White School, Wayne Township, Cass County, Michigan

Location: 42.00548, -86.03071, at the corner of Flanders St and Glenwood Rd, Dowagiac, MI.

White School (Wayne Township School District #7 School) began as a log cabin built in 1840 which was destroyed by fire around 1853. A replacement school was built then, but it became too small, leading to the construction of the current wood-frame schoolhouse built in 1885 by Christian Haeffner, a Cass County architect. Despite the simple supposition that it was named for its color, White School was actually named for the man who originally donated ground for the school, Philo White. It's a simple massed-plan gabled frame structure resting on a split fieldstone foundation. It is painted white with four large sash windows on each side with simple milled surrounds and flat lintels. The street-side face is completely plain, without windows or signs, and contains only a single centered entry door with a transom window to provide light to the cloak room where boys put their coats, boots and lunch pails on one side and girls on the other. The school bell was originally located above the front side of the building, but that bell tower no longer exists and one now exists in the rear of the building. The rear side once had two large sash windows identical to the side windows, but an early alteration converted one of them into a second door. There is now a shuttered bell tower in the rear of the building. I can't see whether it holds a school bell. In times past, a large Round Oak stove sat in the center of the room, with its large stove pipe running to one end. A water bucket and dipper for drinking water were in the hallway. Water was carried to the school from the nearest neighbor by the older boys. The schoolhouse was used for K-8 but was closed in 1959 and used as storage for an antique shop. It has now been acquired by Wayne Township and is used as a meeting place for the 4-W (Wayne Wee Willing Workers) 4-H club.

    
White School (Wayne Township School District #7 School)
    
White School (Wayne Township School District #7 School)
    
White School (Wayne Township School District #7 School)
    
White School (Wayne Township School District #7 School)

Here's a past photo of White School:

    
White Schoolhouse Information from the Bess Britton One-Room Schoolhouse Collection at the Webster Memorial Library in Decatur, Michigan

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