Saturday, December 31, 2011

Eccles & anonymous donor move fund-raising over half-way mark

The Oneida Stake Academy in 1917.
 The board of the Oneida Stake Academy Foundation was notified of $200,000 in grants just before Christmas. Half of it came from an anonymous alumni and the other half from the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation.
“Wow, what a thrill,” said OSAF chairman, Nathan Hale. “We are very excited and very grateful for the generosity of the kind people behind these donations.”
            These funds bring the total of funds raised in 2011 to $620,000. Of that amount $505,000 is in cash and $115,000 is in-kind donations.
            “We are over half-way to the finish line,” said Hale. Another $2.9 million is expected to be needed to complete the academy’s restoration as a community center/ museum of local history.
Following direction from the board’s architect, Joseph Linton, and construction expert, Ed Moser, the board will meet in January to decide which phase of the academy’s restoration will be completed next.
Meanwhile, Keith Mackay of State Stone and his craftsmen continue to prepare the building to receive a new stone gable next month. This gable replaces one that fell out of the building in the 1960s. It is being built into a metal frame by Kepco, an engineering company located in Salt Lake City.

The following link takes you to an article published Dec. 30, 2011, by the Herald Journal in Logan, Utah, regarding this donation.
Herald Journal

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Update - New rock placed above front windows

New blocks of stone sit above the Oneida Stake Academy's front windows, in preparation for the new gable which will be installed at the first of 2012.  In addition, new blocks cut from stone taken from the academy's original quarry, have replaced highly deteriorated stone. As funds are raised, craftsmen from State Stone of Salt Lake City, Utah, will replace all severely deteriorated stone on the building, such as those at the bottom left of this picture.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Update - Weather damaged rock cut away for new gable

 A close-up of the first steps to replacing the long- lost stone gable, shows where severely weather-damaged rock was cut away by craftsmen at State Stone of Salt Lake City. They will fill this space with new blocks of stone anchored to the existing building by stainless steel rods.
Over the last six months, craftsmen of State Stone have carved individual rocks for the gable by following historic photos of the academy and using a few of the original stones salvaged from the earthquake by the late Newell and Ruth Hart as guides. Kepco engineers have designed a three-paneled steel frame into which each numbered stone is being placed. This rock-filled frame will be lifted into place and a final application of historic mortar will be applied between the rock, said Mackay.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Update - Gable to be restored

          Thanks to generous individuals, the Oneida Stake Academy Foundation is able to replace the academy's front gable, which has been covered by a wooden facade for the last 49 years. The building's original stone gable fell from the building during an earthquake.
           To see an example of the process being utilized to restore the gable, see the following link: KEPCO
            According to Keith Mackay, owner of State Stone, the process being used to restore the gable is the same process used in the construction of the current Nauvoo Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and to repair the Utah State Capitol building.
            Over the last six months, craftsmen of State Stone have carved individual rocks for the gable by following historic photos of the academy and using a few of the original stones salvaged from the earthquake by the late Newell and Ruth Hart as guides. Kepco engineers have designed a steel frame into which each numbered stone is being placed. This rock-filled frame will be lifted into place and a final application of historic mortar will be applied between the rock, said Mackay.
Once the gable is in place, roofing, which began last fall, will be completed, said OSAF board member, Ed Moser. The restored gable will feature an ornament that hasn’t been seen on the academy for generations. Carved stars once crowned each of the gables, and the installation of this newly restored gable includes a star for the front of the building.
            “We are so very excited to see this part of the building put into place,” said Moser.
            The improvements made to the academy’s restoration this year have been funded by gifts from the family of an anonymous alumni, the Murdock Charitable Trust, the Idaho Transportation Department’s Scenic Byways Program, Jim Gilmur, Nathan S. Hale and dozens of individual donors this year, said Elliott Larsen, executive director of the OSAF.
            With this step completed, restoration efforts will turn back to the inside of the building, where walls and floors will be reinforced to stand another century of service.
            Fund-raising efforts are in full swing in order to help the OSAF complete the restoration project by the summer of 2013 in honor of the 100th birthday of Franklin County, said fundraising chair, Saundra Hubbard.
            All donations to the restoration of the Oneida Stake Academy building are tax-deductible, as the foundation is registered with the IRS as a non-profit entity. To help with the academy’s restoration as a community center and museum of local history, contribution can be sent to the OSAF at P.O. Box 555, Preston, Idaho, 83263, or by making a contribution online on this blog or at

