Revisiting the former Shiga Elementary School

2021-05-27

I visited former Shiga Elementary School last year which is in Saku City, Nagano Prefecture. The school was closed in 1990 due to integration.
The first photo was taken last year.

I took the photo from the road in front of the school gate. The building on the left is a gymnasium completed in 1955.
And this year, I visited the former Shiga Elementary School again during the May holidays.

However…. The gymnasium that should have been there has disappeared. The building was demolished, trees were cut, and it became a clean square.
I wanted to adjust the composition to the same as the first photo, so I tried to match the size of the gatepost at first. Then, the pavement on the ground does not match. Apparently, the gatepost has been retracted a few meters.

When I resized it again, it became the second photo. The position of the stump is now aligned with the position of the original tree.

Well, as of last year, the gymnasium was pretty damaged, so I think it couldn’t be helped to dismantle it.

By the way, where did the stone monument “Site of former Shiga Elementary School" in front of the gymnasium go? I don’t think they would have disposed of it, so it must have been moved somewhere.

I found it. It was relocated in front of the south school building. However, the direction was reversed. The title “Site of former Shiga Elementary School" is on the back side, and the school history is facing the front.
(The following photos taken this year will not be dated. Only if I use last year’s photos, I will write the year and month.)

It seems that the trees around the gym were cut down and given to people who wanted to use them as firewood. There was still a notice paper tied to a tree.  It said, “We will give you the wood generated by the tree cutting".
There were still a few trees left in front of the south school building.

This south school building was built in 1901. And the other school buildings are also still standing.
But I don’t know how long they will remain as they are not in use.

The following photo was from the website of the Geographical Survey Institute.
It was taken in 1975, so the school was still in use. The swimming pool is still there.

(1) is the south school building. (2) is the demolished gymnasium.
The north school building (3) was built in 1924.
And (4) is probably built in 1948, which I didn’t know when I wrote the last article.
The school building (4) seems to have been dismantled, as a prefab building now stands there. The aerial photo (taken in 1989) used in the Closed School Commemorative Magazine still shows the building, so I guess it was rebuilt after the school was closed, and it was used as a facility of city office . (Unconfirmed)

(5) is the building in the next photo, which used to be the school lunch kitchen and meeting room.

Well, the main part of today’s story is from here.
According to the history of Shiga Elementary School, the school started in 1873 as the Shijin School, which was built in the precincts of Hozenji Temple. It was renamed Shiga School in 1882, and a new school building was built at the current location in 1901.
Naturally, I thought that the South School Building was the oldest building.

However.
The building (6) in the aerial photograph.
It is said that this is a relocation of the Shijin School, which was built in 1873.
I learned about it later, so I hardly took any pictures of the building this time. Fortunately, I had some that I took when I visited last year, so I will post those.

From another direction. On the left is the South School Building.

If I use only last year’s photos, I feel like this building has disappeared, so I’ll also include the ones I took this year. I didn’t take many pictures of this building this time because I was paying attention to the changes from last year. But the building is still there, so it’s okay.

I learned that this was a relocated Shijin School thanks to an exhibition panel at the former Osawa Elementary School.  It had been written as “Shijin School still remains (built in 1873)".
Later, when I rechecked the Closed School Commemorative Magazine, I found that the school building layout map also clearly stated that it was the “former Shijin School". It seems that the buiding was used as a warehouse before the school was closed.

So I found out that this building is the oldest in the school area,  but the roof has been replaced, so I guess it is not in the same condition as when it was completed.
I wonder what Saku City plans to do with the school building in the future.

【reference】
“Shiga School 100 Year History [Translated from Japanese.]" 1974 Edited and published by Saku City Shiga Elementary School 100th Anniversary Project Promotion Committee
“Closed School Commemorative Magazine, Memory at Shiga Elementary School  [Translated from Japanese.]" March 1990, published by Shiga Elementary School Closing Commemorative Project Executive Committee