Northern Michigan in Focus: One-Room Schoolhouse Move

To preserve history, sometimes you have to take on daunting tasks, like moving an entire building.

In this week’s Northern Michigan in Focus, we go along for one big move.

“This morning was just like Christmas morning, you couldn’t wait for it to start,” said Robert DeVol, Northern Michigan Antique Flywheelers.

Christmas, maybe not, but it was an exciting day for the Northern Michigan Antique Flywheelers Club.

“Today we took possession of a schoolhouse, single room, built in the early 1900s. It was formerly known as the Huddleston School. It was about eight miles west of Pellston,” explained Robert.

Even more than the school, they’re moving it in remembrance of a past member who was a trustee of the club for years.

“Louis Fochtman passed away about a year ago at this time. His family thought that this would be a great way to memorialize Louis because of his past history of working in the school system all his life,” said Robert.

The one-room schoolhouse had about a 40 mile trip to go.

They couldn’t go through Petoskey because of traffic, but that was alright; Louis loved the back roads.

“Oh yeah, we took a dirt road on our way over here, and taking mom down there I said, ‘This is the way dad would’ve done it,’” said Jackie Wheaton, Louis’s daughter.

Ironic maybe, but how can you not feel the emotion of this moment?

 “Well, we’re members of Flywheelers, and this was something that Louis really enjoy doing,” said Barb Fochtman, Louis’s wife. “He went to a one-room schoolhouse and this is a tribute to him, so this is in his honor.”

Now at its new home on the grounds of the Northern Michigan Antique Flywheelers Club, the school will be reassembled later and put back in use doing what it’s supposed to do.

“It’s kind of appropriate to have a one-room schoolhouse since, not only did he go to one, he also worked in the school system for so many years,” explained Jackie.

In honor of a man who would be proud to be a part of this.

“He went home to be with the Lord two days before the show last year, so he couldn’t be at the show, but he was remembered at the show and will be remembered again this year,” said Jackie. 

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