It was set to begin around 10:30 Saturday morning, and by 11 a.m., property owner Dean Jensen estimated that nearly 400 people had already stopped by the old Milford schoolhouse northwest of Nevada to take a tour and visit with friends.
This was the third of five times in recent weeks that the Jensens have opened the former school building for public viewing, Dean said. Next weekend, they will again allow visitors, as the Nevada Alumni Banquet and class reunions take place.
On Saturday, it was a reunion of the Milford School, which included people who attended during the years that the school housed all grade levels – first through 12th, and people who attended when the Nevada School District housed its fifth- and sixth-grade classes in the building, prior to the opening of a new middle school in Nevada in the early 1990s.
"What’s fun is seeing people talk to each other and enjoy their memories," said Dianne Jensen, wife of Dean, who visited with guests on the third floor of the building, the floor the Jensens have remodeled and modernized as their main living space.
Dean greeted people near the door of the building, welcoming them into his home, while pointing out that it is still a "work in progress."
Former Milford students, teachers and friends, who came from near by and far away, didn’t mind that there is still work being done in the building; they were just happy to see their former schoolhouse and excited to see all the remodeling that has been done. Despite the changes, the school building still brings back memories.
For Joe Harper, who attended Milford for all 12 of his formative years, just being in the building, he said, brings back memories of days gone by. And they are very good memories, he said.
Joe and his wife, Phyllis, who was a third-and fourth-grade teacher at the school from 1949-51, said they haven’t missed any of the open-house opportunities at the school.
Phyllis, who started her career at Milford as Miss Robinson and who resigned the following year as Mrs. Harper, said she remembers having nice students and enjoying them. In fact, she still has gifts that were given to her by Milford students, and said each gift reminds her of the child from whom it came. What the Jensens have done to refurbish the school into a residence, she said, is "fabulous."
Wilma Munson sat on a bench on the first floor visiting with Harper and Kay Rierson. Her husband, Arnold Munson, had graduated from Milford in 1942; and later her brother also graduated from the school.
Mike Hopkins, who was always known as "little Mikey Hopkins," came back to visit from his current home in Ellston. He had attended the school for his second-, third- and fourth-grade years, and his sister Robin, who was sitting beside him on the front area of the building, had attended when she was in fourth, fifth- and sixth-grades. Their father, Keith Hopkins, was superintendent of Milford during those years, 1955-1957.
Keith passed away 13 years ago, but his wife Colleen attended the reunion and said it was good to return. "I liked the closeness of the place," she said, remembering that the family lived in the superintendent’s house, right behind the school building. "Some of the best memories of our family were from here."
Mike said even though there wasn’t an official town, the school was where everybody gathered for all kinds of events, like sports, which he said were "really special times. It was like a family here," he said. "People like the Bortons, the Hughes, we knew everybody."
Jurine Borton Moore stood right inside the front door of the school greeting all those who came and making sure they all signed the official guest register. Moore busily attends to keeping all Milford Township news updated for those who are interested, and had copies of recent newsletters and books that have been produced about Milford history on hand for those wanting them.
Moore was certainly excited to see the turnout on Saturday, and so were the Jensens. "We’re glad to share (the school) with those who have a vested interest in it," Dean said.
Other events for the daylong reunion included a lunch gathering, and a barn tour and ice cream at the Book Family Farm, just east of Milford School.
Ruth Book estimated that 75-80 people came to the farm later in the day to see their restored barn.