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The Eastern Star School was located a few miles south of Nixa near the present day Riverdale community. The school was started in 1901 and was consolidated with the Nixa School System after the 1925 school term.
The Eastern Star School has also been known locally as the Bloody Ridge School. Paul Johns in the book Unto These Hills offers an explanation of why the school was thus known.
”83-year-old Ben Turner, who has lived near the site all of his life and attended school there, relates the story of why it was so called. ‘Back when it was being built, two men were working on the roof. They were both sitting on the ridge of the roof when they got into a disagreement.’ Ben doesn’t think they actually came to blows, but folks still began to call the School the Bloody Ridge School.”
Another interesting part of the school’s history is that Ma Barker’s sons attended it. The school was featured in an A&E documentary film about the notorious gang.
The last teacher’s book is in the possession of Dr. Glenn Turner, Ben’s son. He was on the School Board when the Eastern Star School, District 47 consolidated with the Nixa School District. Julianne Turner Short, Ben Turner’s granddaughter, transcribed the following records from the book.
Eastern Star School List of Students 1919-1925
Eastern Star School Record of Visitors 1920-1924