Holt-Delhi Historical Society

Established 2014

A Brief History of the Gunn School, Delhi District No. 7

The Gunn School, Delhi District No. 7, was established in 1867 on the site. The present building was constructed in 1886 at a cost of $899.67. Carpentry was done by S.B. Trumbull, and masonry by B.F. Bringham and McKinney. It replaced an earlier log structure which was built in 1867. The log structure was sold for $10.50 in 1886. 

This building opened for the winter term of 1886-1887. The school was built on the farm of Charles Amos Gunn (1841-1926), a local farmer and early school board member, who gave a 99-year lease on the property for $25.00. The school bell was added in 1899 at a cost of $8.94, paid for by O.H. Chapman. Approximately 100 teachers taught at the Gunn School over the course of its history (see the teachers list below beginning in 1874). The building remained in use as a school until 1957 when the Gunn District merged with Holt Public Schools. 

With the closure of the Gunn School in 1957, Holt Public Schools placed it up for sale. It held several uses over the following decades, including as a church and as the art studio of Natalie Hause. In 1992, in conjunction with Delhi Township's sesquicentennial celebration, the Gunn School was named an Ingham County Historic Site by the Ingham County Historical Commission. 

In the mid-1990s, J.K. Moore, the owner of the school, notified Delhi Charter Township of his desire to sell the historic structure. A local church had expressed interest in the land and had the intention of demolishing the school. Then-assistant township manager and local historian Inge Kyler went into action to save the structure. Kyler notified Holt Public Schools. A committee to save the Gunn School was formed, co-chaired by Kyler and Holt Board of Education member Margaret Livensparger. At the strong urging of Livensparger, Holt Public Schools purchased the school house from J.K. Moore in 1998 for $27,000.00. Over the next five years work was done to restore the school for use as an educational facility by HPS. Lifelong Delhi Township resident Elsie Horstmyer Kahres was a major benefactor of the project, having attended the school in her youth. A watercolor portrait of Mrs. Kahres now hangs in the school. In 2003, during the construction of the new Holt High School, many contractors generously donated their time to work on the Gunn School simultaneously. 

Devastatingly, after the school's restoration a pipe burst and destroyed the newly-refinished original wood floors as well as the original teacher's desk and an original record book kept inside. Though the loss of those original features is still felt today, new flooring was installed shortly thereafter. 
An archive of record books were kept by lifelong Holt resident Hilda Menger, whose family farm was located just across Washington Road from the school. Upon Menger's death in 1995, the books were auctioned with her estate and held in private hands for 25 years. The archive was contributed to the Holt-Delhi Historical Society collection in 2021, visit Gunn School Records for more details. 

In 2017, during the celebration of Delhi Township's 175th anniversary, a new Ingham County historical marker was dedicated and placed at the school, replacing the dated and tattered original marker. In a beneficial partnership with Holt Public Schools, the Holt-Delhi Historical Society has hosted a summer series of public open houses at the school since 2017. The open houses allow infrequent access to passersby and all those who wish to step back in time into a piece of Holt's history. 

An addition to the school in 2021 was a handcrafted grandfather clock built by lifelong Delhi Township resident and proprietor of the Kahres Dairy Farm, Martin H. Kahres (1900-1984) in 1979. The clock was donated by the Kahres family, see Kahres Dairy Farm Collection for more details on this collection.

Gunn School Teachers, 1874-1957

Cora L. Skinner (1874-1875)

Addie Shigley (1875-1876)

Alice Knight (1876)

Mary Black (1876-1877)

Mrs. Ed Smitt (1877)

Milton Gunn (1877-1878)

Mary Bausch (1878)

Katie Black (1878-1880)

Mary Churchill (1880)

Israel Ohlinger (1880)

Hattie Welch (1880-1881)

Charles A. Maynard (1882)

Minnie Hill (1882)

Clarence E. Holmes (1882-1883)

Mina Clark (1883-1884)

Delia E. Dillon (1884)

Charlotte Every (1884)

Alice Lyon (1884-1885)

R. Augusta Mulliken (1885)

Arthur B. Mitchell (1885)

R.A. Stone (1885-1886)

Clara Smith (1886)


Anna DeLamater (1886-1890)

Lulu M. Coon (1890-1891)

Alta M. Hilliard (1891 and 1892)

Rena Fowler (1891)

Etta Price (1892)

R.H. Wilson (1892-1893)

Inez Abbott (1893)

Amos Everett (1893-1894)

William B. Chapman (1894)

August Botsford (1894-1895)

Grace C. Park (1895)

Zella Abbott (1895)

Seneca T. Pratt (1895-1896)

T.J. Klooz (1896-1897)

William M. Keller (1897-1898)

W.B. Chapman (1898)

S.E. Driver (1898-1899)

Amanda Fiedler (1899)

Ray Lewis (1899-1900)

O. Charles Chapman (1900-1901)

R.B. Hilliard (1901-1902 and 1903)

Mattie King (1902)

Lela C. Warne (1903)

Lee Binding (1903-1904)

Elizabeth Andrews (1904-1906)

Margaret Spence (1906-1908)

Edna Matthew (1908-1910)

Auburn D. Winchell (1910-1911)

Teresa Price (1911-1913)

Agnes Wilson (1913-1914)

Ethel Myers (1914-1917)

Ruth Van De Vusse (1917-1918)

June M. Beal (1918-1919)

Alta Swaffield (1919-1920)

Mona Leach (1920-1921)

Olive Hecock (1921-1923)

Agnes Gregg (1923-1924)

Emily Payne (1924-1925)

Marian Pifer Berry (1925-1927, 1930-1931)

Jean Bartlett (1927-1929)

Maurita Walker (1929-1930)

Grace Miller (1931-1932)

Alberta Keeney (1932-1936)

Dorothy Lang (1936-1937)

Mrs. Adolph (1937)

Evelyn Clark (1937-1941)

Mrs. Elsie Dwight (1941-1947)

Bernice Smith (1947)

Mary Gaskill Greubel (1947-1948)

Bette McFarland Schmidtman (1948-1949)

Mrs. Nada Clark (1949-1957)

Mrs. Belle Flinchbaugh, helper (1955-1957)

E.W. Banks Schoolmaster's Desk & Bell

Donated by the Kahres family, 2021

Edward Wiler Banks (1843-1925) was a resident of Lansing Township in the Forest community around Forest and Aurelius Roads. He was a travelling minister and active in education, having served as chairman of the Forest Road School board (Lansing Township District No. 7). As an active community member, Banks was a preacher and a teacher in the old Forest Road schoolhouse, which marks the origins of this desk, likely from the late nineteenth or early twentieth century. 

As a genuine artifact from a local one room school, the Banks desk and bell are now part of the Holt-Delhi Historical Society collection and are on permanent display in the Gunn School.