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Route 66 News

Group seeks to restore old schoolhouse in Phelps

A nonprofit group is raising money to shore up and restore a long-abandoned, century-old Phelps School in the tiny Route 66 hamlet of Phelps, Missouri, reported the Joplin Globe.

According to the article, Phelps School was finished in 1889 until it and other one-room schools in the region were consolidated into the Miller School District during the 1950s. The school reportedly fell into disuse during the 1980s.

Washam said the community group’s first goal is to raise enough money to put a new roof on the schoolhouse, estimated to be around $8,700. That work has already begun, with cedar-colored asphalt shingles chosen instead of metal because of their resemblance to the original oak-shakes roof, he said.

“We want to restore it as much as possible to how it looked originally,” he said.

The group hopes to finish repairs to the exterior by next year and to the interior, including new heating and air conditioning units and a functional bathroom, within five years. Washam said it’s possible, after the restoration is complete, that the community group could submit the schoolhouse for consideration to the National Register of Historic Places.

The group held a cruise-in fundraiser at the school over the weekend.

Phelps School is located on the west end of the original 1920s pavement, which now serves as a north frontage road for Highway 96.

(An image of Phelps School by John Hagstrom via Flickr)

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