Monday, November 28, 2011

1918 OSA Basketball Champions

Top Middle: Ezra Taft Benson. Bottom right (laying down): Clarence Mitchell. Other people in the picture remain unidentified. If you recognize one of them, please comment and help us find out who they are.
Wearing uniforms made for them by the home economics class, the members of the 1918 OSA Championship Basketball Team and their coaches pose for a picture. This picture was provided by Kathy Goble, of Salt Lake City, through her nephew Scott Mitchell, of Cache Valley.  Goble is the daughter of Clarence Mitchell and Wilba Greene, both of Riverdale, a small farming community northeast of Preston.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

OSA Lego Model garners sweepstakes

John and Brandon Olsen made a replica of the Oneida Stake Academy and brought home the sweepstakes ribbon from the Franklin County Fair in August 2011.

Their replica contained fund-raising details. The twins hope to see the building restored soon.

            A trip through the Oneida Stake Academy inspired 13-year-old Olsen twins to build a model from Legos of the historical building for the Franklin County Fair. Complete with miniature signs inviting the public to support the restoration of the academy the model won the boys a sweepstakes ribbon at the fair.
            John and Brandon Olsen “love history,” said their mother, Cherise. Instead of playing video games like a lot of kids their age, the boys are often found looking for history on things like the old Sugar Factory in Whitney.
            In fact, she discovered, the brothers spent nearly every day of summer in the Relic Hall on Franklin’s main street.
            “They would come home and tell me things they found out, especially about their ancestors,” she said. Both the boys’ parents appreciate the value of knowing history, as well.
            “You need to know where you’ve been to know where you are going,” she said. Her husband, Tracy, was involved in the restoration of the old jail in Franklin several years ago.
            Then when the brothers found out that the Oneida Stake Academy Foundation (OSAF) was giving tours of the building over That Famous Preston Night Rodeo weekend, they started pestering their dad to go.
            While there, they discovered their father’s name among hundred of others scrawled inside the building’s attic and bell tower. “Tracy had forgotten about it,” said Cherise.
            That night, John pulled out his stash of Legos, and started building the Oneida Stake Academy. When he ran out of Legos, he solicited Brandon’s help, and his Lego stash, and together, they continued. When their combined collection of Legos ran out, their cousin, Mark Nate, agreed to lend his Lego stash to the project. All totaled, there are 1,523 Legos in the model.
            Using the architectural drawings in a brochure on the academy they had collected and images of the building from Google Earth and the OSAF blog, the boys were able to replicate the building’s dimensions correctly. “It’s as close as they could get with what they had,” said their mother.
            “The signs were their idea, too,” she said. “It’s amazing to me to watch them do this. They do better when we don’t help them. We just let them be creative.”
            Since bringing home their model and sweepstakes ribbons, John has built a virtual Lego replica of the academy as well.
            “I don’t know how he knows how to do this,” she said, but her boys “love knowledge” and get involved in many of their own projects. They’ve also built virtual replicas of the sugar factory and the junior high school buildings.
            The boys would like to donate the model to the Oneida Stake Academy Foundation, but they need to find a way to replace their cousin’s Legos before they do.
            “If anyone is discarding their old Lego collections, we’d love them,” said Cherice.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Thank you!

The OSAF would like to express appreciation to Jay Hansen for the wonderful job he did this summer, taking care of the academy lot.  It looked great and we appreciate all the hours he put into it.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Century of Signatures

Dorothy Hall and Margaret Foss
 With roof repairs going on, light has filled the attic of the academy illuminating the signatures of some alumni who left their mark on the academy. See who you recognize, then click here (DONATE) to send in a contribution that will help preserve this building that embodies so much of our community's heart and soul.

