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The Bell Rang

They were tiny, crowded, sweltering in summer, frigid in winter. And they promoted knowledge and nurtured civilization across America for a hundred years. And though most one room school houses are gone, they are far from forgotten. Class is not in session at southern Wells County’s Five Points School but there is learning taking place, valuable lessons taught in the importance of story. Five Points was the first brick schoolhouse in Wells County, built in 1876 and for fifty years the place where Chester Township kids learned about the world. Classes ended in 1923 followed by seven decades as a hog and goat pen then years of abandonment. When Jack Pace got the idea to restore the building 15 years ago there wasn’t a lot left. But the crew of volunteers he assembled replaced the roof, the floors, the ceilings and foundation and today Five Points looks as it did 140 years ago…honest Abe and George Washington overseeing it all.

“It takes some people that does care,” says Jack Pace, “and sees the sense of trying to save history you know. history repeats itself why not!

Five Points was no ordinary schoolhouse. It has a second floor and as the children learned downstairs upstairs Grange Hall Number 522 met. The Grange was a national association of farmers that organized for better crop prices and when the local Grange wasn’t meeting here Wells County’s Horse Thief Detective Agency was. Most Hoosier townships had a detective agency, vigilante groups that hunted down horse thieves. Another chapter of the Five Points story Jack Pace thought should be saved. “It’s one way I could preserve part of that past,” he says. “Old things to me is what’s all about we wouldn’t be here and we wouldn’t be what we are today if wasn’t for the old.”This now restored corner of Wells County hosts wedding receptions, class reunions, community picnics and family get together’s. This lovely spot, built in the 19th Century to help build a nation, is again serving its community, now the grand- and great- grandchildren of the kids who went to school here in another era…today appreciated for what it was and what it will continue to be for another 140 years.

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