To Our Conference Coordinators 2015, Joan and Dale:
To Our Conference Coordinators 2015, Joan and Dale:
This is the time to register on-line or by mail for the 2015 Annual Country School Association Conference. If you're wondering about programming, the link below offers a partial list of the upcoming presentations for the annual conference to be held this year at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York, from June 14-17, 2015.
The second link offers information on the area and the college.
June 14- Afternoon-Evening Registration
June 15- Presentations
June 16- Presentations
June 17- Schoolhouse Tour
Top off your conference enjoyment with the full day tour of local one room schools in the Saratoga area.
For registration information, scroll to the next newsletter entry.
2015 CSAA Conference to be Held at Skidmore College
Hello Country School Enthusiasts:
Registration is now open for the 2015 Country School Association of America Conference at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York.
The Washington County Fair Farm Museum with its Perkins Hollow one room schoolhouse is hosting the Annual Conference of the Country School Association of America June 14-17, 2015. We are pleased to bring this national event to the Washington and Saratoga County region of New York State.
The Skidmore College campus and the Washington County Fair Farm Museum will be the locations for two days of presentations and workshops on early schooling, curriculum and preservation of historic country schools. There will also be local displays and presentations featuring area schoolhouses, the slate industry, the Ticonderoga pencil, and other related topics. The third day bus tour will take you through the slate region of New York and Vermont while you visit seven restored/preserved country schools.
Make your reservations soon as Saratoga is the summer place to be!
You have a choice of online registration or a paper registration with 2 payment options:
1) Online registration with payment by credit card or check:
2) Paper form with payment by check:
When you use online registration at www.CountrySchoolAssociation.org you will have to make your selection for payment by check or credit card as indicated below. If paying by check, you will mail it to the address provided online.
We look forward to welcoming you to Skidmore College, in upstate New York in June.
Should further information be required, please do not hesitate to contact me.
(3) For a brochure with additional information:
Joan & Dale Prouty
CSAA 2015 Conference Co-chairs
2015 CSAA Conference Organizers Seek Proposals
"Celebrating Country Schools: Slates, Salutes and Scholars"
June 14th -17th
Saratoga Springs, New York
You are invited once again to submit your proposals to present at the 2015 Country School Associaiton of America Conference to be held At Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York from June 14th-17th.
Join enthusiasts from across the country in preserving and promoting the preservation of our remaining historic country schools. Share your knowledge, research or interest in all phases of schoolhouse history, re-enactment and preservation.
Proposals should be submitted by February 1, 2015 for consideration.
Detailed information on the Call for Proposals can be found on the link below:
If you wish to share this information in print, feel free to print the palm card below for distribution. Hope to see you in Saratoga Springs!
For additional information on the Saratoga Springs area access the CSAA brochure below:
Kalona Plays Host to Country School Preservationists
Submitted by Sarah Uthoff
The 15th Annual Iowa Country School Conference drew a capacity audience at the Kalona Historical Village in Kalona, Iowa on October 10th and 11th. People interested in one-room schools, their history, and their restoration filled the room to overflowing to hear one-room school experts both local and national.
Preservation Iowa and Bill Sherman organize this event each year traveling to different locations around the state. The annual event has a slightly different theme and this
year, nestled in the heart of Amish country in Iowa, the theme was definitely Amish schools. The Amish population has been quietly growing and helping to fuel a resurgence of the number of one-room schools around the country.
According to Mark Dewalt from Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC, the number of Amish one-room schools has been growing at such a pace that they no longer can track the number of them. In the Kalona area the Amish schools are almost all former public one-room schools and while their practices are not the same, they serve as a living window on how such schools are used.
Other out of state speakers included Dr. Deborah Mink of Indiana University Southeast, Diane McGowen of Chicago, Tom Bobrofsky of the Reed School in Neillsville, Wisconsin, and Susan Webb of Birmingham, Alabama.
Webb’s presentation was of special interest to Iowans as she talked about the Latta’s Book for Teachers a resource produced by the Latta School Supply Company headquartered right here in Cedar Falls, Iowa. This useful guide was used by one-room school teachers around the country.
Another point of Iowa interest was Katherine Martin, current director of the UNI Center for Rural Education, who gave an update on their project to collect one-room school records from across the state in one place or at least list where they are housed.
A special display was set up by Jane and Paul Moody of Quincy, Illinois of numerous school antiques they’ve collected. The Moody's exhibit serves as a movable museum that has delighted audiences across the midwest.
A strong element of the conference was the only national schoolhouse organization, the Country School Association of America (www.countryschoolassociation.org). While the Iowa group is not a regional branch of CSAA, the connection is strong. Sarah Uthoff shared information about the organization and Dale and Joan Prouty traveled all the way from Hudson Falls, New York to talk about what they have planned for the 2015 national conference.
There were several special events during the conference. A silent auction of three quilted wall hangings served as a fundraiser for the organization, including a one-room school wall hanging. Conference participants toured the historic village. There was a piper, complete with kilt, who played during supper. The first day ended with Michael Zahs talking about one-room school programs, introducing a collection of puppets used in a one-room school and displaying a pitcher that his mother had won in a spelling bee at a one-room school.
The conference concluded on Saturday with a tour of one-room schools around the area. Normally this tour features one-room school museums, but this time they visited currently active Amish one-room schools.
Note: Thanks to Sarah Uthoff of the Country School Association of America and TRUNDLEBED TALES. Access Sarah's link here to learn more about Laura Ingalls Wilder, Sarah's radio show, research materials, and social media sites.
Submitted by Ron Slechta- Publisher, Slechta Publictions, Kalona, IA
A record number of schoolhouse enthusiasts from six states and Australia attending the 15th annual One Room Country School Conference in Kalona found the area one-room schools both special and unique.
“This was our best conference we have ever had for a variety of reasons,” said Bill Sherman, organizer of the October conference. There were 99 in attendance at the Friday all day session held in the Amish Quilt Gallery at the Kalona Historical Society Visitors Center. On Saturday, 65 toured area country schools and ended up with a home cooked meal at Salina Bontrager home near Joetown.
Sherman cited several reasons other than the large attendance why the Kalona venue was so significant and successful:
•Middleburg Amish one-room country school. This is the oldest continuous running school in the state of Iowa. It was opened in 1860. Teachers Silas Bontrager and Elmer Beachy offered a commentary on how current day Amish schools operate 170 days a year including field trips. They gave a unique insight into how the Amish schools operate. Like other students, Amish students must take the Iowa Basic Skills test each year. Results show students are below state averages in lower grades as they are just learning English, but the upper grades test above averages for those students taking the tests. Teachers noted there are 34 students at Middleburg.
Historian Mike Zahs, who spoke to the group Friday evening, gave a brief history of the historic Middleburg School and the community of Middleburg which was the halfway point on the stage coach route between Iowa City and Washington. The arrival of the railroad resulted in the end of the community of Middleburg, but not the school, which was moved to its present location in 1876 so it would be more centrally located. It was part of the Mid-Prairie School District until 1970.
•Fairview School, located on James Ave. north of 560th Street, was a Mid-Prairie School District school for the New Order Amish community, according to Ed Miller who was the Mid-Prairie principal in charge in 1980.
Mary Swander, a professor at Iowa State University and Iowa’s Poet Laureate, purchased the old school in mid 1990’s, and has converted it into her weekend and summer retreat. Swander invited the group into her neatly decorated home and autographed copies of her most recent book.
Swander related that people who attended Fairview pitch a tent in the yard to hold reunions each summer. She enjoys hearing their stories.
