Efforts to restore what is considered the oldest schoolhouse in the state still in its original location will begin in earnest, after a deal is closed on Wednesday handing over ownership of the little white wooden building — complete with its nearby twin outhouses — to the Denmark Township Historical Society.
Valley School, nestled on a hillside above the confluence of the St. Croix and Mississippi rivers, dates from 1852, six years before Minnesota became a state.
Society members reached an agreement last May 1 to buy the building and surrounding one acre of land for $80,000. Bake sales, raffles and other fundraising efforts over the past year raised money to complete the deal, said society member Mavis Voigt.
The group is in the process of nominating the school to the National Register of Historic Places, which could help leverage restoration grants. Valley School also is being considered for the “Sites Worth Saving” program of Preservation Alliance of Minnesota.