Gitchel School, Past to Present
Gitchel School, District No. 2
Jamestown Township, Ottawa County, Michigan


The school sits on the corner of 24th Avenue and 100th Street. Today is is a residence.

Yesterday’s children played Fox and Geese, Crack the Whip, marbles. Little boys caught tadpoles in the creek that winds through the rear of the school property. Little girls played jacks. At recess they hunted for arrowheads and played with nearby Indian children. A bell rings to commence the school day.

Lunch buckets clatter against wooden shelves and in the winter, ice-glazed mittens thaw beside the wood stove. Chalk squeaks across the blackboard, and a child chips away the ice from the edges of the drinking dipper and scoops deeply into the galvanized bucket for a drink.

A lone student writes ‘lines’ from some offence. The room is dim. There is no electricity and it’s the first school term in Gitchel School in the year 1873.

Historical records show that "the district agrees to open the schoolhouse for all moral and elevating meetings". There were church meetings, community gatherings, socials, political events, and family reunions that happened here. The children’s parents were neighbors and friends.

The Gitchel School held its first class in 1874 and continued until 1957. In June of 1957 the school was consolidated into Forest Grove Elementary. In August of 1958 the school passed into the hands of Jack Brower via an auction. Kent Dickinson was the next owner and spent many years of weekends remodeling it into a comfortable home. In 1984 Deb and Greg Smith bought it and continued the work.

Transcriber: Evelyn Sawyer
Created: 5 July 2003