In 1850, Eagle Creek residents decided to try something new. They banded together to support a public school (not successfully attempted before in Oregon) for the community. Location was set on the property of the Bradley home (young Elsie Jane Bradley would eventually marry her schoolmate Egbert Foster), and decisions were made about support for the teacher (often a “graduate” of the school) and payment for books and materials. At first the school was named for Philip Foster, but eventually the district was renamed Eagle Creek, before being absorbed into the Estacada School District.
Encouraged by volunteer schoolmarm Mary Cooper, construction began on the schoolhouse’s reproduction in 2022, and was completed in the spring of 2023 by Foster descendant Tom Burnett, with the help of historic architect Todd Iselin, and a hardy band of volunteer construction workers. Lumber was custom milled to match the specifications from historic documents, including a bill of sale from the sawmill and pictures of the original building.
On days when construction was not feasible due to weather, Tom was busy making period-appropriate desks for the classroom, so our young visitors can experience “pioneer school” during our Pioneer Life Tours. Unfortunately, a working woodstove in the middle of the room is not deemed safe in 2023, so the stove is there in the middle of the room, but is not functional.
Grand opening for the schoolhouse will be hosted on May 13, 2023, from 11-4:00.