The historic Limedale School building burned earlier this week, removing a two-classroom building that has held school memories for over 100 years.
The school has been known throughout the years as Limedale School, Red Cut School, and early in its history, Brooks School.
James Smith of Cushman, wrote about Limedale School in a 1997 compilation from the Independence County Historical Society.
The consensus is that the school was established in 1916. The majority of the students lived at Limedale, located off Red Cut Road. There were two classrooms at the school and two teachers. Limedale School had an outdoor basketball court. It is said the girls always had a good team, and the boys were good at times, but not consistently. For many years, Henry Pierce coached both teams. It was known that he liked coaching girls teams better than boys. Limedale was good at the game and won many county tournaments and some district tourneys.
Limedale School only had 10 grades, so many students finished at Cushman. Many of them made names for themselves in the classroom and on the basketball court.
Another teacher at the school was R. M. Aunspaugh. He lived at Pleasant Plains and rode the school bus within two miles of the school, and then walked the rest of the way. Aunspaugh was known as a strong disciplinarian, not so as a teacher. He used the switch often, something that would never happen today. During Aunspaugh’s time as a teacher, Smith said Aunspaugh smoked and never missed the opportunity to do so.
Another thing about a rural school is lunchtime. The children carried their lunch from home, most in a paper bag. Some examples of food brought for lunch: fried potatoes, mustard sandwiches (often the bread was one of momma’s biscuits), butter and sugar sandwiches, and sandwiches made with home-cured ham and a biscuit. Smith said there was always a lot of “food trading” at lunchtime.
The teachers after Aunspaugh were the Comers…Don and his wife. The author described the couple as “excellent teachers,” friendly, but kept strict order. They expected each child to learn. Smith said he never heard Don Comer belittle a student. In small, rural schools it was very common for older students to help the younger ones with their work. That was the case at Limedale School.
Smith said on the last day of school each year, the school served ice cream to the students. He noted that the ice cream was brought in canvas-like containers with dry ice to keep the ice cream cold.
Smith also noted that Hugh Moore became district supervisor before the consolidation with Cushman.
Smith also wrote about accepting the job as “school janitor” when he was in the seventh and eighth grades. He said he would come early and start a fire during cold weather. While the house was warming, he would sweep and clean. He told of being paid $5 a month for his janitorial services. He said he received a warrant which he took to the county treasurer where he received a $5 check.
Students that finished the tenth and final grade at Limedale could go to another area school that had 12 grades. Smith wrote that some went to Batesville, some to Desha or Cave City, but most went to Cushman.
Smith noted that some Limedale boys were in school at Cushman when they left for military service during World War II.
School reorganization came in Arkansas in 1948. All schools with less than 350 students were required to merge with another district, or consolidate with another district that had more than 350 students. Limedale consolidated with Cushman.
Image via Bethesda Fire Department
Get up-to-date local and regional news along with the latest sports and weather every weekday morning by listening to Gary B. on Ozark Newsline, broadcast from the First Community Bank Newsroom on Arkansas 103.3. White River Now updates are also aired weekday mornings on 93 KZLE, Outlaw 106.5, and Your FM 99.5. Have a news tip or event to promote? Email White River Now at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to like and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Add don’t forget to download the White River Now mobile app from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.
Remember: Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Practice social distancing.