Recess at Hickory Ridge School

Hinkletown, Iowa

This photograph of Hickory Ridge students and their teacher, Mary Walsh, was taken at the school playground approximately 1946, one of the final years that the school was open.

Memories of Former Students

"We used to throw bean bags over the school roof. We tried to throw them in the bell tower, and often succeeded. We thought that was the best fun" - Murray Hall

"For science class the teacher used to take us for walks in the woods north of the school. There were wildflowers of every sort. I remember the large patches of bluebells. There was a spring back there with a pipe where they used to water the horses. It had goldfish in it." - Earle Hall

"The main game at recess was "Ante, Ante Over the School." We'd choose up sides and line up on each side of the schoolhouse. Then we threw a ball back an forth over the roof, sometimes we used bean bags. We also played "Fox and Goose", and during the winter we made snow ice cream often."- Marjorie Hall Goodman

"I stayed on as the teacher's helper for a time. The Hinkletown school had quite a superb library. The north wall of the large anteroom on the west side of the school was bookshelves floor to ceiling, and as you opened the door there was another library. The large room on the west was also the cloak room, and we each brought our own towel and our own cups and they were labeled. There was a big ceramic water cooler that the older students kept filled from the hand pump at the well just east of the school. I remeber that water cooler had a blue flag or leaf on it. A bar of soap was assigned to each student. And they were given a gold star for washing their hands and brushing their teeth. We earned Red Cross pins for bringing pennies to school. During milkweed season we would go out to collect the pods, which we turned in to the county superintendent. The silky seeds were used to manufacture life jackets. This earned money to help operate the school. Hinkletown would always be one of the top qualifiers in the area due to the number of milkweed pods we turned in." - Marjorie Hall Goodman

"During World War II the government made available to Hinkletown school some Surplus Agricultural Commodities to supplement our diets. Trela Humphrey was our teacher. The first thing we got was a powdered soup mix. It was mixed with water and heated in a pan on top of that heating stove we had. It tasted strongly of soybeans and no one liked it. She said she took the rest home and gave it to the hogs, but they would not eat it either!! And we got pinto beans with pork. That was also heated atop the stove. It was tolerable, but the pork was one big piece of fat about half the size of a matchbox. We also got canned unsweetened grapefruit juice. I remember that tasting awfully bitter. Then lastly there were the fresh grapefruits. These we peeled and ate "like an orange." - Dennis Thurman

The Hickory Ridge School at Hinkletown opened around the 1860s and closed in 1948, when students began attending at North English. The sign below the belfry reads: Hickory Ridge Independent School District. Some of the teachers through the years were Kate Tiernan (1880s), Mary Rock (1890s), Jay Butler, Morton Emde, Lorene Bigley, Mamie Spratt, Trela Humphrey, Mary Walsh. In the early years the school served a broad area including Greene Valley to the east in Iowa County and the northern half of Liberty Towship in Keokuk County. This is part of what helped maintain Hinkletown's image as a "two-county" town. Some of the last children to attend Hickory Ridge School were the children of George Mohr; Herbert, Loyal, Donald and Joanne; John Beard, Beatrice Popham, Don Morrison, Blanche and Maxine O'Rourke, the children of Willard and Violet Thurman, Lorraine, Dennis and James; Dorothy Ballard and others. Information from the late Carl Hogendorn - Publisher of North English Record.