For more than 30 years the Bayou Meto Schoolhouse is where country children learned their three R's, 'readin, 'ritten, and rithemtic!
Today it offers a different interruption of the three R’s... rest, relaxation, and recreation!!
Being listed on the Arkansas State Registry of Historical Places means that The Schoolhouse Lodge, has traveled through time and created many cherished memories for generations. The property on which The Bayou Meto School sat was carved out of a niche of farm ground that was donated by O.C. and Etta Lumsden, with the intention and desire to insure that an education was provided for the children of area farmers. Today on the kitchen wall is a plaque that reads "oh, the stories these old walls could tell"! So much truth resides in these few words... from paddling's, to pie suppers... from recitations to 'rithemtic... children learned life lessons, how to respect others, work hard, and honor God, country, and family. It wasn't an easy life, but no one knew it was hard! They walked to school, one rode a horse, and they all carried their lunches in a pail or paper sack. There were three grades in each room of this two-room school! The two classrooms were separated by the stage which was the place for plays, recitals, end of school programs, and local gatherings. It was here that construction paper chains decorated the Christmas tree, a student’s dad cut down on his farm, and homemade gifts were exchanged.
Keeping the children warm was also a challenge, wood burning stoves sat in each room and the fire had to be stoked often to keep the children warm on cold winter mornings. (If you look closely you can still see the hatchet marks on the floor where the fire wood was given an extra chop to make it fit in the stove!). Each morning a prayer was said, a bible verse read, and the Pledge of Allegiance recited... these were things that were held dear and were not to be forgotten.
As per the original agreement, after the Bayou Meto School closed in 1960, the property reverted back to the Lumsden Family. In 2001 the old schoolhouse was refurbished and turned into a lodge and was thusly named The Schoolhouse Lodge. During the grand opening a former student recited a poem that he had delivered as a young student from the original stage that now serves as the lodge kitchen. The Schoolhouse Lodge has the distinction of being the only existing school building, of the seventy-two school districts, that still stands on the original location.In 2003 the Schoolhouse Lodge was accepted into the Arkansas Register of Historic Places for its association with the educational history of Bayou Meto and also as one of the last remaining historic school buildings in the area.
There is a continuing interest in the schoolhouse. Many people, who attended school there, come by to see the new blended with the old. Their faces reflect the memories that are stored within their hearts and that are still an integral part of their lives. Conversations flow easily when they recall the stories of an era gone by.Rural education, simply expressed, was good. The students that experienced that style of learning knew the fear of doing wrong, and respect for those that were helping them do things right. There was encouragement when a good effort was made, and a message sent to the parents when someone failed to try. There were stern words when rules were broken and they received directions to the edge of the playground to cut their own switch when the infractions were more serious.
The Bayou Meto Community is proud of its heritage. The weaving of stories from yesterday to today allows The Schoolhouse Lodge to continue to be a part of the life of the many people that have passed through its doors. Memories are still being created.As those special times are shared with us, one more strand of history is woven and the legacy of the Bayou Meto School continues.
We are family-owned and our desire is for you to feel at home when you're here, so the entire lodge is rented just to you!
Call (870) 946-3383 or (870) 830-0151 and tell us you’re ready to make The Schoolhouse Lodge your own "little house on the Grand Prairie"!!!