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About the Evergreen Schoolhouse

It was 1905 and the newly built brick one-room Evergreen School was bustling with activity from children in grades 1-8. Later the school systems consolidated and grades 1-4 ended the use of the building in 1957. The bell was removed and the school sold to the people across the road for $2000. It stood vacant. Their daughter inherited it and she put it up for sale, lots of lookers, no buyers. Mike Overbeck bought it in 1984. He purchased the building on 2 acres that included a flagpole, hand pump, boys outhouse and a girls outhouse for just under $20,000 – inflation.

Mike bought a wood stove and moved in. The girls cloak room was the wash room (pitcher and bowl) the boys cloak room was the kitchen (camping stove). The school had a sturdy stone foundation carrying the load of 3 rows of brick with an air space – that was the insulation. To keep anything from freezing in the winter it had to be put in a Styrofoam cooler. His bed was placed next to the wood stove. The two solid wood doors opened to the outside causing difficulty opening the doors after a heavy snow.

Mike and I got married in the school on Valentines night in 1986. Rented tables and chairs covered the warped flooring, white sheets tacked over the windows held back the snowy night, heaters were brought in, grill filled with charcoal, candles everywhere and Christmas lights leading the way to the mink covered seat in the boys outhouse. What a night to remember!

We decided this is where we wanted to live, just outside the city limits. I sold my home and had a house addition added on to the school. Mike’s school, my house. Because I was accustomed to running water and flush toilets I wanted that in “my house”.  This is where the rock came from and why we have rock walls, rock lined flower beds, rock paths and a rock pile. It was going to cost money to have it hauled away. Mike placed all the rock and I started planting.

We made the school a warm and inviting place. We added on a porch, we added on a back room and we added a courtyard.

Mike was diagnosed with a very aggressive cancer and passed away in 2001. How was I going to make a living? I decided to keep my part time job. My dad made worktables for the basement and I started holding workshops on stepping stones, stained glass windows and mosaics. I sold stepping stones, did gardening for others, garden design and commissioned windows while finishing landscaping for garden tours here. I found making mosaics for the garden as great therapy.

There is so much I would like to add to the garden if I only had more time. My garden is NOT about the plants. It is a very relaxing place to stroll through. It is a happy place, a schoolyard and a palette. It is my heart and soul and a lot of Mike. It is my imagination.