Totem Pole Tales-Moving the Whaley School
Submitted by Nute Chapman
From Onaway Outlook July 20, 2012

Caption: The Whaley School
width="600" Caption: Whaley School students- Back row from left, Bob or Elzy Hilliker, Roy Skinner, Milo Skinner, ?, Warren Skinner, ?, and Clarence ?. Middle row from left, Anne Wesley, ?, Thelma (Smith) Sherman, ?, Mabel Crooks, Ida Hilliker, ? Webster and Grace (Whaley) Hyde. Front row from left, Eva (Hilliker) Hoffmeyer, Bertha Crooks, Phoebe Whaley, C.J. Wesley, ?, and ? Webster.
width="600" Caption: The Hackett Lake school 1959. (Teacher Janice McAtee and Norma Price, the youngest student, not pictured). Back row from left, Bill Tillatson, Leslie Tennant, Diane Price, Patty Tennant, Norm Price, Dar Wendt (oldest student), Larry Rundle and Mick Tillatson. Front row left to right, Wanda Price, Peggy Price, Cheryl Wendt, Steve Tennant, Art Tennant, Larry Tennant and Oscar Hilliker.
width="600" Caption: Picture of students from the Hackett Lake School, who took their lunch down to where Delbert (Del) Tennant was making maple syrup. Back row from left, Lyle Lamberson, who was working on the Little Rainey Road, got his picture taken with students, Bob Garms, Gail Curtis, Joe Tennant, teacher Shirley Peterson, Gertrude Curtis, Del Tennant, Wayne Price, Glenna Curtis and Bill Minier. Front row from left, Ester Hilliker, Cecil Hilliker, ?, Margaret Thomas, Leo Price and Floyd Minier.
width="600" Caption: Hackett Lake School students. Norm Price is the boxer on the right, wearing a white sweater.
width="600" Ride along with us as we move the Whaley School from the Bill Price Farm on Hackett Lake Highway, near Minier Road, to Ping Pong Corners.
There are stories about the move that are sometimes conflicting, so we choose to just move the school. Also keep in mind that at this time there were three schools within three miles of each other, the Shaloy or Tomahawk School at M-33 and Six Mile, the Pearson at the intersection of 3 Mile and Pickett Road, and the Whaley on Hackett Lake Highway.
For the Hackett Lake School kids who were in school about 50 years ago, this writer filled in for Santa at the school.
The late Eva (Hilliker) Hoffmeyer, a former Outlook writer, will fill us in on the move. Oh, yes, her brother Bob rode in the school as it was being moved.
By Eva (Hilliker) Hoffmeyer
When I was a child I went to the Whaley School, from kindergarten through the eighth-grade. We always had a lot of fun, playing ball in the fall and spring and sliding on the hill in the winter. There usually were quite a few students, from kindergarten through the eighth-grade. Sometimes there were 20 or more, especially in the winter when families moved into camps in our area, so the men could work in the cedar swamps.
The permanent families who had children in school were: the Websters, Smiths, Burnels, Whaleys, Crooks, Skinners, Montgomerys and the Hillikers.
The Whaley School went from September right after Labor Day until about June 20 or 21, which we were not too happy about. When spring came we wanted to be outside. Our neighbor, the Shaloy School, let out for summer vacation about the middle of May, how we envied them!
I'm not real sure of the date but I believe it was about 1927 that the parents decided to have our school moved to a new location, and not to be ruled by the Onaway School, which we always had been. Of course now I realize there must have been many reasons for them wanting to change.
After many meetings of the parents they finalized the deal and we were on the way. The schoolhouse was to be moved three miles east of where it always had been. The new location was to be the "Ping Pong Corner." Mr. Charlie Badgero was engaged to do the moving. That was a business he was in at the time. He had a team of horses and a sort of windlass (I really don't know what it was called) but a huge cable was fastened from that to the schoolhouse, and the horses went around the windlass, pulling the cable, which in turn pulled the schoolhouse, which of course was on skids. The men used big wood blocks that were heavily greased so the skids would slide quite easily.
There were two sharp corners and several hills on the way, but once they got the building on the road, the schoolhouse kept rolling along. I don't know how many days it took to get everything to the new location, but my mother (Francis Hilliker) had the job of cleaning after it was moved, what a job!
When those greasy blocks were moved each time, they were carried through the building and the grease from the men's boots soaked into the floor. It took a lot of water, which mother had to take from home, lots of soap, mops, brooms, and brushes. I imagine she probably got $10 for the whole job of cleaning.
Our school didn't start until November that year. I was in the seventh grade and Mr. Raymond Beauregard was the teacher. We had five students when it started, Joe Tennant, James Tennant, Bob Hilliker, Floyd Hilliker and yours truly Eva (Hilliker) Hoffmeyer. As I was the only girl the teacher let me wash my hands first before our lunchtime. The boys were not too happy about this. My last teacher, my eighth-grade, was Leslie Burgess, what a fine time we had. By this time we had more students, I'm not sure but I think we had about 15. We even had a well then, so we didn't have to haul water.
-Onaway Outlook, July 20, 2012, p.3. Retyped by J. Anderson.

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