US officials look for ideas to save historic school house

    The US Forest Service is looking for the public

Casada School House

U.S. Forest Service officials are seeking public input regarding the preservation of Casada School House, a historic property in southern Pulaski County where author Harriette Simpson Arnow once taught.

The school house is located in a remote area that is now part of the Daniel Boone National Forest. Built in the early 1900s, the school was later abandoned more than 60 years ago. The one-room structure has now deteriorated and was recently stabilized to prevent collapse.

The Forest Service says the Casada School House is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places under the National Historic Preservation Act. It is looking to manage the site with help from the NHPA and the Land and Resource Management Plan for the Daniel Boone National Forest.

It is currently considering two options to preserve the School House for public visitation. The building would either be maintained where it is or moved to a more visible location. If it stays at its current location, road construction would be required for public access and the building would have to be restored for viewing and safety purposes. The Forest Service says it would have to remove some trees and other vegetation and signs would be developed as guides for visitors. Due to its seclusion, The Forest Service says a custodian would also be needed onsite when the house is open to visitors.

Relocating the School House would also involve vegetation removal and would require the Forest Service to dismantle the structure and transport it to a less isolated location. Once moved, the Service says the building would be restored to a condition consistent with the early 1900s. Signs or services would be provided for public viewing.

Harriette Simpson Arnow taught briefly at Casada from 1940 to 1941. In a career that spanned 50 years, Arnow wrote six novels, two social histories, one autobiographical memoir, numerous short stories, book reviews and other articles. She is best known for “The Dollmaker,” the winner of the 1955 National Book Award. In 1983 the book was made into a movie starring Jane Fonda.

Interested groups and individuals are requested to send written recommendations or comments to the Forest Service by October 31.

Comments should be addressed to District Ranger Tim Reed, Stearns Ranger District, 3320 Hwy 27 N, Whitley City, KY 42653.

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