This Monday evening we held an ice cream social at the historic Oakdale School House located on the refuge. As the clock struck 5:00 and families began to trickle in, Dave Bear, Chairman of the Oakdale School Project, began with some opening remarks and the promise of homemade ice cream and treats. After everyone had sufficiently loaded up with bowls of sugar, Mike Moore shared a bit about the history of the school house and his book on the subject.
Oakdale School House was constructed in 1869 and was still in use as a school when the government bought the land in 1941 for munitions testing, though it was eventually used for storage. Amazingly, the one-room limestone building still stands despite the frequent bombings in its surroundings.
The building has been given a bit of love, including a lime green paint job in the interior. When asked why that "god-awful shade of green" was chosen, Mike replied that paint chips of that exact color were found beneath the windowsills. However, former students that returned remembered the school house being "green but not that green". Memory is a funny thing.
People took short van tours of the refuge after the talk and explored the school house as I snapped photos and enjoyed my ice cream. Though all were delicious, I would have to say the lemon flavor was my favorite. After we had packed up everything after the event and some of the leftover sweets were given to me for the intern house (I'm not complaining), it was time to head home. It was a fun event with several families that all seemed to enjoy themselves. Plus, getting paid to take photos and eat ice cream was pretty sweet (sorry, I had to).