Uphill Both Ways

Stories and images from the Gazette's education files with reporter Cathy Idzerda.

Uphill Both Ways: Memories from Hubbell School

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Catherine W. Idzerda
Monday, April 17, 2017

LEYDEN--It's unknown when this photo was taken, but we do know that Thursday, Dec. 18, 1947, was the last day classes were held at Hubbell School.

Hubbell was located north of Leyden, an unincorporated crossroads in the town of Fulton. Modern motorists will find the remnants of Leyden at the corner of Highway 14 and County H.

According to a story in the Gazette, Mrs. F.E. Farrington said "she had a first warning of the fire when flames roared in the chimney just after she rang the school bell at 9 a.m. and before the students could take their seats.”

Janesville and Edgerton firefighters responded to the blaze, but the pupils and the neighbors were already on it.

“The building soon filled with smoke, but the alarm went out rapidly through the neighborhood and a dozen men gathered and moved out the piano, radio, electric grill, all the desks and lockers and other furnishings expect the stove,” the story said.

Mrs. Farrington said the older boys and other helpers also saved books valued at "thousands of dollars.”

The students were disappointed because they wouldn't be able to put on their Christmas program.

“Children had just finished decorating the interior of the school for the program and some of their art work and presents were ruined in the rush to get furnishings out of the burning building,” the story said.

On a positive note, the Christmas tree, which was still in the entrance hall, was not yet up, and a parent later agreed to host the holiday program at her home.

A grainy microfilm photo shows students gathered around the equipment in the front of the school. Pictured were Allen Condon, Roger Wakefield, John Condon, Duane Rose, Marie Wakefield, Jackie Rose, Phillip Longley, Evelyn Rose, Kay Farrington and Judy Farrington. They represented more than half of the school's 17 pupils.

For a while, school met at a vacant farm house. But when the neighbors pleaded with the county education committee to let them continue to have their own school, they were turned down. Officials said there was plenty of room at the school in Fulton.

The best part of the story? Poor Mrs. Farrington was only subbing at the time.

“Mrs. Farrington has been teaching since the marriage of Mrs. Dorothy Thompson Reddy at Thanksgiving time. Mrs. Reddy is now on her wedding trip at Independence, Missouri, but is expected back to finish out the term for the rest of the year,” the story said.

Poor Mrs. Reddy. She returned from her honeymoon to find her school empty.

Well, maybe not poor Mrs. Reddy. It turns out that Mrs. Dorothy “Dort” Reddy was a school teacher for decades, working and volunteering at Consolidated Elementary on County F. People also might remember her as a 4-H Superintendent.

Does anyone have any memories of Hubbell School?  Even the youngest of its pupils would now be in their 70s.

Last updated: 5:12 pm Monday, April 17, 2017

Catherine Idzerda is the education reporter for The Gazette. She can be reached at (608) 755-8259 or cidzerda@gazettextra.com.

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