Friday, November 16, 2012

Recent news articles

The Herald Journal recently covered our progress at:

They also covered the Cunningham Foundation grant, at:

The Preston Citizen covered the recent anonymous grant, as well as the recent financial support of the Mormon Historic Sites Foundation. Following is the text of that coverage:

Work continues on OSA restoration as additional grants come in

Scaffolding and plastic tenting conceal the talents of State Stone artisans as they begin restorative rockwork on the Oneida Stake Academy building this week.

Two recent grants allowed the Oneida Stake Academy Foundation to give State Stone the go ahead to start the work. An anonymous donor provided $100,000 in October, then during the first week of November, the Mormon Historic Sites Foundation committed to covering the costs of the architectural drawings started earlier this year by Design West of Logan, Utah.

“Despite how wrenching it is for us to wait between contracts to complete the different phases of the building, the satisfaction of being able to see our planning and the generosity of donors put to work is tremendous,” said OSAF president, Nathan Hale.

State Stone owner, Keith Mackay said his artisans will first remove the red mortar that has, over the years, leached into the surrounding rock, creating a pink caste to the building. Then, using a chemical wash formulated specifically for the academy, the building will be washed.

Once the building is clean, Mackay’s crew will begin at the top of the academy, removing and replacing deteriorated stone with new stone cut from the academy’s original quarry northeast of Cub River. The new stone has been tooled to match that of the original craftsmen. Finally, new mortar will be applied.

Mackay cut the stone from the quarry in 2005. While there, remnants of former stonecutters were discovered: blackened stone from black powder blasts, rust encrusted ax heads and files. Originally, the rock was quarried in 12-foot blocks blasted from the hillside under the direction of Fred Nuffer.

Nuffer’s brother, John, was the principal mason on the building. Adding the battlements were one of the modifications he made to the original architect’s plans. John apprenticed on castles in his native country, Germany, before immigrating to Cache Valley when his family joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Church directed the construction of about 35 academies between Juarez, Mexico and Calgary, Canada. The bulk of them were in the intermountain west.

Nuffer is credited with building several prominent buildings in the area. In addition to the Oneida Stake Academy they included many prominent buildings now demolished: the Preston Opera House; the McCammon public school; Fairview, Mapleton and Whitney public schools; the Tabernacle at Grace; the high school at Grace; the original Preston First Ward building; and most of the business blocks as well as many of the older homes in Preston.

The Oneida Stake Academy building, originally built between 1890-1894, was used for educational purposes longer than any other academy building, except the academy in Juarez, which is still used as an academy today.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Grant awarded

The restoration of the Oneida Stake Academy has received a significant boost from the Laura Moore Cunningham  Foundation, Inc.

 The Oneida Stake Academy Foundation (OSAF) recently was awarded a  $25,000 grant from the Cunningham Foundation to restore the main beam  under the academy’s elegant ballroom. The ballroom comprises the  entire upper floor of the 122-year-old building.

 “Accepting this grant is especially gratifying, as the Laura Moore  Cunningham Foundation, Inc., is involved in sponsoring so many  worthwhile projects in Idaho. We are pleased to be a part of that  family,” said Elliott Larsen, executive director of the OSAF.

 Laura Moore Cunningham was a native of Boise. Her father, C.W. Moore, > partnered with B. M. DuRell to charter the First National Bank of  Idaho in 1860. Mrs. Cunningham herself was dedicated to serving her  community. Idaho Governor Robert E. Smylie stated at her funeral, that  “her contribution to civic enterprise was the highest tradition of  gracious citizenship.”

 Cunningham’s foundation was organized in 1963, and is one of the  oldest and largest charitable foundations in Idaho. It is dedicated to  promoting organizations it believes will help to enhance the quality  of life in the state of Idaho. Dozens of educational institutions  offer scholarships funded by the Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation,  Inc. Many projects undertaken by other organizations such as  hospitals, public schools and cultural and social centers in Idaho  have received funds from the Cunningham Foundation.