An attempt has been made to identify who some of these signatures belong to. Please comment if mistakes have been made.

Doug Smith, Brittanie Stokes '98, Deon '79, Tess '94, Eric '79, Eric Hampton '82 and more..
Verlan Corbridge '47, Mark  '79, Donna Elaine Wildon Evans '47, Wayne Cole, '41, Kristie Smith, Marlene Hollingsworth '49, Roger Spark '80, Joseph Hansen, Kris Mikesell '79, Allen Fryar, Eric Lindhardt 2004 and more...
Marlow Palmer '78, Bryan Bambrough '75, Toni Shumway '93, Kay Andersen, Todd M., Shawn Oliverson '04, Sidney Atkinson '69?, Dale Andra '80, Jeremy Andra, Machelle, Kimberly, Anthony, Eric and Jennifer Andra, Orlan Hall 1918, O. Corbridge, Reed Larsen '35?, Ken Hobbs '03, Robert LeFever, '82, Kate Moser 2002
Brad Palmer '67, J. Parker 2003, Kelly Cazier, 19?6, Ryan Hoffman '83, Raymond Poole '68, ? Auger Class of '38, Arnold Auger Class of '38, Minnie ? '22, Jim Hill'79?, Arnold Johnson '22, Arlinda Lin,  George Monson, Brent Nash '82, Scott  Seamons, Mark Checketts, and more ..

Kim Smith '75, Peggy Steele, Snake '91, Janice Toni, Britt, Andé '93, Doug West, Earl Stark '45, Brooke '79.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Update - Rafter reinforcements

 Travis Dahle and Shad Moser and their crew have been in the academy's rafters the last few days upgrading the connection between the rafters and the walls.

This will improve the the academy's ability to resist damage should there be another earthquake.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Update - Roof work continues

Roof work continues atop the Oneida Stake Academy today, as employees of Randy Meek Roofing strip off old shingles and prepare the roof for a water-tight winter.

To help with the restoration of the Academy now, you can click on this link: Donate via Paypal

Monday, September 12, 2011

Public invited to match Murdock Trust funds

The board members of the Oneida Stake Academy Foundation (OSAF), is extending an invitation to the public to help them match a final $50,000 grant from the Murdock Charitable Trust.  In 2007, the Trust awarded a $150,000 grant to the OSAF based on a 3:1 match requirement.
Last month, an anonymous donor contributed $100,000 towards the academy’s restoration. That gift was added to $50,000 previously given to the Oneida Stake Academy Foundation, and the first match was made.
Following that, another anonymous gift of stone, valued at $158,00 was made to the OSAF, making it possible for the OSAF to request the second $50,000 of the grant from the Murdock Trust.
Those requests have been honored and the Murdock Trust recently sent $100,000 to the OSAF. The funds will be used to pay engineers and craftsmen who are now designing a new stone façade to be placed where the building’s original front façade fell out during an earthquake in the 1960s. Work on the roof is also being completed.
Saundra Hubbard is the Fund-raising Committee Chairman for the Oneida Stake Academy Foundation.  -Photo courtesy of Preston City.
Working with OSAF Fund-raising Chairman, Saundra Hubbard, the OSAF board is confident that as the public joins with them, the match for the final $50,000 will be met before their November 2011 deadline.
            “When we initially sought funds to move the academy building to Benson Park, so many people gave what they could that Congressman Mike Simpson was persuaded to seek public funding for the move. Those small, individual donations added up to just over $100,000 back then,” said OSAF Executive Director, Elliott Larsen.
            “Furthermore, when the building was originally constructed, all funds needed came from individuals willing to participate in this important venture, giving what they could. That is one of the reasons the building is so important to their descendants,” said OSAF chairman, Nathan Hale. It was his great-grandfather, Solomon Hale, who superintended raising the funds for the academy’s original construction.
            “We believe that working together brings about the best results,” said Hubbard. A simple formula for raising $175,000 is to have 100 people willing to give $100, 100 people willing to give $250 and 100 people to give $500.
            “As we work with sponsors capable of helping with the restoration in a much larger way, they are always interested in knowing what kind of local community support there is. This is a good way to show it,” said Hubbard.
All donations to the restoration of the Oneida Stake Academy Foundation (OSAF) are tax-deductible, as the OSAF is a non-profit foundation. Donations may be sent to the OSAF at P.O. Box 555, Preston, Idaho 83263. 