•Friendship School (formerly East Lincoln) an Amish one-room school, located on 520th Street west of Hazelwood Avenue, has 24 students. Teachers Lenora Miller and Rhoda Beachy answered questions by the group of how they handle and teach students. Sherman noted this was a classic country school with large windows on one side and few windows on the opposite of the room to avoid too much cross lighting. Sherman noted that it is also unique in that the room can be divided by a pull curtain, an unusual design feature. The curtain is used to divide the lower grades (kindergarten to 4th grade) and upper grades (5th to 8th grades).
•Washington Twp. Central High School was the township high school for those attending one-room country schools. It was recently purchased by the Amish community and will be renovated to use as a school as the Amish community grows in that area.
Sherman related that the Central High School building, the Central Elementary School building (now a private home) and the Mid-Prairie Washington Township school is a very unique complex of schools still standing in Iowa. The former Central Elementary is also noted for having the largest belfry and school bell in Iowa. The only other similar set of buildings is in Clay County north of Spencer, and those buildings may be destroyed to convert the grounds into farmland. Ed Miller, a former principal at Washington Twp. School, noted that the school was built by families living in the area and when they voted to join the Mid-Prairie School District Amish students attended the school, but school officials decided not to continue that arrangement.
During the brief stop at Lower Mennonite Church many on the tour viewed the historic Amish marker on the grounds of the church.
The tour group drove through the Mennonite School grounds where they learned about that school. Next stop was at the Methodist Church in Joetown. The town was originally called Amish, but was later named Joetown after a minister whose first name was Joe.
From Joetown the group meandered through the countryside past Brush School before stopping at Salina Bontrager’s home for a delicious and filling meal.
Sherman noted it was significant that attendees were able to view the 25-inch diameter Iowa Quarter carved by Chuck Hining of Swisher, a former industrial arts teacher in Cedar Rapids schools. The quarter is carved out of Iowa red oak from Iowa County. The model for the country school on the quarter was from a Grant Wood painting of a school that was on the land where the Eastern Iowa Airport is now located.
Sherman admitted to overbooking the program Friday, which include a variety of experts on country schools.
Local speakers included Michael Zahs, whose appearance was funded by Humanities Iowa Speakers Bureau and Dwight Seegmiller, CEO of Hills Bank & Trust Co, spoke on “Why Country School Preservation Matters.”
Ed Miller, a former country school teacher and principal, Lois Gugel (former country school teacher including Central Elementary and currently Mennonite Museum Library Archivist) and Timothy Bender, a junior at Iowa Mennonite School were lead off speakers.
Sherman paid special thanks to Nancy Roth, Kalona Historical Village director, for hosting the event and making many of the arrangements for the program including a lunch and evening meal at the Visitor’s Center.
He also gave a special thanks to Ed Miller and Lois Gugel for making the arrangements for the Saturday morning countryside tour including the school bus for many in the tour.
Mark Dewalt of Winthrop College, Rock Hill, SC, said he was glad to he a part this year’s conference and pointed out that Bill Sherman is the main mover behind preservation of the history of one-room country schools.
Sherman said there are approximately 60 one-room schools now in use in Iowa, mostly operated by Amish and Mennonite groups. Seven of the Amish schools are public schools operated by Wapsie Valley and Jesup school districts in Buchanan County.
Dale and Joan Prouty, Hudson Falls, NY, invited the group to attend the 2015 National Country School Association of America annual conference at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY, June 14th-17th, 2015.
Sherman invited the group to the 16th Annual Iowa Country School Conference in Boone next year.
Concord School: A Labor of Love for Eleanor Ent of Pennsylvania
It was a perfect day in August for the 100+ guests who gathered to honor a schoolhouse and it's dedicated owner. After years of restoration and hard work, Eleanor Ent achieved her goal of having her schoolhouse enshrined in the National Registry of Historic Places. Friends, family, and former students gathered to celebrate the honor.
Word from the dedication:
"There are numerous categories for historic places on the registry; mansions, factories, churches, sites associated with historic events, historic districts with multiple buildings...but a schoolhouse is most special to those of us gathered today. A humble schoolhouse did not presume great wealth, it did not witness great historical events, it was not holy, it did not house an industry that made America great. Instead, our schoolhouses, unassuming structures that they were, produced generations of educated, productive, patriotic, and moral citizens.
Eleanor and Veronica Ent are charter members of the Country School Association of America, a national organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of our nations remaining country schools, and we are so proud of them today! They epitomize what our membership aspires to do...save our historic schools.
Schoolhouses hold a special place in our appreciation of historic places...why? We have all attended school here in America. School is part of our fiber and our being, a part of a national shared experience of attending public schools.
As a testimony to our nation's commitment to educating all its citizens, at the turn of the 20th century, it is estimated there were some 220,000 country schools in the United States...and now there are only a few thousand. Fortunately, New Alexandria houses a gem.
We met Eleanor and Veronica in 2007 when they presented the story of the restoration of the Concord School at the CSAA annual conference. They told of the run down little building on the edge of their farm that had hosted hundreds of scholars for generations until it was abandoned. They told of the near hopeless condition of the school with a wall sporting a massive hole and other structural issues. They debated the wisdom and the prospects of a restoration project and forged ahead. They spoke of reconstruction and grunt work and elbow grease and money issues. Even that would not deter Ellie when she set her mind to preservation after saving the Concord from the wrecking ball.
Here it stands in it's glory, receiving our nation's highest historic recognition. Here is the Concord Schoolhouse restored lovingly by a beautiful lady and her devoted children who saw the value of the little brick building with good bones and a story to tell. She marshalled the community to donate items they had bought at auction (when the contents were sold) to furnish the schoolhouse as it had been. She antiqued and collected and salvaged until she was satisfied that the Concord was whole again, outfitted as if students would return to their seats and pick up their lessons from yesteryear.
With the hard work behind them, the project would not be complete for Eleanor Ent until her little schoolhouse was enshrined in the National Register of Historic Places, a dream that would complete her mission.
And here we are today to pay homage to a lady who said yes to a schoolhouse that needed a savior when the odds were stacked against her. We honor her determination and her foresight, her love for a schoolhouse, and her belief that it was worthy of a second life."
Note: CSAA members from NJ, NH, TX, and NY attended the dedication ceremony to honor Ellie Ent and her family for their preservation work.
For a detailed newspaper article highlighting the event access the link below:
A Second Life for Schoolhouses
You're out for a drive and your eye catches what is surely, or once was, a one-room school. You count the windows, you notice a double entry, possibly a small portico, a bell tower, an outhouse. Outdated playground equipment? A well pump? It may be on its original site or moved for its very preservation. It may be brick, stone, plank, shingled, shaked or sided. Red, white, blue, green, or yellow. You make a u-turn for a second look and a potential photo.
You walk the grounds of your latest find. You might peer into the windows. You imagine the long walks to school, the dedicated young teacher, the schoolyard games, the organization of a multi-aged and ability grouped classroom. You envision the changing seasons and the decorations and the holiday plays.
This is our quest. Many of us are always on the lookout for the remaining one-room schools across the country. It is hardly different from bird-watching and just as exciting to the history buff and country school enthusiast. We are lucky that thousands have been preserved in some capacity across the country, and it takes some off-beat travel to find them.
You may get lucky and locate one that continues to operate as a public school! We understand that fewer than 400 of the 219,000 public schools that once operated are still being used as full-time schools, and that number is decreasing annually. (This does not take into consideration the Amish one-room schools of America.)
But while we may wish the remaining schoolhouses were all restored to an appropriate time period, complete with desks and inkwells and slates and books, we are often content to know someone has had the foresight to preserve one of our nation's icons for some measure of a second life.
If you have photographed a schoolhouse along your travels, send it in to our CSAA newsletter with pertinent information such as location, surroundings, and use. Google the building to locate additional information and include the link. We would love to post your photo to share with our readers.
