Sunday, July 19, 2009
Newell Hart was a Preston native, a free spirit and an avid chronicler of an era slipping into the past. Born on Feb. 21, 1913, he was the son of Arthur William and Evadyna Henderson Hart.
Newell and his wife, Ruth, spent many years in California, but eventually returned to Preston. Together they pulled together the efforts of other local academy fans to repair and restore the academy so it could be used not only by Preston School District, but the public.
Newell died in 1983, having his final celebration of life in the ballroom of the academy. Unfortunately, he had to wait downstairs while his eulogies went on above, as the stairway would not accommodate his casket. Ruth followed him on June 1, 2006.
His family and the new owners of his home, Basil and Randy Haberstick, have shared items and photos Newell and Ruth had collected on the academy with the Oneida Stake Academy Foundation.
Many of those photos well be shared for the first time on this blog.
We pay tribute to Newell, Ruth and their family members and friends who helped them prepare the academy for its second century of life.
At left is a view of the entire campus before Preston High School was built. If you look closely, you will see that the science buildng still had its upper floors. Preston School District continues to use this building, minus the upper floors since they were lost to a fire decades ago. Art classes are taught in its upper second floor and weight lifting is held in its main floor. The grounds maintenance offices and work rooms are in the building's basement.
The building to the left in the picture above is the no-longer-standing Nelson Gymnasium.
The above picture is a clipping from The Preston Citizen from an unknown year. It originally appeared in the Hometown Album, which was compiled by academy champion Newell Hart. The book is no longer in print, much to our chagrin, but occasionally we get copies of its contents.
Unfortunately we no longer have its compiler, Newell Hart. Due to his passion for saving the building in the 70s and 80s, we have a building to restore today.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Construction began on the OSA in 1890. The academy classes were moved from their first home in an upstairs room in a store in Franklin, Idaho, to the academy's basement in 1891, while construction continued on the building's upper floors. The building was completed and dedicated in 1895, by Moses Thathcher.
It remained in use as an auxiliary building of the Preston School District #201 until the late 1990s. Since then, it has been relocated, and is under restoration to become the center of Northern Cache Valley culture once again.