Restoration work is set to begin this week to rebuild a more than 120-year-old one-room schoolhouse near Canby, which was devastated by the February 2021 ice storm a year and a half ago.
The Mark Prairie Schoolhouse has stood at its location on South Mark Road since the turn of the 20th century, and though it ceased to be a school shortly after the end of World War II, it has continued to provide a setting for family reunions, wedding receptions, Christmas and other parties, picnics, church groups, 4-H clubs, and other meetings.
But that all changed on that fateful Presidents’ Day in 2021, when the historic ice storm toppled two oak trees onto the schoolhouse, causing massive damage.
“We have some of the worst-looking damage I’ve seen anywhere in the county so far,” Mark Prairie Historical Society president and family descendant Judi Aus said at the time.
Since then, the society has secured the services of Emerick Construction, a local contractor experienced in historical renovation projects, to rebuild the schoolhouse roof and repair the other damage.
They have also continued to work with local historian Peggy Sigler, a volunteer and board adviser who was spearheading a restoration project that was already planned for the historic schoolhouse — before disaster struck.
The board received word last week that the project’s structural permits had been approved and that work was expected to begin Monday, October 10.
“Raise a toast in celebration!” Aus wrote in an email to board members, which was shared with the Current. “Structural permit received! Approved, paid, and an official, stamped copy in hand!”
The renovation was also approved by the Clackamas County Historical Review Board. The interior will be refinished with tongue-in-groove planks milled by Pacific Timber Products in Molalla to mirror the original ceiling.
The project will also include ADA upgrades in the bathroom and other areas of the building, including electrical and utility work.
While insurance is covering some of the damage, Aus said the cost of the restoration is estimated to be $150,000 in excess of their coverage. The society has received some grant funding to complete the project and is continuing to seek grants and community support.
For more information about the Mark Prairie Historical Society and how you can help, visit markprairiehistoricalsociety.org.
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