Beardsley is in Big Stone County, in the “elbow” of Minnesota, where Lake Traverse, Big Stone Lake, and the Little Minnesota River carve into what would otherwise be South Dakota’s territory.
Beardsley had a population of 200-plus residents in the 2010 Census. Beardsley’s schools were consolidated with Graceville and Clinton, Minnesota long ago. In the photo above, the former High School is in the foreground, and behind it on the left, Beardsley’s other abandoned school, which now appears to be owned by a private party.
The corner of Windom Avenue and Forest Street.
If there’s any question how long this school has been left exposed to the elements, note the broken door in the lower left. We found a picture of this school online, taken in 2009, in which the door was in the same condition. Below, a look inside the doorway.
We did not see a single “No Trespassing” sign on this old school, but we did not have permission to enter, and we didn’t know who the owner was, so we stayed out. We would love to photograph the interior one day, before it’s too late.
This school was built in 1908. For historical context, that same year, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid were reportedly killed in Bolivia, Henry Ford produced the first Model-T, and Thomas Selfridge became the first person to die in a plane crash. He was a passenger on a flight piloted by Orville Wright.
Beardsley’s other school was built in 1954, and only a year later, Beardsley’s public schools became the subject of some controversy with the Catholic Church. In his book, “Rooting Out Religion: Church-State Controversies in Minnesota Public Schools Since 1950,” author Bruce Dierenfield details a 1955 controversy in which the Pastor of St. Mary’s Church, Harvey Egan, wrote a letter objecting to baccalaureate services held in connection with graduation and holiday ceremonies on the grounds that the prayers may violate Catholic beliefs. “Upon receiving the letter, the school board canceled commencement and considered dropping its Christmas celebration. The board chairman, C. A. Hundeby, called for ‘a strictly academic year all year with no Christmas programs either.'”
The roof on this school was somewhat unique, and something we hadn’t seen before. It was sloped toward the center.
Do you know more about Beardsley, Minnesota and its schools? Please leave a comment.
Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright © 2016 Sonic Tremor Media