Bolan Schoolhouse & Cultural Center rich with history
28 Jan 2022
Originally a school, the Bolan Schoolhouse & Cultural Center wiggled its way into the center of the hearts of the Bolan community as a historical landmark.
From 1923 to 1956, the building was purposed as a schoolhouse. It was later relocated and used for a general and hardware store by the historic Bolan White family until 1971.
The building also found its way into the farm and antique businesses until 2002, when it came up for sale.
From there, Bolan resident and chairperson of the Bolan Schoolhouse & Cultural Center’s non-profit board Lori Willert, along with her husband, purchased the building and several others that came with the land plot.
On Sept. 22, 2007, the Willerts donated the building to the newly formed non-profit organization to serve the community in new ways than ever before.
With the community’s help, the non-profit board, and grants, the Bolan Schoolhouse & Cultural Center was restored and rehabilitated to become a place for people to gather and meet.
The building is available for rent to host various events, including funeral receptions, graduation celebrations and anniversaries.
The non-profit also uses this space to display community artifacts and host entertainment and educational events for the town.
After a massive flood in Mason City, Willert realized community members needed a place to go in case of a problem or disaster in their homes. She offers up the basement, complete with a full kitchen, washer and dryer and bathroom for those in need.
The basement is also open to riders biking across the country as a place to stay for a night. The Bolan Schoolhouse & Cultural Center is listed on warmshowers.org, a site for biking tourists that can help them find places to stay on their travels.
Willert’s next project is converting a town building into a museum centered around the White family and the 1940s. Since the building’s donation, the Willerts have relocated it beside the schoolhouse and gutted it.
The building is now in the process of renovations while grants are coming in. Descendants of the White family are donating pictures and memorabilia, including a family wedding dress.
Willert hopes to have the museum ready for community enjoyment by the 2022 Bolan Fall Festival