 “Our architects from Design West are working out final details on  restoring the Oneida Stake Academy building’s ballroom beam. Work will  begin as soon as they give the go ahead,” said Nathan Hale, chairman  of the OSAF.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

New book makes capturing OSA memories a cinch

Memories (B&W) by __________________________________ | Make Your Own Book


There's also a color version:

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Medal of Honor recipients among OSA alumni

Leonard Brostram and Nathan "Junior" Van Noy, both Medal of Honor recipients from World War II attended classes in the Oneida Stake Academy Building. See the full story here: Herald Journal

Recollections: 1934 earthquake takes out capstone

From the pages of the Trailblazer,  a history of the Franklin County compiled by the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, we read that the Oneida Stake Academy building lost its capstone during the earthquakes that hit the area on March 12 and March 15 of 1934.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Newspaper features OSA alum

Carl Bingham, of Franklin County, recalls his education within walls of OSA in this special to the Herald Journal of Logan, Utah. See the full story at this link: Herald Journal

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Value of History

    Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson explains the importance of individuals getting involved in saving history to the directors of Firefly Film and Video, inside the unrestored ballroom of the Oneida Stake Academy, last weekend. When asked what he thought he'd hear if the building's walls could talk, Simpson emphasized, "They can talk, you just have to listen!"
   Library of Congress librarian, the late Daniel Boorstin, once said, "Trying to plan for the future with out a sense of the past is like trying to plant cut flowers."
   In 2003, the National Ad Council cited studies that lamented the loss of 250,000 historical sites per year in the United States.
   To learn more about the Oneida Stake Academy and how you can support its restoration, contact a member of the OSAF. (See members listed on the left of the blog.)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

National Society of DAR awards grant to OSAF

A new grant was just awarded to the Oneida Stake Academy Foundation by the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution for the restoration of the OSA's bell tower. Thanks for this goes to the sponsorship of the Bear River Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution in Logan, Utah, and its president, Joanne Jensen. Work on the tower is expected to begin this summer.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Iconic Preston building has new gable installed - The Herald Journal: News

Iconic Preston building has new gable installed - The Herald Journal: News: PRESTON — Deteriorating weather prompted crews to expedite the installation of a new stone gable atop the Oneida Stake Academy building Wednes…

New gable installed on Harold B. Lee's birthday

Clifton native and former president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Harold B. Lee, has been gone for 39 years, but he still received a birthday present on March 28: the gable and star missing from his alma mater for half a century were restored to the building.
“I’m betting Harold B. Lee will have a smile on his face,” said his grandson, David Goates. Lee would have been 113 years old.

This picture, taken in 1917, shows how the building appeared when Harold B. Lee and Ezra Taft Benson attended class there. Notice the star and the battlements.
The academy's gable looked like this from the time the original stones fell out in the 1960s until the new gable was placed on March 28, 2012.
The new gable beautifully completes the front of the Oneida Stake Academy building. Once all rock work is completed on the building, it will be washed. This process will removed the pink cast which has leached from the red mortar onto the stones below the new gable and the rest of the building. Originally, the building's stones were cemented with a white mortar. the new gable was constructed from rock hewn from the academy's original quarry at the mouth of Cub River, northeast of Franklin, Idaho.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Update - Gable to be set March 28, 10 a.m.

Scheduling problems with another high profile project has prompted officials of Kepco to move the day to install the new gable on the Oneida Stake Academy to March 28, at 10 a.m., said Nathan Hale of the Oneida Stake Academy Foundation.
Kepco has been working on the City Creek project in the center of Salt Lake City. It is modern community of 700 residences, offices and retail stores built on 23 acres just south of Temple. That project will be dedicated next week, and the schedule change will allow Kepco’s crew to be present at City Creek for that event.
The beautiful new gable constructed by Kepco and State Stone will be trucked to Preston the day before it is to be installed. It is expected to take approximately four hours to lift the 16-ton rock filled galvanized steel frame into place. Crews have been preparing the 122-year-old Oneida Stake Academy building to receive the new gable.
The Oneida Stake Academy (OSA) was built by Mormon pioneers between 1890 and 1894 in order to inspire their children with a first class education. It is one is one of 35 academies built by Mormon pioneers during the late 1800s and early 1900s, between Canada and Mexico. Only five remain standing, and the OSA is the only academy building left in Idaho.

Except for the academy in Colonia Juarez, Mexico, which is still a school, the OSA remained in use as an educational facility the longest of the academies. It is also the alma mater of former US Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson, and fellow OSA alum, Harold B. Lee, both of who have been presidents of the world-wide Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-days Saints. Another famous alum is Samuel Cowley – first inductee into the FBI Hall of Fame for his role in taking out infamous mobster Baby Face Nelson.
For more information on, or to give to the restoration of the Oneida Stake Academy building as a community cultural center/museum of local history, please see

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Recollections: OSA excerpts from Newell's Hart's Cache Valley Newsletter

Thanks to Newell Hart's granddaughter, Sorel Frew, who provided the Oneida Stake Academy Foundation with a collection of comments regarding the Oneida Stake Academy, which originally appeared in Hart's Cache Vally Newsletter (CVN) from 1969 to 1982, we present Recollections.

