LOWELL | In recent years, when two historic school buildings faced demolition, a group of locals emerged to — literally — pick up the pieces for perpetuity.
Dubbing themselves the School Memories Committee, members belong to Colfax Masonic Lodge 378, the Three Creeks Historical Association or they simply are interested in historic preservation.
"It all started with the tearing down of the high school, and then we went on to the grade school," said Bill Marshall, a former Lowell Town Council member and 1958 graduate of the former high school on Oakley Avenue.
When the former high school building, built in 1914, was to be razed in 2011, Marshall along with Budd Ballou, Mick Moore and others gained permission to remove the cornerstone placed there by the Colfax Lodge in 1928. They also removed certain, architectural features from the brick building.
Workers hefted 150-pound pieces from over each of two archways engraved with the words, "Lowell School."
Those pieces and others were incorporated into a memorial fronting Ind. 2 at the present Lowell High School campus' western boundary.
"It was a tremendous amount of work to do the memorial," Marshall said.
School Memories Committee member Caren Marshall, Bill Marshall's wife, said five generations of her family graduated from the high school.
Ballou said the group's efforts received tremendous community support for the memorial.
Iconic items removed from the Old Grade School, which was demolished this year, were given new homes by the committee.
Caren Marshall said she was happy to see that because four generations of her family attended the school and she lived near the building.
The historical society has some items and the Masonic Lodge 378 erected an indoor memorial mounted on doors from the former high school. It includes the grade school cornerstone, a framed 48-star U.S. flag from the high school and pictures of town founder Melvin Halsted.