Historic Rockford school on holiday tour

Wilson School, 3992 Kroes NE, (corner of Kroes and Brewer in Rockford) a one-story, one-room, front gable yellow brick building, is on a holiday open house tour. Eight homes and the Plainfield Senior Center will be part of the two-day event on Friday, November 4 from noon until 7 p.m. and Saturday, November 5 from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Admission is $5 for both days, including lunch at the senior center, with proceeds to benefit Northview Senior programs. This year the senior center hopes to purchase a van or bus for senior outings. Also on the tour are seven private homes which have been professionally decorated for the holiday season.

Wilson School has a shed roof and a full-façade front entry porch. It was updated in the 1930s as part of a WPA project, which makes it unique for its history and as an example of the 1930s WPA construction. A furnace and restrooms were added to the building.

It was originally constructed in 1899 by A. McComb of Grattan. The school’s floor plan followed the basic guidelines. Classes began in the structure on January 15, 1900. Wislon School served 25 to 30 students in grades Kindergarten through eighth grades from the rural community of Childsdale in Plainfield Township. In 1962 it was closed and students were sent to consolidated schools in the Rockford District. The Wilson School building currently contains antique school desks, a teacher desk and chair, a green chalkboard with cork border across the top and many other antiques of the area.

On October 17, 1996 Wilson School was designated Michigan Historica Site No. L2001 and was listed on the state register. The school is privately owned by Leona Kroes Benson, who generously, with the help of her husband Leroy Benson, open the building for special community events. Visitors to the open house will also be able to see a Reed organ, a classic typewriter, a spinning wheel, an uupright floor model Victrola and many more interesting historic pieces.

Directions and addresses are to the other locations if residents want to visit them in order of one through eight.

4655 Catamount Trail, Ada, decorated by Kennedy’s Flowers and Gifts: .09 miles east of E. Beltline and Knapp, south/east on Knapp Court, go to the end of the street and through the gate, it is the first house on the left.

3779 Four Mile Road, NE, Grand Rapids, decorated by Sage and Roses: Return to the East Beltline, turn right (north), go two miles, turn right on Four Mile Road, go .6 miles, turn left on Lily Lane to 3779.

4267 Four Mile Road NE, Grand Rapids, decorated by Sue Oom: Return to Four Mile Road, turn left, go .6 miles, turn left on Rolling Oak Private Drive, go .5 mile north to 4267.

3771 Hordyk NE, Grand Rapids, decorated by Katie Sosnowksi: Return to Four Mile Road and turn right on East Beltline, go right on Five Mile Road for .8 miles, then turn left on Frost (turns into Hordyk), go .3 miles to house.

5255 Grand River Drive, Grand Rapids, Saturday only, lunch, restrooms, crafts, Maggie’s Attic, cookie dash: Continue west on Hordyk (turns into Webber) right on the East Beltline, .1 mile then left on Grand River Drive to the Plainfield Senior Center.

4900 Winston Hill NE, Grand Rapids, decorated by Karen’s Candy & Gifts: Left onto Grand River Drive, right on Breckenridge, left on Plainfield, go .2 miles and turn left onto Churchill Estates, onto Winston Hill Drive, Private.

5946 Linkside Lane, Belmont, decorated by Rockford Flower Shop: Right onto Plainfield where it merges and becomes Northland Drive, stay left, right on Canonsburg Road .5 miles, left on Brewer, right on Tom Morris Drive, left on Linkside Lane.

4122 Boulder Meadow NE, Belmont, decorated by Jay’s Fresh Flower Market: Right on Brewer, right on Seven Mile, go .2 miles, left on Boulder Meadow.

A printable map is available at tistheseasongr.com.

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The Squire has been Rockford’s free weekly newspaper since 1871. Our loyal readership includes over fifteen thousand homes in the Rockford area, including the affluent Lakes area of Lake Bella Vista, Bostwick Lake and Silver Lake; Belmont, Blythefield, as well as Algoma, Courtland, Cannon and Plainfield Townships. The Squire is distributed through the U.S. Post Office every Thursday. We also deliver to in-town businesses and homes with paper carriers and news stands in our grocery stores and over thirty local shops.