Dufur Museum - School House
The School House

The School House at the Museum is the restored Endersby School from District # 57

The Endersby School was originally located at the Endersby Junction, 4 miles from Highway 197 on 8 Mile Rd. The town and school were named after Captain W.E. Endersby, a wagon train captain of 1860. Records show that the school building was built as a grange in 1892 used as a school them sold to the school district in 1907. The school operated until 1935, upon closing the students numbering 11 were bused to The Dalles.

When the building was no longer used, it became the property of Ted and Barbara Davidson. In 1995 Barbara Davidson donated the school to the Dufur Historical Society.

The school was moved to its present site in 1994 by a group of local volunteers. Howard Green, owner of Green Construction , a local resident built and donated the foundation. Due to lack of funds the building remained untouched until 2001 when Meyer Memorial awarded the Dufur Historical Society a grant to restore the school. The restoration began in May of 2002 and the building was dedicated in May of 2003.

Picture of Sir Galahad

Mildred Mortenson, a Scandinavian with blond curly hair, taught at the Endersby School in 1920. Mildred wanted the inside of the school house painted. So she decided to have a box social. The judge or auctioneer told the boys in her class that her box lunch was shaped like a log cabin. The boxes usually went for $1.50, but three of the farm boys ran the price up to $20.00 trying to shut out the other. After buying the paint there was extra money feeling like the money wasn't hers she bought the picture of Sir Galahand that still hangs in the school.

Dufur School Bell

In 1933 Harriett Gill who wrote for her school newspaper was asked by Ray McGuire editor of the Dufur Dispatch to talk with pioneers and early residents, and write articles about little known or near-forgotten facts concerning early Dufur.

Harriett started by talking with W.H. Staats, he told of the early day political battles.

It was in the late eighties, during the years when Republicans and Democrats alike took their party policies and party differences quite seriously. In those early days Dufur School had a large brass bell. It was the custom then for each political party to herald a victory at the polls by ringing the bell.

In 1884 the Democrats placed Cleveland in the presidency and Dufur's party members tolled the bell long and loud much to the chagrin of the local Republicans. Four years later the Republican, Harris was elected. News of his election was brought to Dufur late at night and local Republicans waited until the next morning to announce their victory. But they waited to long. In the early dawn of the following morning when the group arrived at the schoolhouse to take their turn at ringing the bell it was gone .

The bell to this day has remained unfound, although it is believed to be buried somewhere up Ramsey way. A $50.00 reward offered by irate Republicans went unclaimed. Many believed that Ed and Paul Henderson, two staunch Democrats, knew more about the missing bee than was let on, but nothing was ever proved.

According to a story Ed Henderson told some years later, the bell is buried four feet deep, 30 paces north of a Red June apple tree growing near the Slusher Ranch. However, a search party dug up almost an acre of ground there on one occasion and found nothing.

In 1973 Harriett Gill Moe and her sister Kay Gill Laries, with their husbands returned to Dufur to live on the Gill portion of the former Slusher Ranch. Their grandfather, Thomas Slusher, homestead the ranch in 1861.

The house on the ranch where the Laries were to live had a wood burning furnace in the basement and they decided to convert it to oil-burning. Knowing they would need a storage tank, they decided to excavate just west of the back porch. Using a back hoe to dig, they struck metal. Knowing metal would damage the back hoe they stopped.

As they all stood there, Will, Harriett's husband said, "What's that?" Kay said "Oh that's the old bell." The rest of the watchers laughed and joked at that. Will thought it was the roof of the septic tank. As they began digging they could see it was oddly shaped. As they unearthed the object to their surprise it was the bell.

After the bell was cleaned in Portland it was used in homecoming parades and for display at the threshing bees. Harriett donated the bell to the Society in 1976.

The bell was on display here until 2002 when it was placed in the bell tower of the Endersby School.