Prairie Ridge School

We found and scanned the below article from a 1955-56 local newspaper.  It shows the 4-H boys examining the old school bell that was once in Prairie Ridge School bell tower.

With the help of some local men that were in the 4-H group we were able to identify some of the boys. From the left:  Marvin Trachta-short boy, Ray Pisarik above Marvin’s head, Richard Buresh or Bob Zahradnik in print shirt far left, Gerald Zahradnik-head above boy by bell,  Kenneth Bonnty in front touching the bell, George Hasley next to his brother Andy Hasley, Lynn Glass (possibly), Unknowns, two heads partially hidden, Truman Wilken (or possibly George Chadima) with back to camera.
Click the article to enlarge it.

Recently, someone posted a small version of the below 1910 photo on Facebook showing the old Prairie Ridge School that used to sit north of Wright Brothers Blvd. on Spanish Road.  Click on all photos to enlarge them.

From the Vavra Family Collection, Ely Community History Center Archives
A comment below the photo read ....
My grandparents owned the land it was on and once the school was no longer used it was moved to my parents (Edwin and Martha Buresh) farm just 1/4 mile farther north and was used as our garage and my father's shop for many, many years! We still have the building.  Unfortunately the building is not in good shape any longer.   My father, and aunts, and an uncle attended school there, and my brother built his first home on the original site.

Here is a closer look at the children in the above photo:

From the Vavra Family Collection, Ely Community History Center Archives
And another photo:

From the Vavra Family Collection, Ely Community History Center Archives

This is a photo of one of the Prairie Ridge teachers, Edna Smith, also from the Vavra Family Collection.

The below map of section 24, College Township, Linn County, Iowa shows the original location of Prairie Ridge School (left center) on V. Buresh property. Wright Brothers Blvd would be at the bottom of the image now, and the left side of the image would be Spanish Road.  (Image from: The Kenyon Company, 1930, Plat Book of Linn County, Iowa).  Click the image to enlarge it.

This is what the school house looked like a few years ago, from Glenn Chatfield's blog, Iowa One Room Schools.

Also check out more photos taken in 2016 of the old school from 42N Observations,


Christmas in 1896

Merry Christmas 
from the Ely Community History Society!
Here's what was happening in Ely in 1896!


Town of Swisher History

Although the Ely Community History Society focuses mostly on Ely, Western and Shueyville, we also sometimes collect information on other surrounding towns.

Recently I ran across a history of Swisher posted off the City of Swisher web site.  The booklet was put together for the Swisher Centennial in 2003.  Here is a link to the approximately 50-page .pdf for those of you that are interested.
     Swisher history