Thursday, December 4, 2014

Glenn Beck to conduct fund-raiser for OSA restoration


Thursday, November 27, 2014

One hundred Thanksgiving days ago....

One hundred Thanksgiving days ago, Nephi Larsen stood on the Streets of Preston with Oscar A. Kirkham watching students of the Oneida Stake Academy march in a Founder's Day parade. The OSA band was playing and banners were waving in the autumn breeze, wrote Larsen in an article that appeared in the May 1915 edition of the "Improvement Era," a publication of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

"One of the banners, held proudly above the heads of the marching students, had printed on it in bold letters, "Labor conquers everything." Kirkham caught sight of the inscription and remarked, "Labor does not conquer everything. There are many things that can only be conquered by faith."

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Meet the OSA's architect

A bit about the architect of the elegant Oneida Stake Academy, Don Carlos Young, can be found at the following link:

William Lowe Young

According to “Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah” William Lowe Young helped survey the Preston town site, the Mink Creek Ditch, the Cub River Ditch, and helped build the first railroad in Utah. 
His family notes that he was a prominent leader in the building of the ONEIDA STAKE ACADEMY and the Logan Temple (of which he was very proud).
Lowe built one of the first log homes in Preston with a dormer window on the roof. It stood just south of the Preston Cemetery. He owned that farm and the land running north of it to the cemetery.
He was married twice, first to Helen Bunting, and second to Julia Widdowson Reeves.
He had several children, and was beloved by both friends and family.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Rock work progresses on OSA front

Bracing themselves, masons move the keystone of the arch into place.

A new keystone is placed on the arch above the front door.

The rock is adjusted.

More rock will be placed tomorrow, Oct. 14.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Presidents of the Oneida Stake Academy

ONEIDA STAKE ACADEMY, Preston, Idaho, was commenced under the jurisdiction of the presidency of the Oneida Stake at Franklin, Idaho, Oct. 1, 1888, with 75 students and two teachers. In 1898, a fine cut stone building having been erected for the school at Preston, the equipment was moved to that city. As the scope of the work increased, another fine school building was added in 1907 and a well-equipped gymnasium was built in 1915. Preparatory, normal, high school, commercial, domestic science, carpentry, missionary and music courses were offered and the school served a noble purpose until, on account of the splendid facilities offered by the state schools, duplication of scholastic courses was avoided and the Academy closed in 1922.
Following are the names of the presidents of the Oneida Stake Academy: 
Samuel Cornwall, 1888-1889; 
James S. Rawlins, 1889-1890; 
Jos. G. Nelson, 1890-1893; 
John E. Dalley, 1893-1896; 
Josiah E. Hickman, 1896-1899; 
Dr. Allen R. Cutler, 1899-1900; 
Edwin Cutler, 1900-1906; 
Dr. John Johnson, 1906-1912;
J. Robert Robinson, 1912-1914; 
Joseph A. Geddes, 1914-1920, and 
Thomas C. Romney, 1920-1922.
Encyclopedic History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by Andrew Jenson

Friday, August 8, 2014

Pageant featured in Cache Magazine

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Vintage Car Show to precede "If These Walls Could Talk" Aug. 8 & 9

            A mini- vintage car show will precede the new and original musical, “If These Walls Could Talk” this Friday and Saturday, Aug. 8 & 9, in Benson Park.

            Doug West, who has gathered vintage cars to be part of the pageant, has invited the owners to display the vehicles in Benson Park, west of the Oneida Stake Academy building. They will do so from 4-7 p.m. both nights.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

"If These Walls Could Talk"

