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Farewell event set for St. John's School

The 1922 school that sits near the corner of Will Avenue and Lemay Ferry Road soon will be razed to make way for the Mehlville School District's new early childhood center.

But the public will have a chance to visit the old south county building and walk its halls one last time Saturday, Nov. 8. Community members will be able to say goodbye to St. John's Elementary School from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Those who attend the farewell to St. John's social event will be able to watch a video including 90 photos of the building, the people who filled it and the events that took place in it.

"It's important for the community," Bill Nottelmann, president of the Mehlville/Oakville Alumni Association, told the Call. "It was the first school in the community — the first Mehlville grade school. A lot of folks have gone there and would like to go through the building before it is razed."

The alumni association-sponsored event also will offer free tours/walk-throughs of the 81-year-old structure, which has undergone some serious changes during its presence on Will Avenue.

The building originally only had six rooms upstairs, two rooms downstairs and an auditorium, according to Nottelmann.

Also, the building did not have either indoor plumbing or a telephone system.

"But there really wasn't anyone to call," he said. "Not many people had phones in those days."

In 1925, the school began to include a high school curriculum and by 1930, it congratulated its first graduating class of two students, he said.

In 1981, the school ceased offering classes to elementary school students and in recent years, has served as the South County Education Center. Education Center classes recently transferred to a site on Meramec Bottom Road.

Alumni, previous teachers and principals of St. John's have been invited to the event, but Nottelmann said he encouraged the whole community to go and visit the school one final time.

Cookies and punch will be provided and people, he said, whether alumni or other community members, will have a chance to stand around and remember St. John's Elementary School.

Also, the association will be selling copies of "Reflections: a History of the Mehlville School District and its Communities" during the event.

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