Our August Entry:
Thompsonville School, now a 4-H Clubhouse on the 4-H Fairgrounds, East Middleboro, MA.
YouTube Photo Show: 2014 CSAA Conference Photo Memories
The Country School Association feels we have another success story for schoolhouse enthusiasts! 90 participants from 21 states convened at the Pony Express Museum in St. Joseph, Missouri to enjoy two days of presentations and a full-day schoolhouse tour, all centering on schoolhouse preservation and enjoyment.
Old friends met again and new friends were made at the annual conference that has grown in size and scope over the past fourteen years. Alternating between the east and the midwest, conference organizers hope to draw more preservationists from around the country for the 2015 gathering to be held in Saratoga Springs, NY at Skidmore College, June 15-17, 2015.
The conference is an opportunity for those involved in country schoolhouse preservation to present and to learn about schoolhouse education, history, experiences, and museum programming.
We already look forward to next year's program being organized by Dale and Joan Prouty from the Perkins Hollow School and the Washington County Fair Farm Museum in Greenwich, NY!
For a 6-minute photo tour of the conference, access the link below.
Photo: Oxford Schoolhouse, Leawood, KS
Program Guide Now Posted for Annual Schoolhouse Conference in St. Joseph, Missouri
If you plan to attend the 2014 Country School Association, you now have the opportunity to preview the program of presentations and their summaries. Below, please find program guide, summaries and description of the ever popular bus tour of schoolhouses.
Registration information was included in the March 18th posting preceeding this one. Everything you need can be found in this post and by referring to CSAA WEBSITE.
Registration is now is now open for the 2014 Country School Association Conference to be held at the Pony Express Museum in St. Joseph, Missouri, just outside Kansas City. More than 24 presentations are slated over two days, with the third day dedicated to the ever-popular bus tour of restored one-room schools.
Again this year, we offer three methods for registration and payment:
1) Online registration with payment by credit card
2) Online registration with payment by mail (check)
3) Paper registration with payment by mail (check)
Please check out the attached Conference Information & Registration Sheet to gain a better understanding of the conference and registration process before you register.
*** IMPORTANT *** In the ‘online’ registration process, when you see the big “green button” below, select your choice of payment at that time. (check or credit card as indicated below). Both payment methods accomplish the full registration process, but the credit option requires you pay “before you submit”, while the check option allows you to pay “after you submit” by mailing a check to the address provided.
TO REGISTER ON-LINE
To register online, go to our website at www.CountrySchoolAssociation.org and click on the Annual Conference in the left menu bar.
Annual Conference financial aid and work exchange program deadlines are fast approaching. Check under Awards & Grants in the left menu bar of our website.
Program Schedules will be posted on the CSAA website and this newsletter in the coming days.
We look forward to welcoming you to the Pony Express National Museum, in St. Joseph, Missouri in June.
2014 Service Award Winners from Maryland, Massachusetts, and Missouri
by Dr. Mark Dewalt
The Country Schools Association of America is proud to announce that there are three service award winners for 2014: The team of Charles and June Kennedy of Westford, Massachusetts; Dick Deshon of St. Joseph, Missouri; & Ralph Buglass of Rockville, Maryland.
Mr. and Mrs. Charles and June Kennedy from Westford, Massachusetts were selected for their service related to the Parkerville Schoolhouse. When the 1880 Parkerville Schoolhouse went up for sale in 1989 they were actively involved in the formation of the Friends of Parkerville Schoolhouse and the effort to save the school. The Friends work to raise funds to help with the upkeep of the building and run a program called “Old School Day” where third graders get to dress in period clothing and experience what life was like in the early 20th century. June and another board member hold a workshops to introduce teachers to the curriculum and she works as a teacher in period costume. Charlie was involved in the restoration of the schoolhouse and its maintenance. June also wrote two Westford history books including one called Westford Recollections 1729-1979 which contains photographs and histories from Parkerville Schoolhouse and several other district schools still in use.
Dick Deshon from St. Joseph, Missouri was selected to win one of the 2014 CSAA Service Awards for his service to the Pony School in St. Joseph, MO. Dick was highly involved with the process of building the Pony School. He came to every meeting, drove the committee off-site to review buildings, provided funds for meals and gas, and provided major funding for the project. He also made sure everything was being built to period specifications. Dick met with craftsman to build the window, and insisted on 1860’s glass so that everything would be as historically accurate as possible. Dick currently serves as the president of the board of trustees for the Pony Express National Museum.
Ralph Buglass from Rockville, Maryland was selected to receive one of the 2014 CSAA Service Awards for his service to the Kingsley one-room schoolhouse in Montgomery County. When the Montgomery County Department of Parks finished restoring the one-room schoolhouse, Ralph took the lead role as the docent and has donated over 145 hours of his time since the beginning of 2012. After completing training Ralph helped set up the program for visitors and acquired antique objects for visitors to appreciate the history of the school. In 2012 the school was only weekend per month for six months. The next year Ralph extended this to eight months and had three special day-long events in addition to the monthly opening. He also did special weekday openings for scouts and area camps. During his tours he encourages people to explore the school, talks about the history and how people did things differently, and provides activities for students.
The awards will be presented to the winners at the Country School Association of America (CSAA) annual meeting. The CSAA will host its annual national conference June 15 - 18, 2014, at the Pony Express Museum in St. Joseph, MO. The conference will include more than thirty presentations on June 16 & 17, and an optional bus tour on the 18th. The CSAA Annual Conference provides a forum for teachers, museum staff, historians, and others to exchange ideas and discuss issues with colleagues. For more information on CSAA or the conference, visit www.countryschoolassociation.org. To view CSAA’s online newsletter, visithttp://csaa.typepad.com Awardees will receive $300 and free registration at the national conference.
Mark W. Dewalt, Ph.D.
Chair: Counseling, Leadership, and Educational Studies
College of Education
Rock Hill, SC 29733
Share Your Country School Presentation in 2014
“The Legacy of the Country School ”
Learning from the Past
Living in the Present
Building for the Future
The Country School Association of America
2014 Annual Conference
June 15-18, 2014
Pony Express Museum
St. Joseph, Missouri
Call for Proposals
The one-room country school is considered an American icon. Country schoolhouses represent treasured American values: sound education, simplicity, quality, and self-reliance. Groups and individuals are working in various ways to preserve these structures, create programs in them, and produce photographic documentaries about them. Other efforts taking place across America and around the world are the formation of discussion groups, historical research, and creating reenactments.
Conference proposals relating to all the areas involving country school preservation are now being solicited by the CSAA for the 2014 Conference to be held in St. Joseph, MO.
Proposals can take the form of traditional presentations, poster sessions, panel discussions, photographic presentations, artistic and antique displays, re-enactments, as well as video and Internet presentations.
Ideas to support preservation efforts such as fund raising, grant writing, and website development are also encouraged.
Presentations should last about 45 minutes. Topics may be combined to increase the number and variety of ideas that can be shared. Most forms of technology can be provided to support your presentation.
We encourage early proposals!
Proposals should be submitted by March 1, 2014 to:
Gloria Hawkins at email@example.com or by mail at:
CSAA Conference Coordinator, Gloria Hawkins, 12901 Cedar Street, Leawood, Kansas 66209
Please use the following format when submitting your proposal:
Title of Your Presentation:
200-word abstract/summary of your presentation:
Proposed media needs:
Contact: Gloria Hawkins
For a printable PDF of this request:
Wish to Publish Your Presentation or Paper On-line?
Consider submitting your paper or presentation for publication in CSAA’s Country School Journal. The work of students and independent scholars is especially welcome.
Papers and presentations previously presented at a CSAA conference but unpublished are also welcome.
Visit: www.countryschooljournal.com for details.
