Old Fashion Ice Cream Social in Saline                           

A step through the white board fence surrounding the Weber Blaess one-room school house at 520 Woodland Drive in Saline, is a step back in time. Jim and Cheryl Hoeft, both long time teachers in Saline and Chelsea, spearheaded the acquisition and restoration of the property more than 15 years ago.

The Saline Area Schools Historic Preservation Foundation, founded in 2001, has a mission to support the history of Saline Schools with emphasis on the one-room school era.  Students from the second, third, and fourth grades visit Weber Blaess as part of the school Social Studies standards.  During their time at the school, students experience a typical day of the 1870-1920’s in these schools by learning the lessons, eating the lunches and playing the games that rural children experienced long ago.

An old-fashioned ice cream social is planned for August 19 from 1-4pm. All are invited to come and enjoy homemade ice cream with a variety of toppings as ladies with white gloves and parasols leisurely stroll the grounds.  Grilled hot dogs will also be served.   Musical entertainment will join the festivities. The fundraising event will be hosted by the Saline Area Schools Historic Preservation Foundation, and also provides an opportunity for young and old to experience turn of the century life.

Classroom reenactments of a typical day in a one-room school will give insight into the teachings and discipline of a young maiden teacher to her students using the McGuffey Readers and slate boards.  Children will enjoy playing the games that a 1900’s recess would have included such as hopscotch, graces, stilts and many more.  A craft area will also be available.  The Saline Area Fire Department will conduct a bucket brigade to demonstrate an 1800’s firefighting way of transporting water to put out a blaze. All these activities are free.

Also on hand at the ice cream social will be Magic Joe providing entertainment plus animals provided by Saline Community Fair.

Old time activities like croquet, watermelon seed spitting, walking on stilts and “Bag-O” will also be competitively challenged between Saline School Board of Education, Saline Area Schools and the Saline City Council and staff. Pleasant Ridge principal Kevin Mussen challenges anyone to beat his previous record of being the all-time winner. The public is welcome to participate in these activities also.

Proceeds from this event will provide for maintenance of the building inside and out. The front entrance addition was recently repainted, and a railing added for easier entrance.  The doors have also been refinished on the front.  Trees and shrubs are needed to add shade on the property. Curriculum needs are not extensive but with more than 1,800 children visiting the school on an annual basis, materials are needed for their projects and activities.

It’s a summertime treat for the whole family.  Admission is free to the public and the only charge is for food items.  Come join the fun.

For more information contact Cheryl Hoeft (734-429-5922) cheryl.hoeft@gmail.com.

Seth Kinker

Reporter/Digital Media for The Sun Times News

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