Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
1800’s Pilot Grove School House moves to East Grove Farms
A schoolhouse from Pilot Grove that was used in the 1800s moved to East Grove Farms Wednesday morning.
The original town of Pilot Grove is two miles from where it sits now. In the 1880s, the town moved locations to be closer to the railroad. The schoolhouse was left behind for rural students in the area.
In 1966, the schoolhouse was moved to the Holtkamp farm, where it was used as a workshop. It has sat there for the last 55 years until Joel Garretson recently purchased it to use for his wine and mead business.
After surviving the elements over the years, including a fire, the schoolhouse is the only building left of the original town in the area.
Laura Holtkamp, whose father Clarence used to own the schoolhouse, said she's happy that Garretson will put it to use.
"I'm glad that Joel's going to use it," she said. "I was just going to sell it. A lot of people had no clue that it was at the farm. I'm pleased as punch."
Holtkamp also said that she's happy it's staying nearby. One of her main concerns was that it would get demolished or moved away.
For Garretson, it's a chance to have a piece of history and something he is interested in.
"When I found out they were maybe looking to sell it, I jumped on that," he said. "I'm very interested in old Pilot Grove because at one time our address was Pilot Grove. The town was only about a mile south of here. You could see the two from here. It was a town of about 300."
The schoolhouse gives Garretson additional space for his mead business, and it also goes along with his history set.
"We need extra space here for storage and equipment that we're not using," he said. "I also have a country schoolhouse collection of different artifacts, and I thought this would be a good spot to use it both ways as a museum and a wine equipment storage room."