Clear your calendar August 8 or 9! 
You are invited to the premier of the Oneida Stake Academy Foundation's new, original musical: 
"If These Walls Could Talk."
         When a grandfather trying to connect to his digitally-minded grandson, a father hoping to inspire his rambunctious young family and a young man in love trying to share a meaningful secret with his sweetheart, unexpectedly meet in the Oneida Stake Academy building, they discover that sometimes walls can talk.
            The Oneida Stake Academy Cultural Center debuts its first ever musical pageant on August 8 & 9, at 8:30 p.m.
            “If These Walls Could Talk” is a clever musical written by local writer, Cecelie Costley. Director Dani Dunn, of Franklin, brings together professional music written by renowned composer, Tyler Castleton, snappy dancing choreographed by Paula Lemmon, Taessia King, and Autumn Coats, local voices under the direction of chorister Karla Gundersen, colorful costumes assembled by Pat Moses and Glenda Swainston, Joe Ward’s horses and antique cars gathered by Doug West for a wonderful evening of song, dance and storytelling the whole family will enjoy.
            The elegant 124-year-old Oneida Stake Academy building itself will star in the show, as the pageant will be held in the intersection in front of the OSA, at 8:30 p.m. both nights.
            The production involves dozens and dozens of local actors, dancers, costume directors, prop and scenery builders, musicians, staging, light and sound experts, singers, make-up artists, and committee members.
            “I am thrilled about storyline and music,” said Oneida Stake Academy Foundation board member, Necia Seamons, who has been dreaming about the idea of a pageant since the OSAF was formed a decade ago. “Cecelie, Tyler and Dani have captured the essence of the academy’s story to be able to share it in an entertaining and uplifting manner.  We are thrilled to share the production with the descendants and beneficiaries of the people who built the magnificent Oneida Stake Academy building 124 years ago.”
            On the evenings of the performance, the public is invited to bring a donation to help with the building’s restoration as a cultural center/museum of local history. Bleachers erected in the intersection of Oneida and First East will be open for seating at 7:30 p.m. People may also bring blankets for seating to the sides of the bleachers.
            Parking will be available at the South Stake Center and the alley behind the business district in Preston. First East and Oneida will be closed to through-traffic for about one block in each direction from their intersection from 6 p.m. to about 10:30 p.m. both nights.
            Sponsors of the event are the Preston School District, Franklin County, Preston City, Mary Heers and the F. M., Anne G., and Beverly B. Bistline Foundation. 

(The Oneida Stake Academy is the alma mater of Ezra Taft Benson and Harold B. Lee, both presidents of the world-wide Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Other alum of note are LDS general authorities, Richard Edgley, Joe J. Christensen, and Spencer J. Condie, first agent inducted into the FBI Hall of Fame, Samuel Cowley, and Utah State University president, E.G. Petersen. Of almost 40 academies built by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the end of the 19th Century, the OSA is one of just five that are still standing. It is in Preston, Idaho, and is being restored for public use by the Oneida Stake Academy Foundation.)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

More articles on OSA restoration project

MHSF articles on OSA

The Mormon Historic Sites Foundation has several articles on the Oneida Stake Academy's history. You can find them on the link above.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Drone captures majesty of OSA building

OSA from above

Click on the link above to see TJ Burbank's video of the academy from his drone's viewpoint. It's beautiful!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

"Suppose" you come stitch with us on July 24!

So excited to have the ladies at Suppose Quilt Boutique with us on the OSAF's Franklin County Heritage Day on July 24! Come stitch a block with them!

See more at Suppose

Thursday, July 3, 2014

OSAF hosts summer events

                     Author Michael Chrichton, who gained famed when Hollywood brought his book, Jurassic Park to the big screen, once said, “If you don’t know history, you don’t know anything. You are like a leaf not knowing that it is part of a tree.”
            Summer offers on opportunity to connect with history as families recreate together. Showcasing the legacy Franklin County pioneers left their descendants, the Oneida Stake Academy Foundation and its partners have organized three family friendly events this summer, said Nathan Hale, chairman of the Oneida Stake Academy Foundation.

