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Abandoned Schoolhouse

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By FabulaPhoto   |   
© 2017 - 2020 FabulaPhoto
Baumhoer School, Saint Elizabeth Missouri US

Some background from the Miller County Historical Society's 'One Room Schoolhouse Project' site: www.millercountymuseum.org/sch…

By Peggy Smith Hake

Today the Red School, also known as Baumhoer school, is sitting alone and empty in Osage township about 3 miles southeast of St. Elizabeth. The building is in better condition than some of the other country schools I have visited and it seems to be silently beckoning a friendly invitation to come inside and visit its old school room where the laughter of children once ruled supreme.

About 145 years ago, in February 1858, a man named Joseph McEvoy patented 160 acres of land where Red/Baumhoer school is located in northeast Miller County. I don't believe Mr. McEvoy ever lived in our county but remained in the eastern United States. For many years the land laid unused and forgotten, but finally, in 1873, back taxes had accumulated unpaid on this piece of land so in October 1873, Killis J. Martin, M.C. sheriff, seized it and sold it to a man named Rudolphus Goodrich. Later in 1873, Rudolphus and his wife, Esther, sold the land to a group of people living in Laclede Co., MO. There was other land transferred in the transaction of 1,260 acres to the Laclede County people. They paid $1500 for the large acreage (a good deal in those days). The group from Laclede County included Isaac & Jane Hoskinson, J. H. & Jennie McDonald, Hugh & Desdomonia McCoin, and Erwin & Aristeen Ellis. They kept the land for only one month and then sold it to The Southwest Iron Company for a whopping profit...$50,000 was the selling price!

The Southwest Iron Company did not fare too well over the next few years and must have had many financial problems. On March 3, 1885, those lands were sold to Hamilton and Annie Daughaday of St. Louis. Once again this piece of land was bought for $1500 through a sheriff's sale held on the steps of the old St. Louis courthouse. Twelve years later, in 1897, the Daughadays sold 400 acres to the Osage Tie Company of Miller County. They held on to their successful investment for many years and during this time era, George L. Ramsey, president of the Osage Tie Company, granted 1 ½ acres lying on his property in Section 3, Twp. 40, Range 12, to the Miller County School District. When the deed was made and granted in April, 1898, there was a sentence in the description which makes me wonder if the old Red/Baumhoer school may have once been called "Polly Hill Branch School".

The names of some of the families who have lived in the area surrounding the old Red/Baumhoer school over the past 150 years have included Boyd, Hampton, Goschurger, McLean, Grosvenor, Davis, Casey, Boeckman, Macklin, West, Crismon, Baumhoer, Ramsey, Brown, Lawson, Lueckenhoff, Kemna, Hasenbien, Bax, Singer, Holtmeyer, and others......The land where the old school sits is now owned by the Doerhoff family.

I do not know the last year school was held in the Red/Baumhoer schoolhouse. By 1957, the St. Elizabeth school system had consolidated all the country schools in their district and the doors of these old one-room country school were closed forever. I have a list of country schools in existence during the school year 1930-31 with the names of the teachers and district clerks. The teacher at Red/Baumhoer (School #37) in 1930 was Gladys Belman of St. Elizabeth and the district clerk was Henry W. Steinman of Meta (mail route).

Image size
4860x3240px 8.81 MB
Canon EOS Rebel T6
Shutter Speed
1/30 second
Focal Length
21 mm
ISO Speed
Date Taken
Apr 27, 2017, 6:23:15 PM
Sensor Size
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electricjonny's avatar
electricjonnyHobbyist Photographer
:star::star::star::star-half::star-empty: Overall
:star::star::star::star::star-half: Vision
:star::star::star::star-empty::star-empty: Originality
:star::star::star::star::star-empty: Technique
:star::star::star::star::star-empty: Impact

I like this one a lot, mostly the framing. There's always something great about abandoned places in that you can capture beauty in things most people would consider "ugly", but most abandoned shots are very beautiful, in at least some respects.

I love the framing here since it's fairly centered and square, but there's enough non-symmetry that it makes me keep looking at it. That tree on the left, for instance, makes it different enough to not make it a boring old square and centered and boring shot. Then the shed its self it leaning slightly and stands out in a good way. The extra bit of headroom at the top of the image also makes you pay attention to the image longer. The exposure and tone is also very good, but, it looks as though you sort of forgot about editing or working on the background trees and sky. They're blown out and just looks like an amateur exposure. Maybe multiple exposures would have helped that; sort of do an HDR but not make it look like the classic HDR shot.

I really love shacks like this, and the framing here is great. I really like how it's leaning a bit from the tree and how the image isn't as symmetrical as you first think it is.
FabulaPhoto's avatar
FabulaPhotoHobbyist Photographer
Thanks for the critique,  this is an HDR composite of 3 bracketed images with high contrast black and white adjustments.  It's possible I'll revisit it at some point in the near future, the leaves are actually backlit by the sun slightly which has made them very light.
BillyNikoll's avatar
BillyNikollHobbyist Photographer
Wonderful. Clap
FabulaPhoto's avatar
FabulaPhotoHobbyist Photographer