Daines Famiy gathers  at OSA to film for visual history of Newel Daines
From March 1978 CVN

“Attorney Daines, of Preston/Logan, died in 1959 at the age of 64. Arrangements were made with me [Hart] by  Preston family member, Lois D. Griffeth. In charge of tech filming and sound was a son, Atty. S. R. Daines, of Logan, assisted by his sister, Beulah Daines Burgoyne of Salt Lake City. Present as spectators and participants were Lydia Daines Smith, wife of Harold Smith of Logan, and Newel's widow, Verna Rainey Daines, formerly of Star Valley, Wyoming.

            “Various family members posed at specific places where things pertaining to Newel’s life occurred, or where Academy or other memories could be recalled … Lois on he front steps, beneath the great carved stone corbel, reciting her first memories of her older brother, how he came home from World War I and how he gave her a warm hug; Lydia, against the double doors of the heavy auditorium entrance, recalling stories of Newel doing this over here and something else in another area of the room, and later, elsewhere, discussing some of the songs popular in her brother’s era and which were danced to at the Academy; Verna, recalling Newel’s story where he and Charley Cutler plotted to steal some of Dr. Cutler’s chickens for a gala fast.

And since I have been working on the restoration, and since I was named after Newel Daines, I was also drafted into the action… reposed near the podium I built from Central School doors, saying a few things about the closeness of the Daines/Hart families, and also a little about the Story of the Academy.

            “Later the troupe went to other places in town to do more segments, including one at the front porch of the classic old Joseph S. Geddes place on Second East and Oneida – now the Lois D. Griffith home. [In 2012, this is where Kathy Kunz's home has been built.]

            “Otherwise at the Academy: We are again doing window work, replacing cracked panes on the main floor. We have completed the old Faculty Room, and adjacent office of the principal. A key has been turned over to the county DUP captain, Anne Clements, so that she and her group can transform the space into their first-ever, very own County Camp headquarters. Publicity shots will soon show the ladies hard at work.

            “Window replacement has now shifted to the room across the hall, to the east, to take care of the last stages of this big job. This old classroom, which Madison Merrill told me last summer was once the Academy Library, will eventually become the memorabilia Room of the Oneida Academy and its successor, the Preston High School.”

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Update - OSA building's new gable parts to be assembled

The building's name carved in stone.
The frame which will hold the newly carved rock or the academy.
New end-piece and date stone. The OSA was assembled between 1890 and 1894. It was dedicated in 1895.
Pieces of the new gable for the Oneida Stake Academy building are coming together in the shops of Kepco and State Stone in Salt Lake City. Most of the stones inscribed with words have been completed, as well as end pieces, the star and date stone. These stones, as well as hand-carved face stones will be fitted into the frame, which is now being galvanized.

Once the newly carved stones are attached to the frame, it will be transported to Preston, and lifted into place.
The Oneida Stake Academy Foundation appreciates the public's support of the restoration of the Oneida Stake Academy building as a cultural center and museum of local history, said Oneida Stake Academy Foundation chairman, Nathan Hale. Once completed, the building's top floor ballroom will be available to the public for use as a setting for weddings, receptions, reunions and other community events.

Events committee formed

A recently organized events committee has begun planning events that will be sponsored through the Oneida Stake Academy Foundation upon completion of the building's restoration. The OSAF board intends to be able to open the building for use in honor of the 100th birthday of Franklin County next year.

To learn more about this historic restoration one can go to or contact any member of the foundation: Nathan and Sydney Hale, Elliott Larsen, Larry Bradford, Lyle Fuller, Ed Moser, James Brown, Kim Wilson, Joseph Linton, Paul Judd and Necia Seamons, and Paul and Sharon Norton who serve as volunteer consultants.

Online donations now possible

Furthermore, donations to the OSA restoration can now be made online through PayPal at the above website address. To make a donation in the name of someone else, please note your intent in the special instructions box on the donation site. Donations can also be sent to the Oneida Stake Academy Foundation, P.O. Box 555, Preston, Idaho 83263. All contributions are tax-deductible.