OSA Legacy Bike Race – July 19, 7 a.m.
            First is the Legacy Bike Race, slated for July 19, at 7 a.m.  Racers will begin at the Oneida Stake Academy Cultural Center, 90 E. Oneida, and follow three different courses: an 18-mile, 50-mile and 62.6 mile (Metric Century) so participants can choose their own level of intensity, said Brandon Olsen, committee member.
            “We will have everything from serious riders to families and scout groups so going at your own pace is A-OK,” said another committee member, Casey Judd.
            “This is a perfect opportunity for scout troops to help their community out while earning their biking merit badge,” said Hale, also an avid supporter of the Scouting program. Registration will be $35, with discounts for families, teams and scouts.          
            Participants may register online at For more information, please contact committee chairman, Elliott Larsen at 852-2593.

2ND ANNUAL HERITAGE DAY – July 24, 1 p.m. to dusk
            The Heritage Day debuted last summer as part of Franklin County’s Centennial birthday party. Participants enjoyed their summer afternoon in the shadow of the Oneida Stake Academy playing old fashioned games, bidding then dining on succulent homemade pies, making butter, playing in horseshoe and marble tournaments, and riding in Joe Ward’s stagecoach, and listening to local musicians in the park. There was an antique tractor show, a blacksmith and wool spinners to watch and a Dutch oven dinner to enjoy.
            This year’s celebration will echo last year’s fun with many of the same features, but will also include new elements. For example, this year, new tractors will be featured in the antique tractor show, new exhibits, games, and a visit from the American West Gunfighters.
            For more information, contact OSAF Heritage Day Committee Chairwoman Saundra Hubbard, at 339-1674.

"WITHIN THESE WALLS" (MUSICAL) – Aug. 8 and 9, 8:30 p.m.

            Unforeseen challenges prevented the debut of the Oneida Stake Academy Foundation’s pageant, featuring original music and script, as part of the county’s birthday celebration last year. Nevertheless, the show will go on, said OSAF Pageant Committee chairwoman, Alice King, “and the wait has been worth it.”
            Pulling in vast musical and dramatic talent from within Franklin County’s boundaries, this event promises to be a worthwhile and entertaining evening for its attendees, said King. The script, written by Cecelie Costley and directed by Danielle Dunn, brings local history alive as seen through the eyes of former OSA students and leaders. Motives that pushed pioneers to sacrifice personally to build the elegant structure, and the influence the school had on its students, are emphasized through music written for the show by county native and music world giant, Tyler Castleton.
            Slated to be held in front of the picturesque academy building itself, the pageant will start at 8:30 p.m. on Aug. 8 & 9.

            “We hope these events will help the public feel the unity our ancestors felt in providing a beautiful future for us. Each one will offer us an opportunity to participate in the restoration of that grand symbol of our past,” said Hale. Any fees or donations connected with these events are tax-deductible and will benefit the restoration of the 124-year-old building into a cultural center/museum of local history.

Glenn Beck to speak July 5

GLEN BECK to speak at Dahle Arts Center, in Dayton, Idaho, this Saturday, JULY 5, at 7 p.m. Tickets going fast. Get them at:
Funds raised from this family event benefit restoration of Oneida Stake Academy building, the Worm Creek Opera House, and the Dahle Performing Arts Center. (Photo courtesy of the Preston Citizen.)
See related article at:Glenn Beck

Monday, June 16, 2014

Service with a smile

Special thanks to the missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  They have spent several hours helping to spruce up the Oneida Stake Academy building. We can't say thank you enough! To see more photos, click on the following link: Photo Album on Facebook

OSA Heritage Day music

Adult musicians in the area are invited to contact Anna Gray (825-0792) to participate in the OSA Heritage Day on July 24 in Preston.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Future use predetermined?

In 1975, Newell Hart (pictured above and leaning back), the quintessential historical and preservationist of the Oneida Stake Academy, was going over with readers of the Cache Valley Newsletter (CVN) the many uses a restored Oneida Stake Academy building could be used for.

