Ganges Fractional District Number 1 School House (Currently Peach Belt Gallery)


Description of Historic Site:  The oldest and most preserved one-room school house in Allegan county is the Ganges Fractional District No. 1 Schoolhouse built in1868.  The schoolhouse sit on the corner of M-89 and 63rd Street and has not moved or changed it size since it opened its doors.  Now known as the “Peachbelt Studio and Gallery” owned by Dawn Stafford was given this name because M-89 ran through Michigan’s most important peach orchards.  Peachbelt area peaches were known as Michigan’s “gold nuggets” in the Chicago food market a 100 years ago.  The schoolhouse was originally a wooden structure, about 1898 the wood siding was taken off and brick veneer put in its place.  In 1961 the schoolhouse was annexed to Fennville Public School who used the building until 1968 for single grades.  In 1971 it was sold and used as a church for migrant workers it then became an antique shop.  In 1977 Phil and Miriam Van Eyl restored the building including brick repair, restoring-repairing all windows, repairing the roof and bell tower, and finding a front door that looked like the original which they found in Chicago.  The Van Eyl family used it as a weekend cottage.  In recent years a second restoration was done by Dawn Stafford who refurbished the interior and carefully removed the roof-rebuilding and replaced it with hand-nailed cedar shingles based on preservation standards.  The most famous graduate of the schoolhouse was Clifford E. Paine who designed and engineered the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

Address: 6292 124th Ave. Fennville, MI