A place of community since 1912, the Venersborg Schoolhouse has served multiple roles throughout its existence, but, lately, community events have been what has tied the rural area east of Battle Ground together.
The Venersborg Historic Preservation Society maintains the schoolhouse grounds, hosts community potlucks and more.
“I think the most important thing we do here is build community,” society member Jacqueline Freeman said. “I think when we have our potlucks inviting all the community to come meet people that live here, that they share the roads with but have never met the people before, you know, that’s really important.”
The schoolhouse, located at 24309 NE 209th St. near Battle Ground, is the only commercial building other than the next-door church, Freeman added.
“So I hope the community really takes advantage of coming to events that we have here,” Freeman said. “The more we get to know each other, the more friends we have.”
A miniature community library is relatively new to the schoolhouse grounds. Dave Tripp, who the group referred to as the handyman, built the structure to look like the schoolhouse itself.
“We hope people will stop by and use it because it’s there for the community, but most people don’t know it’s up yet,” Tripp said.
The schoolhouse’s history is further preserved thanks to a grant in 2017-18 from the Clark County Historic Promotion Grants Program, which allowed Freeman to create a Talking History of Venersborg.
“We interviewed probably eight or nine different people who’d been living here long term who knew the history, and we wanted to make sure we caught them before they got too old to remember the history,” Freeman said.
The talking history project can be found at venersborgschoolhouse.com/history-2/.
One upcoming event, the Venersborg Schoolhouse Holiday Bazaar will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 18. Local vendors with handcrafted items and provided drinks will be available during the event.
The schoolhouse can be rented for events such as birthday parties, holiday gatherings and more. Recent renovations, such as wheelchair accessible ramps, new heating and electrical and indoor plumbing, have made the grounds even better.
Tripp maintains the property and building in his handiman status.
“Being so old, it’s not a typical foundation as you might see today,” Tripp said. “So we’ve had to go under and reinforce the foundation. We’ve had to redo the roof. We’ve had the outside painted. … There’s stuff that always [has] to be done because, like any house, we always have that maintenance work that has to occur.”
Dennis Moore, a longtime resident of Venersborg and now a volunteer with the Boy Scouts of America, has utilized the scouts to help with renovations and little projects around the grounds.
Over the years, Boy Scouts have completed their Eagle Scout projects at the schoolhouse, Moore added.
“I could spend a lot of time pointing at all the things that we’ve done to the schoolhouse to help keep it going,” Moore said. “It’s a vital asset to the community.”