Basket Social - Also known as a box social, the basket social was an event at which boxes or baskets of food were auctioned to male bidders who won the privilege of eating and dancing with the woman who prepared the box lunch. We thank our author for an entertaining and engaging memory of a basket social to raise money for his one-room schoolhouse.
A note from the author, Larry Scheckel
"I attended a one-room country school in southwest Wisconsin, Crawford County from 1948 to 1956. One room, one teacher, 28 students, no indoor plumbing, and no telephone. The Scheckel family consisted of Father, Mother, and nine kids on 238 acres in the hill country near Seneca.
I joined CSAA in November, 2012 and hope to attend the 2014 conference at the Pony Express Museum in St. Joseph, Missouri. I would like to affer a short presentation concerning Oak Grove School. My wife and I are retired teachers."
The Basket Social
by Larry Scheckel
Oak Grove School stood all alone out there on Oak Grove Ridge. Oak Grove School was one of 6,000 one-room schools in Wisconsin in the 1940’s and 1950’s.
Standing a few feet from the school on the north side, you could scan the horizon and see distance fields meet the sky. To the north it was the white farm buildings of the Sutton farm. Not too many white barns in those parts, but the Suttons had one.
Scanning to the right from the school you saw the farms of Jim Ingham then Frank Fradette, then his dad, Louis Fradette’s farm. You could see the tops of the Junior Mickelson farm if you looked east. Looking South, only the woods were visible. Then to the southwest there was the Guy Green place. We didn't know if he owned it or rented, but his wife Louise, was my first grade teacher, so she didn't have far to walk to school.
Every township, by law, had to provide the education for children grades 1 through 8. Each township was divided into school districts. Crawford County, in the hill country of southwest Wisconsin, had 11 townships. Seneca Township had 15 rural schools and Oak Grove School was referred to as District #15. The Scheckel family, Dad and Mom, and nine kids lived out on Oak Grove Ridge, smack dab in the middle of Seneca Township.
Oak Grove School had its beginnings in 1897. The site was leased from Michael Bernier for $12 per annum. Albert Aspenson was Treasurer and Rob Dawler was Clerk. The necessary money, $300, was loaned by Sam Ingham with an interest rate of 7.5 percent.
Andrew Fleeman was paid $14.50 for hauling rock for the walls. George Pease was paid $265 for the wood and materials for the building and another $105 for the construction. Dennis Kane earned $9.50 for shingles. John Ingham was paid $3.00 for rock hauling.
Start of School
I was six years old when I started school in the fall of 1948. There was no kindergarten in Crawford County. I don’t remember how I felt about going to school. I think I was excited, but don’t recall for sure. We Scheckel boys always wanted to do what the older children did, so I expect I was happy to start school. A kid had no choice. He could be happy about going to school or not happy. The choice was his. Either way, he went.
We passed by the school every few weeks during the summer. Had to go back on Oak Grove Ridge a mile, then turn down into Kettle Hollow or go back further on Oak Grove Ridge and turn down Hobbs Hollow. Either road took you to Highway 35, now known as the Great River Road that paralleled the Mississippi River. When you got down to the Mississippi River, you turned left to go to Lynxville, and right to go to Ferryville.
We also went down Kettle Hollow to get to our land that stretched west, past the wooded section where we ran about 30 head of beef cattle. So we passed the Oak Grove School frequently during the summer, watched the grass and weeds grow tall in the school yard. I remember many times thinking, “that’s my school standing there”.
A few days before school started, Floyd Sutton or Frank Fradette would bring his hay mower and mow down the grass and weeds and small brush that grown up during June, July and August. Late August, school would start.
September 6, 1948, was my first day of school. I wore blue denim bib overalls, the kind with straps over the shoulder, buckles on the ends of those straps, buttons on the sides and pockets on each hip. I sported a new plain pattern shirt, farm shoes, no loafers or dress shoes for school. Dress shoes were reserved for Church.
In late August and early September, second crop hay was done, the corn was ripening and squirrels started to store acorns. Late August and early September in southwestern Wisconsin can be “hot and sticky." No home or school had air conditioning. If you wanted “air conditioning”, you opened the window.
There were very few buses running the rural roads of Wisconsin and there were none in Seneca Township. Kids got to school by walking parents or neighbors who drove them. In the winter, we took our sled. Bucky Olson rode a horse, weather permitting.
All the Scheckel children started out walking to school together. Along the way, we passed the bushes that had strange round smooth berries. They were green and later turned red. We were told they might be poisonous and not to eat them. We watched for honeysuckle, with their familiar four pods, reddish color. We picked the ends and sucked on them. They tasted just like honey.
Our route brought us past the big oak tree we had sat around while haying or shocking oats just a few weeks before, then we went past the Bernier farm. Several Kozelka kids joined the Scheckel group further down the road. We watched for wild blackberries and red raspberries that grew in abundance next to the road. We marched over the big hills by the Ingham farm, then the home stretch to Oak Grove School. Kids would be gathering. There was lots of excitement, talking to kids we may had not seen all summer, and exchanging bits of banter and gossip.
School started at 8 o’clock in the morning. Most everybody walked, except the Rosenbaum kids. They farmed way back on the very end of Oak Grove Ridge, three miles from school. If you went a few steps beyond their house and barn, you would fall off the bluff and end up in the Mississippi River. There was no bus in my early years, up to about fourth or fifth grade. The Scheckel kids had exactly one mile to get to school. The gravel road from the Scheckel farm to Oak Grove School ran north and slightl
At one time, there were six Scheckel children walking to school at the same time, from oldest to youngest: Phillip, myself, Bob, Catherine, Rita and Diane. I’ve heard tell that my older siblings were constantly urging me to walk faster. I don’t remember, but I know that my short little legs couldn’t move me along very fast.
Later, it was my job to shepherd the younger girls, Catherine, Rita and Diane to school. I was told that I continually urged them to “walk a little faster” or “why can’t you move faster." Very seldom did we get a ride to or from school. A farmer might come along and offer a lift. But we didn’t expect a ride.
Three school events brought all the families together at Oak Grove School: the Fall Basket Social, the Christmas program, and the End-of-the-Year picnic. It seems like everyone on Oak Grove Ridge and those down in Kettle Hollow attended these socials. The rural one-room school was the center of the social scene. Farm families that no longer had kids in school were there. Even bachelors showed up!
The school budget was terribly tight and farmers were very frugal. They didn’t like paying taxes, and, heaven forbid, spending money for anything that was not absolutely necessary. The goal of the basket social was to raise a little extra money for the teacher to use for non budgeted items, such as playground equipment, teaching supplies, and new books.
This Basket Social was the first time that parents had a chance to meet a new teacher. And the first opportunity that Teacher could apply faces and names to the parents of her young charges. Teacher wanted to make a good impression on the parents.
Information went out to the families several weeks in advance of the early November Friday night date. A single sheet of paper was sent to home for each family listing the date, time, and what to bring. This just had to be a very stressful time for Teacher!
But we kids didn’t know that or cared about it. We had a job to do. We had to sell chances on a blanket. The blanket raffle was the big fund raiser. One chance was 10 cents or three chances for a quarter.
Dad did not want his kids selling chances to the neighbors. “Don’t bother them,” was his mantra. “No need to pester the neighbors,” we heard more than a few times. I do believe that Dad bought most of the allotted tickets year after year.
I can’t recall if we did it on our own or if Dad or Mom sanctioned it. But, my brother Bob and I saw an opportunity. Across the field, on the other side of ShortCut Road was the John Payne farm. It was only about a quarter mile distance.
Bob and I walked the cow path through the Knoll field, climbed through the fence, and ambled up the short incline to the John Payne farm. Surely the Paynes would grab an opportunity to win a blanket at the Oak Grove Basket Social. Never mind that the school boundaries stopped at the Scheckel farm and that Payne kids went to the neighboring Seneca grade school.
