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Helen's Mulberry Lane Farm Journal

February 27, 2021

The Old Loda Grade School

I have so much to tell you! It will be hard to break this story down in little bites, but let me just say it is truly a miracle story.

We had our eye on the Old Loda Grade School property since it went up on the market several times over the last twenty years or so. About three times we came close to making the purchase, and then things would fall through for various reasons. It just wasn't the right time and we were trusting that if God wanted us to have it, He would make it happen in His own good time.

The longer we waited, the more run down the school became and it was getting to the point where it should just be torn down. But, that meant the price was getting cheaper by the day!

Finally, we were able to purchase the school in July of 2019. We thought we were busy then, but, whew! It has been a whirlwind since then.

A historian came by in 2020 and took this lovely 3D picture.

The school was built in 1923 and was originally a high school. It made several transitions over the years, and eventually became an elementary school before closing in 2006.

The school was neglected for most of the years since it closed in 2006 up until we bought it. There was no heating in the building and all the water pipes burst. Vandals got into the school on a regular basis, breaking most of the lovely old windows, painting graffiti on the walls, dumping full cans of paint onto the lovely old wooden floors, starting fires, and meanwhile trees were growing up against the foundation, one foot of water was in the basement, and on and on.

But it was a solid building on almost seven acres of land. Since my husband is not only an intellectual, he is also a great handy-can-fix-anything kind of guy, so this purchase would work for us. When the price came down to what we could afford, we seized it. I was pretty sure we were crazy and some even agreed with us!

Gerald looking over the school's architectural plans.
We carefully taped them back together.
The plans were drawn up in the early 1900's.

That's me cleaning the gymnasium with the old mops that were left in the school.

The gym was turned into my Mulberry Lane Farm Warehouse/Shipping Room!
Notice the yellow gym lines along the floor near the table!

But why did we think we needed a 23,000 square foot run down and neglected building? We didn't need the run down and neglected part, (except that it was "sweat equity") but we did need the space. My husband had been working in his research labs in very cramped quarters for twenty-five plus years. My online grain business was growing at such a rate that as soon as we added more space and finished the space, we had already outgrown the new space!

My new warehouse buzzing with activity!

Christmas 2020
(Photo by Jennifer Aardsma Hall; used by permission)



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