Zachel's school house restoration

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN 

As something grows old and useless, the typical response is to tear it down or throw it away.

When something falls into disrepair, the cost of restoration often leads to the same response as above. Let it continue to fall apart until it needs to be torn down or bordered up. There’s more than one example of that approach on display now in Morenci.

On the other hand, an example of the very opposite approach is visible when heading north out of town. It’s John and Peggy Zachel’s old school house.

A building that hasn’t been in use for 50 years can’t be expected to show much promise, and the school house on their property didn’t look like much for the past few decades. But as their son, Bob, pointed out Sunday at the unveiling of a state historical marker, John kept a good roof on the building over the years and the structural integrity  remained intact.

The Zachels’ decision to restore the old school building goes against the usual response. They sought no grants. They didn’t push to have the school adopted by a historical group. They simply made the choice to save it and make it look “new” again. With the tireless efforts of Jack Sampson and others, the old building has been turned into a shining example of what can happen when someone cares about preserving the past and plunges into a restoration project.

The old building offers a glimpse of what life was like in a one-room school house—a form of education that ended here in the mid-1950s. Now it’s been preserved for future generations, thanks to the generosity of the Zachel family.

  - June 28, 2006
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