It was a brisk cool evening and the sun had just set in the West. The trees were ablaze with autumn colors. The Paynes were picking corn with their neighbor, Tom McAreavy. He was sitting on a gray Ford 9N tractor with a corn wagon hitched behind. A couple of the Payne young men were standing around. They seemed to be laughing quite a bit. Each had a can of some refreshment in their gloved hand.
I was in fourth grade, brother Bob was in third grade. We had never seen anyone that had been drinking a few-too-many beers. We never associated alcohol intake with loud boisterous talk and frequent laughing. We approached slowly.
“Hi boys, what can we do for you?” one of the Payne men yelled out.
Lawrence: “We’re selling chances for a blanket”.
Tom McAreavy: “Blanket, what do I want with a blanket. I got blankets at home”. Much laughter from the Payne brothers.
Bob: “It’s for the Basket Social on November 10.”
Tom: “Can I win the school teacher?”
Sustained loud and raucous laughter came from all three. (note: Teacher was Rosemary Shinko, young, very pretty and very much single. It was her second year at Oak Grove School)
Lawrence: “They’re 10 cents each, or three for a quarter.”
Payne man: “How much for two?”
Bob and I looked at each other. We had no answer. We weren’t that good at math, or thinking on our stubby little feet. That created more howling laughter from all three guys.
The Ford 9N had a toolbox mounted in the hood. They had cans of beer stored there and all three reached for another. They used a can opener tool that made a triangular hole on one side. Then they turned the can a half circle and made an identical triangular hole on that side.
Tom: “I’ll take 3 tickets." I wrote his name on three slips of paper. I had to ask how to spell his name. I do believe he gave me 2 or 3 different spellings, and each spelling would set the Payne men into prolonged howls of merriment.
I handed Tom McAreavy the slips of paper. The idea was that you had to be there to win. Ticket buyers put their slips of paper in a box that night at school. And a winning slip was drawn.
Thomas J. McAreavy kept buying tickets and kept right on drinking. We kept writing his name on tickets. It was getting late, the sun had gone down and Bob and I were getting nervous. We knew we had to get back home and wondered if our folks were worried about us.
We had made a “good haul." We counted up the tickets and money as we ambled down the Shortcut Road, onto Oak Grove Road and back to the farm. Distance was a tad over a quarter mile but we sold 42 tickets and a pot of $3.50. We figured we had “done real good”.
It was dark when Bob and I got home. We were excited and got home just at supper time. That’s when the “tickets hit the fan," so to speak. After saying grace, we divulged our successful chance-selling adventure to Mom and Dad and siblings gathered around the supper table,.
Then the rebukes began, first from Dad. “You boys shouldn’t sell that many tickets to Tom McAreavy." We didn’t know why not? He didn’t tell us that Tom McAreavy liked to drink. And if he did, we probably would not have understood.
Mom said, “McAreavy likes to drink too much." Dad came back with, “Now Martha, you don’t know that for sure." Tom and Anna lived down Aspenson Road, a turnoff from Shortcut Road. There were only two farms back on that gravel road. Both were very good neighbors.
A sum of $3.50 was quite a bit of money at that time. Dad talked in terms of taking the money back, but he never followed up. We took the money to school the next day and gave it to Miss Shinko.
The Big Night
Every mother who had children in Oak Grove School prepared a lunch; sandwiches, fruit, brownies, cookies, and put them in a paper bag, picnic basket or box and brought them to school on the night of the Basket Social. All the farmers, their wives and children, arrived between seven to eight o’clock or whenever the milking was done. Some came with a bit of animal husbandry on their boots, clothes with barnyard smells, bib overalls, roll-your-own cigarettes, and/or floppy hats. This was rural Wisconsin farm country people in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s.
Cars were parked all over the playground. Laurence Rosenbaum liked to put his big green Chevy right over home plate. Dad had a black Chevy with a black visor in front. All the Scheckel kids could pile into that car, one kid sitting between Dad and Mom, usually the youngest. The Pease family came up from Kettle Hollow in a Model T Ford. Teacher greeted all the arrivals, made introductions, remarked about how happy she was to have _____ (fill in the name) in class.
All the desks were pushed to one side of the school. A few chairs set along the wall, a fire in the pot bellied stove if it was cold. Room was made for Frank and Clarabelle Fradette to set up their music stand. Both played accordion. There was also a fiddle player, whose name I don’t remember.
The dancing would start. Some of the men wanted to dance with Teacher.
We young boys sat on the desk or chairs, watching, squirming, and poking each other. Young girls danced with each other. Married men danced only with their wives.
Suhr and family came to the Basket Social. Suhr was “deaf and dumb”. He lived down Kettle Hollow and up on the opposite ridge. The bridge over Kettle Creek was a single slab of concrete, slightly askew having been washed partially away by flash flooding. Surh was not dumb, he just could not speak. He was born deaf and never learned how to talk.
I didn’t understand those dynamics when I was a kid. We just called him “deaf and dumb” because that was the term used in those days. By all accounts Suhr was a good man and good farmer. Surh would stop by our farmhouse every few weeks to buy eggs. He had a wrinkled weather-beaten face, and wore a rough old straw hat, big overalls and large shoes. He would converse with Dad by grunts and sign language and if not understood, he would write on a piece of paper.
We three boys would stand around and take this all in. Suhr would reach over and pat one of us on the head, point outside to the fields and raise his hand, palm outstretched, upward. Dad didn’t understand. Suhr scribbled a few words on a piece of paper. Dad would read them, or make a gesture, or write something in return.
When Suhr left, we asked Dad what that head patting and field pointing gesturing was all about. He said, “you boys are getting taller, like the corn out in the fields.”
The Basket Social was a grand affair. The two Fradette accordions, a fiddler, and piano player belted out some popular songs: The Tennessee Waltz, In the Mood, Swinging on a Star, Wabash Cannonball, Buttons and Bows, Dear Hearts and Gentle People, Chattanooga Choo-Choo, Little Brown Jug, Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree, and You Are My Sunshine.
Suhr couldn’t hear the music. But he would go over to the piano and put his hand on top and pick up the beat or rhythm, and “dance up a storm”. Not being able to hear was not going to stop Suhr from dancing.
After a few dances, Teacher would give a little welcoming speech, roundly applauded. A couple of seven or eight grade girls recited a poem, more dancing, a short skit put on by the fifth graders, a duet by two seventh grade girls, more dancing, then the auction.
All the Box Lunches were set out on a table in the middle of the school-now converted to a dance hall. No names were on any box or basket. This was a secret auction. Floyd Sutton was the auctioneer. He picked up a box.
Floyd: “Do I have a bid for this beautiful red box, with a bow on top and filled with delicious goodies?”
A hand would go up.
From the back of the room, “50 cents”.
Floyd: “I have 50 cents, do I hear a dollar?”
Bidder: “One dollar."
Floyd: “Now, you all know this box is beautiful, filled with goodie delights, and baked by the prettiest woman on Oak Grove Ridge."
Bidder: “Two dollars."
The bidding would go on, usually up to about $3.00 for a box lunch. Truth be told, every husband knew which box his wife brought and all the other men would let the bidding get to that magic three dollar amount and stop bidding. So most every man and wife sat together and ate the lunches together.
There was one memorable box social. Word slipped out which box belonged to the teacher, Ms. Shinko. It was the last box, pink paper on the side, with a fake flower on top. Bidding started. It got up to three dollars, then four dollars, then five, then six! Well now, this was way over the normal amount. Soon over nine dollars and only two bidders. One was Elmer Stuckey, a WWII veteran who fought the “Japs” in the Pacific Islands just six years ago. The initials ES were carved on one of the desks. My brother Phillip sat in that desk. We kids all knew the story. The Japanese attacked at night. It was a desperate banzai bayonet charge and Stuckey fought the foe in hand-to-hand combat. And now we could sit in the desk of a real hero and run out fingers over the initials.
