worth. The voters approved a bond issue and construction began on an addition to the school building to house a high school. In addition, 13 students began their freshman year of high school in the west room of the Methodist Church.
The building project was completed by the next fall (1918). A second year was added to the curriculum and the students moved into the new building. It remained a two-year school until the fall of 1921 when a third year was added, with a fourth year added in 1922. The first graduating class of Worth High School was in the spring of 1923.
In the spring of 1943 the school board made the decision to close the high school. The declining school population and the difficulty in obtaining teachers during WWII led to the decision.
The Worth schoolhouse was completely destroyed by a tornado on April 29, 1947. Almost immediately work was begun on a new building built on the old schoolhouse foundation. It was a one story, two-room building.
The Worth district continued to operate an elementary school until the area was absorbed in the reorganization of the county school system in the early 1950's. WCRI continued to operate an elementary school in the building for a few years.
When no longer needed for a school building it was sold to George Waske who still owns it.