Generous donation helped purchase former Pateros school building
The community of Methow — and friends from around the valley — gathered for a potluck last week to celebrate the formal dedication of their community club, the culmination of remarkable generosity and years of perseverance by residents of the small town and the lower Methow Valley.
Methow community member Joe Kitzman provided a brief chronology of the 102-year-old building and its central role in the community. When the Pateros School District considered selling the old schoolhouse, “some angels landed,” Kitzman said.
Tayler Mae Smith joined Kitzman on the lawn to display a plaque in memory of her mother, Dena Lyn Lee Meadows, who pledged part of her estate to help the Methow community purchase the building.
Meadows, whose family has been in the area for generations, spent summers in her house near Gold Creek for a dozen years and moved there full-time several years ago. Shortly after she made the move, she fell ill. Before she died in 2020, Meadows talked with her daughter about donating money so the club could buy the building. Her estate provided the bulk of the funding, although other family and community members also contributed.
The plaque, which will be hung in the community club, features a photo Kitzman took in the wee hours on a winter morning when he stopped by the club to turn on the lights and heat before their weekly coffee gathering, along with a picture of Meadows.
The community purchased the building last year from the Pateros School District, which still owned it, even though there haven’t been classes in the one-room schoolhouse since 1947. But the building hasn’t sat idle. For the past 70 years, the Methow community has gathered there for the weekly coffees, family reunions, weddings and funerals.
Dena Meadows wanted to do something for the community that locals couldn’t afford to do on their own, her mother, Rebecca Meadows, said.
The property transaction also transferred 1/10 acre from the school’s 1-acre parcel to Douglas/Okanogan Fire District 15 to expand the fire station, which is on the adjoining parcel.