The other bidder was farmer Tom Ingham. Both Elmer Stuckey and Tom Ingham were single. Never mind that Tom Ingham was twice the age of the teacher. Pay no attention that Elmer Stuckey was engaged to be married to a Prairie du Chien gal.
This was a titanic struggle to have the honor of eating a box lunch with ‘The Teacher’. The bidding went back and forth, each bid punctuated with rousing cheers, yeas, ooh’s and aah’s and way-to-go’s from the crowd. Top bid was Tom Ingham’s at nine dollars.
Floyd: “Going once, twice.”
Elmer: “Ten dollars." More cheers. We’re now talking serious money!
Tom: “Eleven dollars." Louder cheers.
Elmer: “Eleven dollars, 50 cents."
Floyd: “ Eleven fifty, pause, “going once," pause, “going twice," longer pause, “sold to Elmer Stuckey for eleven-fifty!"
A final round of cheers and eating commenced. Then came the drawing for the big door prize, a beautiful twin-bed blanket. I do believe my brother Bob and I sold the most chances for that blanket, thanks to the generosity of our beer-drinking and corn-picking neighbors.
Other door prizes were awarded; a grocery certificate from Kane’s IGA in Seneca, a bag of oats from the Feed Mill in Seneca, a block of cattle salt from Johnson’s One Stop Shopping Center in Seneca. Johnson’s advertising said that, “if they didn’t have it, you don’t need it. An oil and filter change from Larmore’s Service Station in Seneca.
One by one, families gathered up the kids, coats, walked out into the crisp fall air, loaded into their cars, and slipped back home. A good time was had by all. No other event at that rural isolated one-room country school brought families together as did the annual fall Basket Social.
Note: Tom McAreavy was killed in a one car roll over on Highway 27 about one mile north of Seneca in 1956. His car went up a steep bank and rolled over several times. Tom was 71 years old and was buried in St. Patrick’s Catholic Cemetery at Seneca. Every time I go by that stretch of highway, I think of that tall, lanky, Irish neighbor who bought too many tickets and left Anna a widow for far too long a time. Tom McAreavy was a good farmer, a good neighbor and a good family man.
Mr. Eckheart recently retired from the Luther College art faculty and operates a gallery in Decorah. It will be sold in a silent auction with proceeds benefitting the Country SchoolAssociation of America and the Winneshiek County Historical Society on a 50-50 basis.
Persons not attending the annual Preservation Iowa Country Schoolhouse Conference, which will be held in Decorah October 10-11, may submit a bid for the painting by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. The minimum bid for the framed painting is $100. Please include your contact information and a statement of your bid.
Bidding results will be announced by mid-October.
Schoolhouse Sites ID'd by Dedicated Group in Nebraska
"I thought you would be interested in carrying the story that the Otoe County Genealogical Society (OCGS) completed their 2 1/2 year school signage project on August 1, 2013, to put a sign where every schoolhouse once stood or is still standing in Otoe County. I served as the Chairman of this project. The story made the front page of the Omaha World Herald, also the Lincoln Journal and the Nebraska City News Press. Out of 109 country schools in Otoe County we successfully installed 100 signs!
CSAA's Gloria Hawkins to Exhibit at Kansas City Gallery
Our own CSAA Board Member Gloria Hawkins knows how to capture a schoolhouse and your imagination! If you live in the Kansas City area, you're in for a treat if you can visit the VALA Gallery to enjoy your passion through her schoolhouse photos. You'll learn much about yesterday's schools through her images taken from her collection of schoolhouses in 48 states. The display, entitled "Yesterday's Schools," will run through December.
You will be encouraged by the preservation efforts of the groups across the nation who have given these schools a second life as museums, homes, civic centers, and businesses. Gloria highlights these efforts with her beautiful images!
The annual CSAA conference, to be held June 15-18, 2014, is in the works for the Pony Express Museum in St. Joseph Missouri. Details will be forthcoming so you can plan early!
From the Pony Express Museum Website:
On April 3, 1860, a lone rider left on horseback from the gates of one of the nation’s most historic landmarks, the Pikes Peak Stables in St. Joseph, Missouri. Carrying saddlebags filled with our nations hopes and dreams, the riders traveled 2000 miles west to Sacramento, California. These brave young souls raced against nature’s cruel elements and rugged terrain in an attempt to unite a country separated by distance. Today the stables continue to stand as a tribute to the legend and legacy of the Pony Express and its enduring era.
Come and experience the many exciting, educational, state-of-the-art exhibits conveying the need, creation, operation and termination of the Pony Express. Whatever your age, you’re sure to be captivated by the stories and images of an era long passed.
The Pony School is a replica of an 1860’s one room schoolhouse. Open by appointment only. Address: 1219 S. 9th Street, St. Joseph, MO. 64503
The conference will be on site and will host a tour of country schools in the area.
Thanks go out to Executive Director Cindy Daffron of the Pony Express Museum and CSAA Director Gloria Hawkins for planning this event.
Lincolnville Uses People Power to Move Their Schoolhouse...Pulling it Across the Street
Talk about Yankee ingenuity! The determined citizens of Lincolnville, Maine rolled up their sleeves last fall to save their one-room schoolhouse by pulling it across the street for restoration...yes, pulling! Here is a story of townspeople working together to save a historical 19th century schoolhouse while planning to give it a second life as a town library. We look forward to following the progress at the re-located Center School.
The best link to this heartwarming story is an article by Heather Steeves of the Bangor Daily News: PEOPLE MOVE A 130 YEAR-OLD SCHOOLHOUSE
You will also enjoy a You Tube video of the move posted by Tyler Dunham.
Note: I took a drive to Lincolnville this week and the progress on the Center School/Library is inspiring! This is the schoolhouse as of July 25, 2013. (Susan Fineman, Volunteer Newsletter Editor)
Our resident librarian, Sarah Uthoff, often comes across some valuable articles and videos of interest to all schoolhouse enthusiasts. Below you will find links previously published by Sarah on the CSAA Listserve.
Improving 19th Century Schooldesks
by Alexandra Parker of the Smithsonian-Mason Decorative Arts Program
Video: A Day in a Restored Schoolhouse- Fife Lake Schoolhouse, Fife Lake, MI
2013 CSAA Conference at Berry College in Georgia
The 2013 Annual Conference of the Country School Association of America was held at Berry College in Mount Berry, GA, June 17th-19th. Attendees were treated to a beautiful environment for learning on Berry's 27,000-acre campus, one of the world's largest in area. In addition to two days of presentations on all aspects of country school preservation, participants enjoyed every minute of Berry's fields, forests, lakes and mountains that provided scenic beauty in a protected natural setting.
Berry was founded in 1902 by Martha Berry (1865-1942) as a school for enterprising rural boys when few public schools existed in Georgia. A girls' school was added in 1909. Berry became one of the nation's most successful educational experiments, combining academic study, student work and interdenominational Christian religious emphasis. Berry has an excellent record of sound growth. A junior college was established in 1926 and a four-year college in 1930; graduate programs were added in 1972.
CSAA Conference sessions included re-enactments, daily life in country schools, preservation, author narratives, restoration, archives, and documentaries. Participants visited the Oak Hill and the Martha Berry Museum and toured Possum Trot Church, often called the “Cradle of Berry College." It served as a school from 1900 to 1954. Additional schools visited included two Rosenwald schools, a former academy, and the Everett Springs Seminary that is currently a private home.
