McClain High School as painted by James Roads, 1956 McClain graduate. This and paintings of other school buildings in the Greenfield area will be on display during the McClain 100 celebration Labor Day Weekend.
McClain High School as painted by James Roads, 1956 McClain graduate. This and paintings of other school buildings in the Greenfield area will be on display during the McClain 100 celebration Labor Day Weekend.

By Harold Schmidt
Greenfield Historical Society

Greenfield Historical Society will be helping celebrate the 100th anniversary of McClain High School Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 5-6. During the weekend, society volunteers will man a booth in the first floor of McClain High School to share the history of the building and sell the society’s "McClain High School, A Century of Tradition."

We look forward to talking to visitors and sharing the story of the building. On Saturday, we will also open the B&O Depot and Konneker Education Museum between the hours 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

At the Depot, in addition to viewing the military and railroad displays, visitors will be able to view the mural that Mr. McClain displayed in his offices at the TAPATCO factory. This mural shows the process of harvesting kapok from trees in Southeast Asia and preparing it for shipment to the United States for use in McClain’s products.

The Konneker Education Museum shows various photos and artifacts from education in Greenfield over the years. In addition, local history paintings by Jim Roads will be on display at the museum. These will include scenes from the Rainsboro area that Mr. Roads remembers from his youth.

Mr. Roads has been described as “Grandpa Moses” because he paints in the primitive style similar to Grandma Moses, the well-known painter from Vermont.

Jim likes to say that he paints a story, not a painting. He loves to share the story behind each of his paintings whether it’s the history of a building or the significance of the automobile in the painting. Talking to Jim about his paintings is always a fascinating experience.

In addition to his local history paintings on display at the Konneker, Roads will also have a display of paintings of local school buildings. These include various one room schools, South Salem Academy, schools in the Rainsboro and New Petersburg area, Greenfield Academy and “Old Central," among others. Jim’s painting of McClain High School was featured in the society’s new Book, "McClain High School, A Century of Tradition."

While enjoying the celebration, stop in at the society’s booth, visit with Jim Roads in the Old Gym and stop by the Konneker Education Museum and the B&O Depot.