Donations may also be made NOW through Paypal by clicking on this link: Donate via Paypal

Monday, August 1, 2011

Fabulous weekend

A steady stream of alumni and visitors were able to tour the Oneida Stake Academy Building over Rodeo weekend. Members of the Oneida Stake Academy Foundation Board of Directors cleaned up the interior of the building and set up the OSA video "Within These Walls" in the classroom on the building's main floor.

Visitors were able to see each of the academy's rooms, including a peek into the doorway of the bell tower with its century of signatures from the school's alumni. As they peered into the rooms in which they once studied, memories of their school days bubbled to the surface and they giggled as they shared their tales with board members.

DeMar Tippets remembers the LAST time he and his buddies tried to sneak into and out of the building without getting captured by the school's superintendent.

"I slipped going out of the window and landed on the recently pruned bushes, which tore my pants and left a knot in my rump for weeks," he smirked. Unfortunately, he had to suffer in silence to escape the wrath of his parents.

Alvaro Jones and his son both recalled taking shop in the main room on the main floor, which will become a museum of local history up on its restoration. Jones the elder took shop from Asael Bell and Jones the younger took it from Larry Biggs. He recalled the day the shop teacher's demonstration on the lathe resulted in a concussion for the teacher and the day off for the students. Apparently, a bowl the teacher was working on broke and hit him in the head.

Another of Bigg's students showed the footprint of a wall that once stood in the same room, as it was part of a closet that had been built to store tools.

One man remembered attending the last school dance held in the spacious ballroom, and others told of taking band classes from Lyle Shipley there.

Younger visitors voiced their hopes of having their own wedding receptions in that room someday soon.

Alumni willing to share their memories are invited to leave them in the comment section below this post.

Not only did the building's many alumni and visitors share their memories and favorable impressions, but they often left what cash they had in their pockets. Others left offers to volunteer their expertise or pledges to fund various stages of the academy's restoration.

"We appreciate the public's support as we continue to raise the funds necessary to finish this restoration for them to celebrate Franklin County's 100th birthday in 2013," said board member Elliott Larsen.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

OSAF Drawing

This watercolor was among several items bequeathed to the Oneida Stake Academy Foundation from Basil and Randy Haberstick, the folks who purchased and renovated Newell and Ruth Hart's Home.  They found it in boxes left in the home's attic spaces. If you have more information as to how this picture of the academy was used, please make a comment below and let us know! 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Generous anonymous grant allows construction to continue

Keith Mackay, president of State Stone, is preparing rock to be replaced in the front gable of the 121-year-old Oneida Stake Academy Building. It will feature the name of the building engraved into the rocks, as it appeared originally.

June 24, 2011

The Oneida Stake Academy Foundation (OSAF) received today a gift of $100,000 from the family of a Preston High School alumni who wishes to remain anonymous. This is the initial installment of a larger gift promised by the family, said Nathan Hale, chairman of the board of the OSAF.
The gift qualifies the foundation for an additional $50,000 from the Murdock Charitable Trust, of Washington. These matching funds were promised to the foundation in 2008 upon meeting the Murdock Trust’s match requirements.

This $150,000 will be used by the Oneida Stake Academy Foundation to repair the front façade of the building, which fell out during an earthquake in the 1960s. The building’s name, once etched into that portion of the building, will be matched by master stonemasons under the direction of Keith Mackay, of State Stone in Salt Lake City.