Forty-five participants from 15 states attended the conference, representing colleges/universities, historical societies, museum schools, and re-enactors.
For further information about the 2014 CSAA Conference at The Pony Express Museum in St. Joseph, MO, visit our website at: CSAA WEBSITE
Happy Birthday Little Red Schoolhouse #59!
It will be a Happy Birthday for the District #59 Schoolhouse in Litchfield, Minnesota! Built in 1913, the little red school will be getting a make-over this year thanks to the efforts of a group of volunteers called Little Red Schoolhouse 59, Inc., who are determined to save a little bit of history.
The District # 59 was built on one acre of land six miles south of Litchfield on land donated by Edward and Louise Wiard in 1885. The construction design is classic revival, red brick exterior, hip roof, eight Doric columns at a front entryway, and a clapboard bell tower. The interior consists of a spacious entry leading to one large classroom, a small library, a cloakroom, storage and basement. In 1913, it was constructed for $3,500. Having served the community for over 50 years as a school, it was closed in Meeker County in 1968, as part of a rural consolidation project.
The little building took on a second life as a town hall when it was sold to Greenleaf Township and used until 2007 for town business. It is interesting to note that the school is only one of two schools in Meeker County to retain its original structure.
LRS 59 has received generous support from Meeker Cooperative Light & Power of Litchfield, Soutwest Initiative, and Valspar Corporation. These grants enabled the group to undertake immediate repairs, including lead paint removal and electrical upgrades. A handicap ramp was also installed.
The LRS 59 $25 household membership continues to grow, with a community support system that has offered craft and bake sales, a "Revisit Country School" program, and the annual July picnic and meeting.
WE are always seeking help to finish our schoolhouse!
Here is a chance to save one more American icon. For more information or to lend support, please visit our website at:
Thanks to Jan Ehrlich of Hopkins, MN for submitting this story!
You are cordially invited to attend the Country School Association of America’s 13th Annual Conference, to be held from Sunday, June 16th through Wednesday, June 19th at Berry College in beautiful northern Georgia. Complete information and registration is available on our website at the link provided here.
Every year CSAA organizes a conference where we invite a diverse group of participants from many different organizations, museums, and academic institutions, as well as cultural and heritage centers. Each year, we provide museum personnel, teachers, staff, faculty and students, preservationists, historians and re-enactors from across the country, with an intimate forum to exchange ideas, discuss their current activities, programs and issues with colleagues in the field. With such an energetic atmosphere, wide choice of activities, dynamic events, educational sessions, and networking opportunities, you do not want to miss this event.
1) Online registration with payment by credit card
2) Online registration with payment by mail
3) Paper registration with payment and registration by mail
Please find the attached Conference Information Sheet to gain a better understanding of the conference and registration process before you go online to register.
Annual Conference financial aid and work exchange program deadlines are one week away. Check under Awards & Grants on our website above.
We look forward to welcoming you to Berry College, just north of Rome, Georgia in June!
First Articles Now Posted in the Country School Journal
Volume 1 of the CSAA Country School Journal is now ready for your enjoyment! We have posted two new articles with another on the way, and when you see the quality of our journal you may be encouraged to submit research of your own.
Thanks go to our contributors and our editors Lucy Townsend and Nicholas Shudak for helping launch the Country School Journal. You may access the following titles at this time with the link below:
The Forgotten Rural Teacher Strikes, by William L. Sherman
Mayhem and Manslaughter in an Idyllic Setting: "John Barleycorn" at Howell School, by Douglas Sturgeon
Our articles are presented in PDF form for ease in reading and printing.
13th Annual CSAA Conference Seeks Your Presentation Proposal
Ladies and Gentlemen, it is that time of the year again!
Time to think about attending the Country School Association annual conference; planning the travel; submitting the budget and possibly preparing a paper for presentation. Please see the attached Call for Proposals.
This year we are heading to the beautiful campus of Berry College in Mt. Berry, Georgia. Believe it or not you have the opportunity to visit the largest single college campus in the world at 26,000 acres. It is close to both Atlanta and Knoxville in the mountains of northern Georgia. We are finally close to you in the Southeast US, so come on down.
If you would like to be a presenter at this year’s conference, please see the attached Call for Proposals. Also, we will be updating our website in the near future to provide more information on the conference, costs and registration. You will receive another email when we open registration.
This conference will include two days of presentations and a full day tour of local one-room schoolhouses.
Hope to see you there.
Richard Lewis, CSAA Board
An Endearing Schoolhouse Read for You!
University of Iowa Press Release
“An Iowa Schoolma’am stands on its own as a lively story of early twentieth-century teaching in addition to providing the essential background to Bachelor Bess. Elizabeth Corey’s vivid and funny letters provide a unique viewpoint on life in turn-of-the-century, small-town Iowa. The casual reader will enjoy Corey’s letters on their own merits, while scholars interested in women’s history, the history of education, and the rural Midwest will find the letters useful as well. If nothing else, An Iowa Schoolma’am should simply be read for the fun of it!”—Pamela Riney-Kehrberg, Iowa State University
“Bess Corey, who started out teaching in a one-room Iowa school with only a ninth-grade education, had a wonderful way with words. Her lively letters home show how hard this schoolteacher worked as she jousted with reluctant student ‘big boys,’ planned performances for the entire community, and suffered the vicissitudes of ‘boarding ’round’ with various landlords. We see her evolve from a struggling teachers institute student herself into a savvy and innovative educator who inspired her students. Despite her travails, Bess dedicated herself to giving ‘some of the younger ones the chance I always wanted but couldn’t have.’ She tells wonderful stories of eccentric characters and local political squabbles in her letters home. In an age before e-mail, texts, and tweets, when even phone calls were a garbled rarity, handwritten letters were the vital link to one’s kin. How Bess’s family must have looked forward to the letters collected in this volume—she was frank, a lively storyteller, and quite a folk humorist.”—Judy Nolte Temple, University of Arizona
Readers everywhere fell for Elizabeth Corey, the irrepressible, independent, and fearless Bachelor Bess, whose letters home to Iowa gave us a firsthand account of her adventures on a South Dakota homestead from 1909 to 1919. Now, through the letters she wrote home between 1904 and 1908, readers can make the acquaintance of a younger Bess facing the realities of life in an Iowa country school system with energy, enthusiasm, and ambition.
Sixteen-year-old Bess wrote her early letters when she was away from the family farm, trying to complete the ninth grade so she could become a teacher. That schooling was cut short in 1905, when her father died and she returned home to help her mother. Later that year, she received a provisional certificate allowing her to teach, which she did from 1905 to 1909 in a succession of rural schools across Shelby and Cass counties in Iowa. Initially a reluctant teacher, she had an infinite capacity for productive work that propelled her toward success in the classroom. A determinedly lighthearted attitude toward life, a talent for making congenial friends and for making herself at home as she boarded with one family after another, a relentless devotion to her own family, and a drive to communicate all combine to animate her letters home.
Always colorful and colloquial, unusually detailed and frank, Bess’s letters are authentic documents of a discrete American time and place. Full of puns, hyperbole, drama, and above all else honesty and authenticity, the eighty-three letters describe barefooted pupils, cantankerous and cooperative parents and school board members, classroom activities, and school picnics against a frugal background of early twentieth-century chores, social occasions, party lines for telephones, chautauquas, church suppers and revivals, new ribbons for second-hand clothes, and buggy and train rides—all seen through the eyes of this talented teenage farm girl not much older than some of her students.
Of notable value is the light Bess casts upon the teaching profession as it was practiced in isolated midwestern areas at the moment when our nation determined that, come what may, every American child was going to have access to a basic grammar-school education. Beyond the pleasure of listening to a straight-talker who pulls no punches, one who expects to receive “some of the praise most of the work and all of the cussing” in return for her efforts, Bess’s letters create a veritable concordance of teaching in a one‑room rural schoolhouse, a chapter of daily American life all but lost.
