aka: Ida School
The Dill School at Ida (Cleburne County), located on Highway 25 and Center Ridge Road, was built in 1937–1938 with assistance from the National Youth Administration (NYA), a Depression-era federal relief program. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 16, 1994.
The first schools in the Ida area were established in the late 1800s and included a one-room log building called the Dill School. This school served the community until it was destroyed by fire in the early twentieth century. It was replaced by a one-room, wood-frame structure that was used until 1938, when the community sought funding from the National Youth Administration, one of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal agencies, which employed young people for public-works projects.
Construction of the Dill School was supervised by Lawrence Foust, and Henry Breedlove was among the NYA workers who built it. The building was completed by November 1938 when the Heber Springs Times and the Headlight reported that “a pie supper will be held at Ida School.…The proceeds will go to buy a curtain and a heating stove for the school.”
The resulting building had two rooms and was twenty-eight feet wide by forty feet long. The wood-frame building was sheathed in fieldstone and featured a covered porch with an arched entryway. A cornerstone is inscribed “ERECTED BY / NATIONAL YOUTH / ADMINISTRATION / ARKANSAS / 1938.” The National Register nomination states: “Obviously, with labor costs already at a minimum, the clear emphasis was on minimizing materials cost and utilizing existing local construction expertise. With the abundance of local stone throughout the Ozark region and its long-standing stone masonry construction tradition, a cut stone masonry school building fulfilled the design and construction ethos of the NYA.”
Grades one through four were taught in one room and grades five through eight in the other until the Dill School closed after the 1957–58 school year when it was merged with the Concord (Cleburne County) and Wilburn (Cleburne County) schools. It was then used for storage.
For additional information:
Berry, Evalena. Time and the River: A History of Cleburne County. Little Rock: Rose Publishing Company, 1982.
“Dill School.” Cleburne County Historical Society Journal 20 (Summer 1994): 39–41.
“Pie Supper to be Held at Ida Wednesday Night.” Heber Springs Times and the Headlight, November 10, 1938, p. 1.
Story, Kenneth. “Dill School.” National Register of Historic Places registration form. On file at Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Little Rock, Arkansas. Online at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/National-Register-Listings/PDF/CE0056.nr.pdf (accessed November 22, 2019).
Mark K. Christ
Central Arkansas Library System
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