Stone to be used for the project is either reclaimed from that earthquake’s rubble or was taken from the academy’s original quarry on a hill north of Franklin by Mackay a few years ago.

Among other clients Mackay works extensively with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on their stone-laying projects. He was the project stone coordinator in the reconstruction of the Nauvoo Temple, which was dedicated in 2002. State Stone repairs and maintain the stone in older buildings such as the Manti Temple, and have restored the stonework on several historical chapels.

He directed the repair of the damaged corner on the Oneida Stake Academy in 2006. Mackay, now in his 80s, is passionate about his craft, and the Oneida Stake Academy holds a special place in his heart. He is the nephew of OSA alum, Harold B. Lee, and spent much of his youth in the Lee home.

“I want to see that building done,” he said. He spent much of his own funds to obtain the rights to quarry the stone for the academy's repairs.

The board members of the Oneida Stake Academy Foundation are thrilled with the financial support just received, and invite other Preston High alumni to join the cause.

Tax-deductible donations can be made to the Oneida Stake Academy Foundation and sent to P.O. Box 555, Preston, Idaho. At present, all funds raised will be pooled to meet the requirements of an additional $50,000 from the Murdock Trust.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Update - Original columns reinstalled in OSA building's basement

Carpentry classes were offered in the basement of the Oneida Stake Academy in 1904. Today, the same columns pictured in this historical photo have been re-installed (right) where they will again grace the main room of the academy building’s basement.

(Note how nicely those young men are dressed as they work on their exceptional carpentry projects on the back wall.)
* This article recently appeared in the Tourist Edition of The Preston Citizen

            Construction continues on the 121-year-old Oneida Stake Academy building as it is prepared to become a cultural center for the community upon its complete restoration.
            The academy is the alma mater of U. S. Secretary of State Ezra Taft Benson as well as his upperclassman, Harold B. Lee, both who became presidents of the world-wide Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They and other philanthropists will be recognized in the building upon its restoration. The Oneida Stake Academy is one of the longest used of the approximately 35 academies built in the west by the LDS Church over a century ago. It is one of five still standing and the only one left in Idaho.
            A $30,000 grant received from the National Scenic Byways Program last fall provided for the original cast-iron columns in the basement to be re-installed and for roof repairs to be made as soon as the weather clears.
            “Installation of the columns and roof repair is a vital part of the restoration process and an important step that needed to be taken,” said Nathan Hale, chairman of the Oneida Stake Academy Foundation. Jeff Call, of Preston, installed the columns.
            Restoration work on the academy advances as funds are raised for that purpose.
            Once completed, the academy building will feature a museum of local history, a turn-of-the-century classroom, and an information center for the Pioneer Scenic Byway and gift shop. The entire top floor of the building will be available to the public for events such as weddings, receptions, reunions, concerts, art shows, etc. Rent for hosting such events will be used to maintain the building.
            Additionally, the courtyard will increase the building’s value to the community as a location for outdoor receptions, concerts and dramatic presentations.
            For more information on the Oneida Stake Academy’s history and restoration, see
            To help, the public is invited to contact members of Oneida Stake Academy Foundation: Nathan and Sydney Hale, Elliott Larsen, Lyle Fuller, Larry Bradfield, Paul Judd,
Necia Seamons, Ed Moser, Joseph Linton and Kim Wilson. All donations are tax-deductible, as the OSAF is a 501(c)3 non-profit foundation recognized by the Internal Revenue Service.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Education in Zion

"Education in Zion" is a permanent exhibition on display at the Joseph F. Smith Building on the BYU Campus. Included in the display is information on the Oneida Stake Academy, which was first organized in Franklin, Idaho, in 1888. Two years later, construction began on the building which would house the Oneida Stake Academy in Preston. This is the building which is presently being restored for public use.

