Stone Schoolhouse in Lansing named to Most Endangered Properties list by Preservation Iowa

Stone Schoolhouse in Lansing … Submitted photo.

Designation could open funding and other preservation resources

Preservation Iowa has designated nine properties for 2017 Most Endangered designations. Among those properties are the Stone Schoolhouse located in Lansing.

According to information gathered and reported by Preservation Iowa, the Stone Schoolhouse was built in 1863 and cost $5,000 to build. It operated as a school until 1973 and is reportedly the oldest schoolhouse that was in continual use west of the Mississippi. Its architectural style and building materials are emblematic of the period in which it was built and the local materials available for such a construction.

The building had a new roof added in the 1960s and there were some emergency repairs to the foundation in the same time period. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is currently under the ownership of the City of Lansing.

Preservation Iowa listed its reasoning for the schoolhouse's Most Endangered Properties designation as "the building now is basically abandoned with many openings to the elements and wildlife, although the roof does continue to protect the structure."

Local efforts continue to be made to prepare the Stone Schoolhouse for historical displays throughout the upcoming celebration of Lansing's 150th birthday this year. Main Street Lansing Executive Director Craig White says the designation made by Preservation Iowa should help boost preservation efforts for the schoolhouse.

"This designation by Preservation Iowa raises our recognition around the state of Iowa and could very well open up some avenues to further enhance our local efforts to preserve such a landmark piece of not only local history, but beyond with the schoolhouse being recognized as the oldest structure of its kind west of the Mississippi River," White explained. "The origin of this building dates back to when Abraham Lincoln was president, and we certainly want to try and do everything we can to keep from losing such a far-reaching piece of history right here in our community."

Preservation Iowa’s Most Endangered Property program was started in 1995 and was implemented to educate Iowans about the special buildings and historic sites that are slowly and gradually slipping away over time. In the past 20 years, Preservation Iowa has designated over 140 archaeological sites, churches, landscapes and a variety of other buildings.

Preservation Iowa believes the Most Endangered Properties program provides an excellent resource for media coverage and introduces owners of an endangered property to preservation advocacy and resources that can help preserve their historic property. Additionally, there have been interest groups who have been able to use the designation as a mechanism to leverage other financial resources to restore and preserve properties.

Along with the Stone Schoolhouse, other structures within the state of Iowa receiving the Most Endangered Properties designation for 2017 include the following:
• Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison, Lee County
• Wade & Donohoe Buildings, Cherokee Mental Health Institute in Cherokee, Cherokee County
• Exchange Block in Chariton, Lucas County
• Apollo School (Burlington High School) in Burlington, Des Moines County
• Mandalay Mansion in Cedar Falls, Black Hawk County
• Hampton Church of Christ in Hampton, Franklin County
• Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church in Waterloo, Black Hawk County
• Red Bridge in Monroe, Jasper County.

For more information about the Most Endangered Program, contact Preservation Iowa at

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