If you’ve been following Bear Creek for a bit, you likely know that we have reclaimed an abandoned schoolhouse for our fiber arts classes. If not, then let me introduce you to the Nome Schoolhouse! We converted this charming building from a ghost-town relic into an amazing art studio, hotel, and event space. But we haven’t forgotten its roots, which is why we host a Nome reunion every two years.
We just celebrated the 37th biennial reunion at the schoolhouse itself. This was the first time the reunion had happened at the schoolhouse since it closed in 1966! We bought it back in 2018, and we were excited to welcome members of the Nome Alumni Association back to the school where they grew up.
It was absolutely amazing to see more than 100 former students all gather here in this place. We’d researched the schoolhouse a lot before we decided to purchase and renovate it. Now, we were actually meeting the people who we saw in the yearbooks and old literature! We truly felt the humanity of our efforts. This was both an opportunity to showcase the restored building and a wonderful way to gather the alumni in a place that had so much meaning to them.
The alumni reunion was just one evening, but it was definitely a memorable event. We had people who graduated way back in the 50s and 60, and it was so wonderful to see their faces light up when they saw their old schoolhouse! We heard stories about their favorite teachers, where they sat during class, and even where their first kiss happened. So sweet!
A lot of them told us how dismayed and sad they were to see their old school sitting there rotting, just part of a ghost town. Hearing that and giving them the chance to see it alive and beautiful again just made our hearts sing — like bringing this back to life. Many alumni told us they never expected the opportunity to step inside the schoolhouse again. This all made us feel that much better about our decision to reclaim and restore the Nome Schoolhouse.
We actually attended the last reunion so we could meet the alumni of this fantastic building. It was really important to us to preserve the spirit of the Nome Schoolhouse, which is why we’ve kept a lot of its historical elements. For our grand opening, which we did on July 1-4, 2021, just a few days after the reunion, we showcased several artifacts that were donated or given back to the school by the school board and some alumni.
The Nome Schoolhouse now houses our fiber mill to support our Needle Felting Academy, classrooms, event space, and a museum of school memorabilia that the alumni absolutely loved. Overall, it’s still a place for learning and connection, and we’re honored to be part of the Nome Schoolhouse legacy. Join us for our next event, a very special schoolhouse dinner, and be sure to book your spot in our basket weaving retreat in October and quilting retreat in November.