By clicking on the following link, you will be able to see a series of videos produced for that exhibition. Selecting the one entitled Academies in Every Stake
provides information that relates to the building of the academies across the west.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Larsen volunteers to be OSAF’s first executive director

         Elliott Larsen has been named Executive Director of the Oneida Stake Academy Foundation (OSAF). With efforts to complete the restoration of the Oneida Stake Academy Building in Preston, Idaho, as a museum/community center, the Oneida Stake Academy Foundation recently restructured itself to better accommodate its workload.
         Larsen is serving in the position on a volunteer, non-paid basis, as are all directors on the board of the Oneida Stake Academy Foundation. He is also serving as treasurer for the OSAF – a position he has filled since the formation of the foundation eight years ago.
         Other members of the board are Nathan Hale as chairman, Lyle Fuller as vice-chair, Sydney Hale as secretary, Larry Bradford, Joseph Linton, Kim Wilson, Paul Judd and Necia Seamons.
         Volunteering their time as fund-raising consultants are Preston natives Paul Norton and his wife, Sharon. Norton’s career with public television centered on fund-raising. He has been instrumental in raising funds for the Logan Regional Hospital Cancer Center, Utah State University and the American West Heritage Center.
         “We are extremely fortunate to have Larsen step up to this position as we progress in the academy’s restoration,” said OSAF chairman Nathan Hale.
         He has this mild mannerism that is pleasant to be around and would cause one to misjudge him as being a laid back person, but in actuality he is everything but that. He just goes about doing what has to be done without being told until the job is done and sets the example for others; to me he is the perfect person to fill the position of executive director,” Hale said.
         Larsen, a former school teacher and accountant by trade, recently retired from 16 years as the clerk for Franklin County. He is devoting more of his time to the restoration of the Oneida Stake Academy and is eager to see it become a cultural center for the community.
"I am excited to be involved in this historic effort as the executive director. I am grateful for the community support and feel the urgency to get the restoration completed ASAP. The Academy will once again become a community icon of which we all can be proud," said Larsen.
         When completed the building will be self-supporting as funds to maintain it will be raised from usage fees.
         The top floor of the academy is one large, elegant ballroom. This room will be available to the public for class and family reunions, wedding receptions and other social gatherings.
         Musical, plays, concerts and other entertaining events in the academy’s ballroom, extended staircase and courtyard will enrich everyone’s visit to the academy.
         The basement will provide a large meeting room, restrooms, and a kitchen. The academy’s main floor will house an information center, a historical classroom and a museum/interpretive center of local history.
         The OSAF is also seeking business tenants to occupy certain spaces within the academy, as well.
         Once completed, the OSAF will sponsor community events through the building as a cultural center for the community.
         For more information on the restoration of the academy building contact one of the OSAF board members.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Press coverage

To see other stories and photos of the Oneida Stake Academy that have appeared in the Idaho State Journal, see the following link:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Hale to lead OSAF

Following his grandfather’s lead, Hale heads OSAF
Over 120 years ago, Solomon Hale encouraged his neighbors, friends and residents of what is now parts of Oneida, Franklin, Caribou, Bear Lake, and part of Bannock County in Idaho, and Star Valley, Wyoming, to give all they could and more to the construction of a grand new building that would house the education of their children: the Oneida Stake Academy (OSA).
Today, his grandson, Nathan Hale, is doing the same thing as the new chairman of the board of the Oneida Stake Academy Foundation.
In order to accommodate the progress it is making towards a complete restoration of the OSA building as a community cultural center, the board of the Oneida Stake Academy Foundation (OSAF) recently reorganized itself, electing Nathan as its new chairman. He assumes the position held by Necia Seamons, who chaired the board for the last eight years, and who continues to work as a member of the board. Seamons will focus her efforts on public relations and writing grants for the foundation.
Nathan and his wife, Sydney, have been serving as members of the board for three years.  He has focused on the physical needs of the building and Sydney has served as the board’s secretary. They were instrumental in coordinating the Antique Fashion Show co-sponsored by the OSAF and local chapters of the Daughter of the Utah Pioneers in 2009.
Nathan is also featured in a promotional video produced by the OSAF last year that focuses on the value of restoring the building and its future role in the community. The video is available to the public through Adventure Video in Preston, and can be checked out for free.
Nathan and Sydney are natives of Franklin and Caribou Counties. They are long-time residents of Preston, where they serve in various capacities in their church and in the Boy Scouts of America. After he retired in 1983 from Utah Power and Light, Nathan and Sydney served missions for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in England and in Africa. They are presently serving as missionaries at the LDS Employment Center in Logan, Utah.
It is a privilege to serve the community in the restoration of the 0SA building to its past grander and its future beauty and splendor.  We are going to see this transformation occur before our very eyes and it is the hope of OSA Board of Directors that the community will see the Historic value of this preservation and become enthused with the value it will bring to our community.