Let us read what Newell suggested:

“It would fill 15 issues of C.V.N. to outline the many uses to which a restored Academy would be put. There are many rooms and much space. One room should be devoted to the Oneida Stake Academy heritage – photos , mementoes, painting or low-up sketches of some of the famous old characters – Merrill, Geddes, Packer, et all; and another room for P.H.S. – photos of all its athletic teams, trophies, copies of its publications (do you know P.H.S. doesn’t even have a library of its old Quiver yearbooks or blue  White  papers?!!), blow-up photos of some of the decorated balls at the Opera House or Gym. A gallery for exhibiting work by the native artists and craftsmen. There could be a room filled with Roy Sorensen type artifacts – inspired by the best relic collector of ‘em all. There is a new concept in museums. They’re not dead anymore. But that’s another story.
            “In the basement could be a vault for original historical documents of Franklin County. This would be invaluable for students assigned to write an essay, a speaker scheduled to talk in church or in some other public place, news reporters seeking a background to their stories. Diaries, letters, old papers, early Preston business letterheads, copies of all O.S.A. catalogs and documents reportedly sent to Salt Lake City in 1922, microfilm & reader for copies of many-many old-time public and church documents of the area. And how about copies of all those ancestral biographies that are read in Daughters of Pioneer meetings? What happens to them?
            “Meanwhile, upstairs in the restored auditorium: an old time jazz concert once in awhile; an occasional play staged by local or visiting dramatic groups (Utah State Theatre, Northern Cache Valley Dramatic Society, Antique Festival Theatre of Hagerman Valley, the Washakie Theatre Group of Bear Lake); we might even try having our Old-timers Homecoming there. Or, for making a little expense money, we could consider renting it out as a real character setting for class reunions, family get-togethers, wedding receptions and such.”

            Several years ago, without having read this newsletter, the board members of the Oneida Stake Academy Foundation adopted the following uses for the building upon its restoration:

“In its next century of service, each room of the Oneida Stake Academy will tell a story to visitors and patrons. The main floor will house an information center, a historical classroom and a museum/interpretive center.
“The basement will provide a large meeting room, restrooms, and a kitchen. An elevator will make all floors ADA accessible.
“The top floor is a ballroom and will be an elegant setting for important events such as class and family reunions, wedding receptions, and other social gatherings.
“Musicals, plays, concerts and other entertaining events in the academy's ballroom, extended staircase and courtyard will enrich everyone's visit to the academy.”
It seems the OSA building’s future has never been a question. 
Anyone interested in helping to complete the OSA building's restoration as a cultural center/museum, may contact the board members of the Oneida Stake Academy Foundation at We have need of committee members on the following committees: fund-raising, events (OSAF Legacy Bicycle Race on July 19, OSAF Heritage Day on July 24, OSAF Pageant on Aug. 8&9), planned giving, grant writing, construction.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Surplus Sale

Over the years, a few items have been placed in the OSA building to be stored, or were once used for purposes we won't be needing them for in the future. 

So, here's an opportunity make a donation to the Oneida Stake Academy Foundation and take something home with you. 

On Saturday, April 19, from noon - 5 p.m., items we need to move will be sold. Come to the OSA building then to see if there's something you would like.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Essay on the OSA

This essay is taken from the Peter Simon Jensen, 1872-1896, collection at the Church History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Note: This article has been typed in using the grammar and spelling used by the author. It is hand written on three sheets of paper, a sample of which is pictured above.

