Have you ever driven by BCFPD Station 13 and taken a good look at it? Ever wonder why it looks like a school house? Heard of any rumors? Have you ever been inside the building?
Let’s go back in time for a quick history lesson on how the “Old school house” became a firehouse. This story starts back in 1819 near Coopers Landing at a town called “Nashville”. This river town was along the busy waterways of the Missouri River which was washed away by the floods of June 1844.
The towns’ people of Nashville decided to establish a village up on the bluffs away from the river in which new village they called “Providence” to symbolize both their acceptance of the loss and hope for the future. But there again, mother nature proved too strong for most towns folk as multiple yearly floodings caused some of the towns folk to move their families to much higher ground away from the river.
And by 1880, according to plat maps of the time, “New Providence” was established and a school house was built. June 5, 1917 it was reported a “cyclone” or later estimated F4 tornado, formed over Cooper County, crossed into Boone County with damage near Rocheport, Midway, New Providence, Hinton, Hallsville and finally stopped on the north side of Centralia. This tornado destroyed the school house but was quickly rebuilt, however on August 4, 1918 an out of control brush fire destroyed the building again.
A new school house was voted on to be rebuilt in 1919 which then continued to service the community until its last class in 1974 when Columbia Public schools took over. The aging building served as a polling place, community meeting place and eventually BCFPD started construction of the bays and building onto the existing school house in 1994. Many of the original features were left in place like the old wooden floors, the large double chalk boards and the library.
2016 will mark the end of any physical evidence of what once was a “One room school House” for so many but its community will gain the safety of a modern firehouse to lend “a helping hand”.