We’ve really enjoyed using our Boondockers Welcome membership to stay in new and unique places and meet all kinds of interesting folks.
This week, on our way from Arizona to Montana where we will be camp hosting for a couple months at an Army Corp of Engineer campground, we utilized our “BW” membership to once again camp in a driveway of “Friends We Haven’t Met Yet”.
This time was a little different than all the others we’ve stayed at. This time we stayed in a schoolyard!
Our host was Kevin Caldwell. Kevin and his wife have owned the school property for 8 years now and have been continually restoring it in hopes of one day opening it as a Bed & Breakfast / Event Center and meeting place for the benefit of the community.
The school was completed in 1910 and was originally used as the Millard Latter Day Saints Academy until 1923 when it then became the Hinkley (Utah) High School until 1953.
Over the years the school has been purchased and sold several times and various business ventures have come and gone. In the mid-1970s the Hinckley Elementary School made use of the academy building. It even served as a disco around 1978. The disco, called The Total Eclipse, operated for only about 18 months. In the 1980s, a swimming pool and water slide were built and soon closed again.
Kevin and his wife (whom we didn’t have the opportunity to meet – she was out of town working) along with his teenage children and occasional local labor have done a TON (or five) of work including; removing all the old wood shake roof and installing all new plywood sheeting, felt paper and shingles, stripping all the interior walls of plaster and lathe and building out the inside of the exterior walls with 2X6 studs so that they can be packed with insulation, and installing, taping, and mudding all new drywall.
But before the new drywall could be installed first they gutted all the old “knob & tube” electrical wiring and rewired the entire building to present code, installed all new plumbing throughout including all fresh and waste water lines, installed new gas lines to supply the (3) new gas forced air furnaces (with 4 more to come), and installed extensive solar panels on the gymnasium building adjacent to the main school building.
During the first five years of the project Kevin and his family lived in their Montana 5th Wheel trailer on the property. They were able to move in to the building 3 years ago.
Both Kevin and his wife have full time jobs and they still have 4 children at home to raise and nurture. Part of that nurturing is teaching them a good solid work ethic and helping on the schoolhouse gives them plenty of opportunity to help out, learn new skills, and learn to appreciate their personal accomplishments.
It was a real treat having the opportunity to meet Kevin and part of their family and see all the work they’re doing to restore this grand old property.
We want to thank them for hosting us and giving us a tour of their project and we wish them all the luck in the future as their dream comes to fruition.
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