“You are very important to us and we are committed to continue working very hard to make this come to fruition, please help us to make it so,” said Hale.

Also elected as an officer of the board was Preston attorney Lyle Fuller as vice-president. Fuller joined the board of the OSAF last summer. A resident of Franklin, Fuller is an attorney in Preston and advises the board on legal matters. Fuller and his wife, Valicia, are the parents of two boys and two girls.
Elliott Larsen remains the foundation’s treasurer, and Sydney Hale the secretary. Other current board members are Larry Bradford, Paul Judd, Joseph Linton and Kim Wilson.
To date, the foundation has raised over $2 million towards the restoration of the academy as a cultural center for the area. Upon completion the academy building will offer the public an elegant ballroom for events such as weddings, reunions and conferences. It will also feature a museum of local history, an turn of the century classroom, and courtyard for entertainment.
As Hale steps into his new position as chairman of the OSAF, he seeks to reclaim what Solomon and his contemporaries accomplished in founding the Oneida Stake Academy in Preston 121 years ago.
 Solomon was the first counselor in the stake presidency of the Oneida Stake in 1887 - a time when federal agents were chasing polygamous fathers from their homes and Mormons were not allowed to hold public offices due to the Edmunds-Tucker Act.
To counter the devastating effect the act had on local communities in ing the affairs of their schools, the Mormon Church authorized its stakes to organize their own schools. Oneida Stake started its school in 1888 in a room over a store in Franklin.
As enrollment increased and pressure to hold classes in Preston intensified, local authorities deferred to then LDS apostle Lorenzo Snow, whose report on the situation resulted in the decision to build the three-story, handsome rock academy in Preston.
“Through the kindness of Pres. Wilford Woodruff and councilors the church architect D.C. Young was instructed to draft a plan. This he did and the plan was highly recommended by Dr. Carl G. Mayer and others,” states an essay on the building of the academy written by Peter Simon Jensen between 1872
and 1896. (See this blog for the entire essay.)

Solomon encouraged everyone in his stake to contribute in order to provide a first rate education to the children of this pioneer community.

They did. Some gave cash. Some gave time. Some raised livestock and upon selling it, gave the profits to the fund. The construction of the Oneida Stake Academy garnered headlines in every newspaper in a 150-mile radius from Preston.

For just over a century, the building remained as an institution of some form of education until it was abandoned by the Preston School District in 2002 in order to make way for its bulging enrollment. At that time, several residents of Franklin County organized the Oneida Stake Academy Foundation to facilitate raising funds to restore the OSA building for public use.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Board member featured

OSAF board member Kim Wilson was recently featured in the Deseret News for his involvement with the celebration of the 400 birthday of the King James Version of the Bible. To see the story, go to the following link: Deseret News Story

To help with the restoration of the Oneida Stake Academy, make your donation now through Paypal: DONATE via PAYPAL

The Forgotten Voice of the Oneida Stake Academy

A glimpse into the early days of classes held in the Oneida Stake Academy is featured in pictures and a story written by Fred Woods for the Mormon Historic Sites Foundation in 2003. It can be found here:The Forgotten Voice of the Oneida Stake Academy

Once at the site, look for the article in the index displayed on the page brought up by the link.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Herald Journal catches us

The Herald Journal, out of Logan, Utah, wrote an article on the grant we received a couple of months ago. The article can be seen online at their website at