Essay on the Oneida S. Academy and its founders

Church Academies are constructed according to divine revelation, given to our beloved Prophet Brigham Young, in making special reference to the O.S. Academy and its founders I will give a few items gleaned from the minutes kept by the secretary of the Board of Education of this Stake, which reads as follows.
            This was done in accordance with instructions in circular No. 1, issued by the general Church Board of Education. Our first Stake Board consisted of the following named Brethren.
            Geo. C. Parkinson, Wm. H. Parkinson, Chas. M. Squires, Jas. Chadwick, and Parley P. Willey. Among the first moves made by the Board was to plan for a suitable school Building. Public meetings were held to determine when to build it in the several Wards. Delegates were elected to meet in convention and decide the matter by majority vote. This convention met in Franklin Tithing office July 27, 1889. Several Wards were voted upon as suitable place for the erection of the building. And while there were a majority of the Delegates perferred other Wards to Preston it was thought those in favor of Preston represented a majority of People.
            In order to avoid any ill feelings whatever in this matter it was decided to have the judgment of the first Presidency of the Church.  Prest. Lorenzo Snow was sent to visit the different wards and investigate in behalf of the Board and soon after his report it was decided Preston was the most suitable place in the Stake. 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.
            Desiring the hearty support of all the people throughout the entire Stake. Letters were sent to the Bishops of different wards requesting that from three to five men be appointed to represent the subject in a general Priesthood meeting held in Preston. At this meeting wich occurred July 7, 1898. The Plan drawn on paper By Bro. Young was fully exhibited to all present; and all were in favor of accepting it, contribute there means and use their influence with others to contribute their means to this worthy enterprise. Prest. Solomon H. Hale was engaged to supertend the job work wich was soon commenced. The basement excavated and on July 2nd 1890 late in the afternoon Prest. Geo C. Parkiinson dedicated the corner Stone wich was laid by himself and others under direction of master mason ??? Sommars. From that time the work steadily progressed and in Dec. 16, 1892 they commenced or was in the act of putting on the roof. the dimensions of the Building are 48X60 on the inside. Three stories high including the basement. The present condition of the School is favorable the last winter it has had an average attendance of about 200 a quite a large pescent of those being Academic Students. Owing to busy times wich come on in the spring season the amount of students have greatly decreased.
            By close observation we ned not be left in doubt as to this and similar Institution being of a Divine origin. As the sole object of building them is that all of a moral chacter who wish and are able to persue its courses with profit may be benifited and develop their mental facilities in every direction. Everything that terminates to elevate us originates from God our Eternal father, development of the head and mind is necessary. And Church schools are the agency wich this shall be brought about. We shall in some future time head the world in Education. While we do not wish to ignore the district School in any way, we hold the Academies in preference as we firmly believe they are conducted more in accordance with the principles of revealed religion. As for instance we have among the other branches of study one half an hour devoted to the study of Theology and all are requested to participate.
            A student is capable of learning more easily under the influence and guidance of the Spirit of God We hold that those who attend these schools are under a better influence than those who attend schools that are not conducted upon this basis.
            Great credit is due the People of this Stake who have so Liberally appropriated of their means to complete this Building. When taking into consideration that it has or will when comp finished cost in the neighborhood of $40,000. For all this I do not think for a moment that People feel any the poorer.
            What are the worth of the means contributed to compare with the Blessings that will be derived from this Enterprise. Yes we can already see its blessings being showered among the Youth of this Locality who attend this School. I will also add that the teachers employed are good energetic workers who work for the advancement of those in attendance. The last winter five teachers have been employed including the Music Teacher.
            May God bless and prosper this institution and increase in the hearts of the young the desire to attend it. And may the Parents see its necessity of encouraging their children to this effect.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Castleton puts OSA soul to music

Tyler Castleton

The Preston Citizen featured Tyler Castleton and the music he wrote for the OSAF pageant "If These Walls Could Talk." This new and original musical will be presented Aug. 8-9 in front of the Oneida Stake Academy building (90 E. Oneida, Preston, Idaho). 

You can read about Tyler and his beautiful music at this link: Preston Citizen

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Text of Citizen article found here

Castleton puts heart and soul of OSA building to music

Citizen staff writer

The heartfelt and popular music of Franklin County native, Tyler Castelton, has been performed around the world by such acclaimed artists and superstars as Gladys Knight, Marie Osmond, The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Julie de Azevedo, Eclipse, The Jets, and Martina McBride. His talents are behind the award-winning albums of Latter-day Saint artists Michael McLean, Jericho Road, Hilary Weeks, Kenneth Cope, Jenny Phillips, Cherie Call, Jenny Oaks Baker, Providence, and George Dyer.

