Warren Woods Schools

Schools were non existent for most of the history of our area. People could not read or write. Children had to work to survive. They learned survival skills from their parents.

After 1835 some home schools were formed and children taught in local cabins. Some families allowed visiting teachers to sleep in and gave them food in exchange for work and “schooling” their children.

The pioneers were first too busy with just surviving. But as farms developed and farm families were able to support their families they felt the need for basic education. Most residents at that time were not able to read or write. Sometimes they would have others come to their homes to teach their children. Some of the local churches may have been involved with some basic education.

The first known school was s split log school house the farmers built at the corner of Creek Road (Chicago Road) and Ryan roads. This school house was also used for a church for both the Methodist and Baptist groups. This log building also had split log benches. Rather uncomfortable to say the least. Later a newer better building was built to the south on Ryan Road and is still standing. There was also an East School built before 1875 on Chicago Road between Van Dyke and Mound. The South School? The township records were lost and there is no one alive now that knows the details. Perhaps it was the Plunkett School, a one room school located at State Road and 10 mile Road. Several local churches ran schools.

Warren's Bunert Schools

In 1849 Gottlieb and Susan Bunert bought the 80-acre farm now known as the Bunert-Weier Farm. They built a log cabin. The brick house was built in 1876, the barn in 1883 and the carriage garage in 1892. They farmed the land, raised livestock and had their own sawmill. This was Warren’s last working farm. On the land behind the farm was a long flat hill that long ago may have been an Indian burial site but it was also a pioneer burial site. Many pioneers buried their family members there. Just across the road and to the south of the woods. Were a farm fields at the corner of Bunert and a path which later became Martin.

Around 1860 farm families were thinking about how to get their children knowledge of reading writing and arithmetic. The families were busy working often day and evening and did not always have the time or knowledge to give the children a good education. In 1865 land was bought from Jeremiah O'Leary on Bunert northwest of Frazho Road. And a one room school was built there. This was located one mile south of Martin. Some time before 1895 that school may have burned down because although it shows up on the maps in 1875 it does not in 1895. Whatever happened the farmers around Bunert and Martin wanted a school closer by and August Bunert sold a half acre of land at the northeast corner of Bunert and Martin for that purpose. The Bunert School was built there in 1875.

Grades 1-8 were taught there. By the middle 1920s the school had became over crowded. Teachers like a small class size because they can teach better. Particularly in a one room school the full burden or everything is on that one teacher. Kids being what they are and boys being boys moms have difficulty sometimes with just two or three but try being not related and having to deal with over 30 by yourself with some of them bigger than you. And being isolated out in the woods with no phone.

In 1927 a new wood frame school was built which had two classrooms. Upon its completion Classes K-4 were held in the original school and classes 5-6 and 7-8 were held in the new building. Both schools earned the classification of “Standard” which meant that they were up to state educational standards. According to Patricia Hallman who did most of this research, by 1937 the Bunert schools had 65 students. If they passed the 8th grade test they could attend high school grades 9-12 at Busch in Center Line, or in East Detroit or Roseville.

Classes were held in it until 1944. The two older schools were then sold to John O’Connor who made them into residences. In 1970 it was sold to the Santa Maria Lodge. In 1987 the lodge people offered it to The Warren Historical Society. See the saving of the Bunert School below.

In 1944 a new 6 room school was built and named Charwood after Betty Chargo and Irene Woodward.

South Macomb Community College was founded in 1953. It started with 22 teachers in rented rooms at Lincoln High School. However it became a Bunert school also as it take up a large part on the east side of Bunert.

Later Tower High School was built on the East side of Bunert on the south side of Martin.

In the one room schools one Teacher had to do everything. During the winter months they would get to the school early to get a fire started in the potbelly stove, so the building would be warm for the students. On many occasions they would prepare a hot, noon meal on top of the stove, usually consisting of soup or stew of some kind. They took care of their students like a new mother hen would care for her newly hatched chicks; looking out for their health and welfare."

The school year usually ran from the first of September through May. Time 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with morning and afternoon recesses of 15 minutes each and an hour period for lunch.

Student chores The older students were given the responsibility of bringing in water, carrying in coal or wood for the stove. The younger students would be given responsibilities according to their size and gender such as cleaning the black board, taking the erasers outside for dusting plus other duties that they were capable of doing.

The school house was the center and focus for thousands of rural communities, hamlets and small towns. Often, town meetings and picnics were also held there.

The youngest children sat in the front, while the oldest students sat in the back. The teacher usually taught reading, writing, arithmetic, history, and geography.

grades one through six or seven Students were either promoted or retained at the end of the school year. Sometimes you might have a student in the second grade who was three or four years older than the other students. . The older students usually helped the younger students with their lessons. Number of students ranged from about twenty to fifty. Because the schools were very small, they were usually overcrowded. The students were divided into rows according to grade level.

Methods the teacher would call each grade level to the front of the room where they would sit on a long bench and receive and recite their lessons.

Almost everyone walked to the one-room school. Sometimes the students would ride their horse to school if there was a snow on the ground. Students didn't miss for bad weather. Attendance was better for the girls than for the boys because the boys had to work on the farm most of the time.

Subjects reading, writing, arithmetic history US Government Constitution Bill of Rights, geography. And Spelling.

When class began, the teacher usually began with the first grade while she gave the other students their assignments. The teacher would teach one subject at a time to each grade level, then move on to the next grade level with the same subject. Students usually had plenty of time to do their work while the teacher was going over the lesson with the other grades. After the teacher got through with one subject, she went on to the next and repeated the process again. Students got a lot of reinforcement by listening to the teacher teach the other grade levels. The teachers usually had very little equipment with which to work. Any extra materials had to be purchased by the teacher. The students usually did assignments with pencil and paper and worked problems on the blackboard in the front of the room.

In 1987 the Santa Maria Lodge decided that they wanted to be rid of the one room school building which had been converted into living quarters for the O'Connor family. They wanted to pay less taxes and also create a bigger parking lot. The Warren Historical accepted but begged for some time to make arrangements to move the building.

A site had to be found. Land was expensive. After much deliberation permission from the school district to have it placed next to Tower High School. This was just the beginning of troubles. A foundation had to be dug and poured. So contractors had to be found to do this. Then there was the moving of the school. The moving of a building is a time consuming and delicate task. Of course all of this required lots of money which meant much fund raising.

Finally the day had arrived when the old building had been raised up and placed on supporting beams. It was raised more and placed on wheels. Slowly a big truck pulled the building out of its resting place of over 100 years. People stood on the roof to push wires up so the building could pass underneath without catching on them. Gradually the building was carried to its new location and let down on to its new foundation.

The building had to be secured. Soon restoration work began. It wasn't long after that that a terrible discovery was made. Much of the floor had been eaten away by powder beetles and they were infecting the rest of the building. After more fund raising the entire building was but in a big bag and poison gas pumped in to kill the pests. Repairs were made and a new floor put down. The building was restored and painted. Now it is heated in the winter and cooled when needed in the summer. Shutters and an alarm system keep out intruders. The restored school is used for some classes, tours and meetings. We are proud of our restored one room school. But this historian is prouder yet of the folks who made this possible and is compiling a list to be added to this history. Perhaps chief of those to be thanked is Patricia Hallman and members of the Bunert-Weier Families.

This page is being worked on more will follow shortly,