Fowler, Vienna societies join to share history

VIENNA — Members of the Fowler and Vienna historical societies joined this week to share local history of the two townships with third graders at Baker Elementary School in the Mathews school district.

Phil Pegg representing the Vienna Historical Society and Dave Cover representing the Fowler Historical Society shared the history of the local school system and changes over the years, including with transportation.

Third-grade teachers Lori Haynie, Kristen Terlecky and Gail Suchanek said the local townships’ histories are part of their social studies curriculum, which they cover at the end of the school year.

Students each had the chance to come to a large table set up in the gymnasium and see books, pictures and other memorabilia about Fowler and Vienna.

”I liked hearing about the one-room school houses the children went to,” said Jacob Petak, 9.

Gianna Manente, 8, said she liked hearing about the old-style school buses that were used to get the children to school.

”We have a lot of history to share, but focused this on the local school history,” Cover said.

Destiny Chipps, 9, said she liked being able to see old pictures of the schools and students who went there.

Baker Principal Michael King said the school appreciates what the two historical societies do to help educate the students.

”When we were planning this we knew there were many students who were not aware of the rich local history in these two communities, This gives them an opportunity to learn some of that history with what they see and hear today,” he said.

Vienna and Fowler both started with one-room school houses. Vienna at one time had 11 one-room schoolhouses with the first in 1806 — seven years after the township was founded in 1799.

Cover said there were many one-room schoolhouses in the 1800s because everyone walked to school. There were often schools every two miles, with eight in Fowler and 11 in Vienna.

The Mathews High School building was constructed and opened in 1915 when Vienna’s centralized school system began. This was the end of one-room school houses

The former Neal School in Fowler was established in the 1920s. Years later, the current Mathews school system was started with the consolidation of Fowler and Vienna schools in 1961.