Recently Castleton’s talents have come home to roost: Last year his newly organized boy-band Beyond 5 exploded onto the pop scene taking Castleton’s music throughout Asia. At Christmastime, he brought the group to perform at Preston High School and Preston Junior High.

Also last year, he gave his hometown another gift, one the community will receive in August: Castleton has put to music the heart and soul of the Oneida Stake Academy building in three original songs that will be featured in the first ever Oneida Stake Academy Pageant: “If These Walls Could Talk.”

In 2012, Castleton was approached by the late Karla Cattani about the idea of writing music for a script written by Cecelie Costley to be presented as part of the county’s 2013 centennial. Castleton readily agreed to be a part of the production and quickly wrote some tunes. At the time, Castleton was in the middle of producing the Asian tour and debut of Beyond 5, so his time was extraordinarily tight. But in his heart, he knew the music he had promised for the pageant wasn’t right.

So despite the hopes of the Oneida Stake Academy Foundation Pageant Committee’s directors, he scrapped the songs. The pageant therefore, was not a part of Franklin County’s Centennial.

Castleton was determined to find just the “right” message with his songs, however, and rewrote them all. When they finally came together, the music was worth the wait, said Peggy Christensen, who took over the effort at Cattani’s untimely death.

“The music conveys exactly the message and emotions we were hoping for,” she said. Christensen and her husband are currently serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Alice King, Dani Dunn and the OSAF Pageant Committee are moving the production forward.

“From the moment I was approached by Karla Cattani, I knew I wanted to be involved,” said Castleton. “(The academy) has a special place in my heart because it was right there at the center of my youth and growing up and I appreciate it … for the history that’s behind it and what’s happened there long before I came along.”

He took his first music lessons in the building from Marion Newbold. He participated in choir concerts and National Honor Society meeting in the building’s ballroom. Like many youth in the past, Castleton was fascinated by the elegant, history-rich edifice.

“I have with my friends, snuck up into bell tower of the OSA many times, in the middle of the night with my friends, and rung the bell, bringing police many a time in the middle of the night on several occasions.”

But it was a respectful fascination and when he married, Castleton and his new bride held their wedding reception in the same ballroom. “My mother decorated that place like nobody’s business,” he said.

So it was for his appreciation to those people who provided his heritage and training, and his own attachment to the building, that Castleton told Cattani he would write the music despite the conflict it posed with his efforts to debut Beyond 5.

“I knew it would be difficult with my schedule, but … I said I would wholeheartedly. Frankly, I wanted to make a contribution. I wanted to help tell the story of our heritage and our history and of all the wonderful and amazing people who came before us. I feel really privileged to … use what I’ve been given (my talents) to help.”

In addition to the love Castleton feels for his hometown, Costley’s script inspired his compositions, he said. By imagining the mindset and heartfelt feelings of the characters, Castleton wrote the music from the their vantage point.

“I tried to put myself into the place of the townspeople so long ago when the prophet was encouraging them to make education a bigger part of their lives,” he said.

“It was not an easy process because I was juggling so much… And when I did have time, it wasn’t always easy to get ideas to flow.” Castleton said many prayers were said by people in his support group to help him accomplish what he was trying to do.

“They’re support and prayers in my behalf really did help those songs to come about.” Castleton said he is thankful for the opportunity to be involved in the Oneida Stake Academy Foundation Pageant, which will be presented August 8-9.

“I want to give a collective hug to the town of Preston. There are so many meaningful people there that played a part in my growing up. Preston’s a really special place. A big part of my heart will always be there,” he said.

Friday, February 28, 2014

KVNU interview recorded

Click on the KVNU link above, scroll down to, or search for "Oneida Stake Acacemy" to hear the latest interview on KVNU regarding the Oneida Stake Academy's restoration and events sponsored by the Oneida Stake Academy Foundation.