October 24, 2014

Historical school, chapel on display during summer open house

By Tim Barnum|Staff writer
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CLAYTON TOWNSHIP — Just because school’s out during the summer doesn’t mean there’s nothing to learn. On June 20, The Berry School and Bowen Chapel, both located on the corner of Maple Ridge and Dobler roads in Clayton Township, will be open to visitors during a free open house/picnic.

“I’m hoping they (open house visitors) can see how the school is restored, how it was back in the 1950’s and in those times,” said Sandra Bowen, who along with her husband Roger, own of the chapel and school and were instrumental in restoring the structures. “They can go in and look at the chapel, the way we put it back together.”

Last year, Roger and Sandra paid to have the 120-plus year old Maple Ridge Presbyterian Church, which was slated for demolition, moved out to the corner and share a lot with the Berry School, a historical school once attended by Arenac County students.

“Maybe for a lot of people, it’ll bring back a lot of memories,” Sandra said, adding those who attended either the school or the church, which is now used as a wedding chapel, may want to stop by and reminisce inside the structures.

But outside, rain or shine, Sandra says there will be some action as well.

“If you come, you’re supposed to bring a dish to pass and something to drink. … It (open house) is sort of like a picnic,” she said. “We’ll furnish the tent, we’ll furnish the ice and meat.”

While attending the event, visitors may want to also comment to Sandra and Roger on what else they would like to see on the corner, as Sandra says some ideas are being thrown around.

“Roger wants to build a saloon,” she said. “I would like to have an old fashioned cottage put over there.

“That’s in the future.”

Sandra added that last year during an open house, approximately 125 people stopped by to admire the historic buildings. This year, she’s expecting 150 people.

“People don’t need to bring any money,” Sandra said. “If they don’t want to eat or anything like that, they can just come and look at the chapel and the school house.”

She added that the event will begin at 11 a.m. and lunch will get started at noon. There is no set end time for the open house. For more information, call 989-654-3249.

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