2012 Country School Association of America Award for Scholarship & Artistry
COUNTRY SCHOOLERS FOR A DAY
A Lyme, New Hampshire Adventure
by Dale and Joan Prouty
Eighty-nine year old Eunice Beach had often mentioned her days at Lyme Center School in New Hampshire with fond memories. She mentioned to us that Lyme Center was having a schoolhouse program on September 8th, but she didn’t think she would be able to attend. We tried to encourage her otherwise. Revisiting Lyme would be three hour drive for her, and with a recent health issue we knew it was pretty doubtful she would go.
We were welcomed on the lawn of the beautifully restored 1839 Lyme Center school by dedicated Lyme Historians members. While waiting for the day’s program to begin, Sallie Ramsden showed us through the two former first floor classrooms. The Lyme Historians maintain a wonderful museum of Lyme history in the back classroom and have recreated the front classroom.
Then it was upstairs to the 2nd floor. The large open community room faced a stage across the front with doors for entering each side of the stage. The highlight of the upstairs was being able to see an original early 1900’s painted stage curtain. Interestingly, it was a painting of Boston Harbor titled “Off Boston Light,” painted by Musical Bailey of Cavendish, VT, and for some reason had no advertising on it. The Lyme Historians had it restored sometime around 2004. Other area curtains by Bailey have local scenes, so the historians suggested it may have been less expensive to purchase a more generic scene.
Our “school day” began with a presentation on the Lyme schoolhouses by Adair Mulligan who has compiled a booklet “Historic Schoolhouses of Lyme, New Hampshire,” available from the Lyme Historians for $5. Elizabeth Killmarx and Sallie beamed with pride as they watched from the side of the room.
Our next “lessons” were presented by former students Brian Rich, Bob Sanborn, Alfred Balch, & Scarlett Dube as they told of their experiences when they were students at the Lyme Schools.
And then came lunch time! We feasted on rich cornbread, ham, cheese, raspberry jam, ginger molasses cookies and an apple, all presented in tin lunch pails lined with red checkered napkins and prepared by Linda Southworth. Our Dixie cups were filled with cool water dipped from a bucket of ice water. We sat on the side steps in the shade of trees as we remembered such things as playing on stonewalls, in hedgerows, with alleys or marbles, and what we took and exchanged for lunch. Then it was time to embark on the driving tour. We were off with map in hand down old back roads lined by stone walls and trees following the routes traveled by the students of Lyme for well over a century.
For our second program we drove up a long grade on an old country road to a surviving one- room schoolhouse. The 1824 Chesley Schoolhouse had been moved twice, being placed at its present location in 1876. A grandmother, Jane Palmer, purchased the schoolhouse sixteen years ago and keeping it in immaculate condition, she provided a real step back in time for her grandchildren. So endeared with her treasure, she couldn’t bear to erase the notes left by grandchildren to each other. She left that job to the Lyme Historians who took pictures of the blackboard so they could recreate it following the day’s events.
While at Chesley we sat in on a wonderful little vignette written by Laurie Wadsworth that portrayed what a school day might have been like in the 1830’s. Jeff Valence the present day principal at Lyme’s only operating school portrayed the schoolmaster.
The day started with the day’s water being brought to the school by the father of a student, as remembered by one of the two former students in attendance. Part of the water was poured into the canning kettle on the stove that held Mason jar lunches brought by the students to be warmed for lunch time. The remainder of the water was put in the water crock to be used for the day’s drinking water.
Children marched in at the bell with ladies taking seats on the right and gentlemen on the left. The students recited together from blackboard work, did mental ciphering, and read passages for their schoolmaster. One older boy very accurately portrayed a young man that probably wasn’t there all of the school year and really didn’t want to be there now. A quiet tension built until finally with the boy’s lack of a book andnecessary materials the disgruntled schoolmaster called him up for a quick tongue lashing. His punishment? He was made to wear one of the girls’ bonnets and was then required to sit on the girls’ side. When the students were excused for recess two former students told of their days at the schoolhouse.
The remainder of our day was spent following the detailed Town of Lyme map prepared by Elizabeth Kilmarx where all schoolhouse sites were well marked to match a number on a stake placed at the schoolhouse sites by committee members. And what a beautiful scenic drive it was on the back roads of New Hampshire as schools awaited our arrival.
One of our highlights of the tour was seeing where the District #2 Acorn Hill School had sat in a small triangle of land where two roads intersected. Although the schoolhouse had been sold and moved up the road to become a home around 1934 it was easy to visualize the school at this tiny location as the sturdy concrete foundation and a crabapple tree remain in the center of the two dirt roads. One could certainly imagine school children playing here in the roadways during the school’s heydays.
We had a wonderful day and are very glad we made the trip. As CSAA members we appreciate the Lyme Historians' efforts in preserving this history for their communities. And through the Lyme schoolhouse booklet, our photos, and the story of the day’s events, our friend Eunice was able to take the schoolhouse tour!
"Belden Boy" Sequel Now Available: My Sometimes Pal by P.J. HarteNaus
We first met young Peter McDugal at the 2009 CSAA conference at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. As the hero of a newly published book, we found out how a small, sensitive boy in a one-room school dealt with the local school bully.
His creator, CSAA member P.J. HarteNaus, lives in a small town in the Midwest She teaches fifth grade at Abraham Lincoln School and enjoys reading novels, especially historical fiction to her students. Between teaching, raising two beautiful daughters and tending to a house full of dogs, she still finds the time to explore the unglaciated area of Galena in the Northwest corner of Illinois. On one of those explorations, she came upon a deserted one-room school house called Belden. That find led to numerous discoveries such as old journals and artifacts, names of students and many anecdotal conversations with those who knew about the old school.
The Belden Boy Series, The Adventures of Peter McDugal, was born from that discovery. The rest is history. P.J. now announces her second book in a series entitled, "My Sometimes Pal."
A synopsis of the story:
Long ago, in the rolling green hills of the Mississippi Valley, outside the lead mining town of Galena, young Peter McDugal tries to understand his pal, Franky. A lonely boy, Franky tries to be part of Peter’s family. He’s always happy when Peter’s Ma asks him to stay for supper, or when he can help take care of the sheep Peter won in a Sears Roebuck writing contest. And he can’t wait for Peter to enter his prize sheep, Daisy, in the country fair. After all, that sheep is ‘partly his’!
But there’s a bully side to Franky. And it scares Peter. Sometimes they’re best friends. Then just as suddenly, he’s up to no good with their pals—plotting to get Peter in trouble or make him look foolish. Sometimes he’s darned mean, like when he aims his slingshot at animals. Sometimes he talks Peter into doing things that are plain wrong. Peter knows that friends gotta stick together, but it gives him a belly ache trying to figure out the right thing to do when he’s around Franky.
The grown-ups in Peter’s life know what’s going on. Sort of. Ma tells him to ‘communicate’ with Franky. Pa says Franky was probably bullied himself. Even Peter’s teacher, Miss Bishop, knows about Franky’s pranks, and she’s rightly proud that Peter is trying hard to be a good friend. But they’re not around when Franky turns on him. When that happens, Peter has to deal with Franky himself.
For more information on how to order both books in the series and to read about P.J. HarteNaus visit:
Schoolhouse Vacation Retreat
We met Roz Fitch at the 2012 CSAA Conference in Ankeny, IA this summer and she had a story to tell of preserving a schoolhouse in upstate New York. In our travels we have witnessed the transformation of our remaining schoolhouses to a myriad of uses from art galleries to pizza parlors. Wistfully we envision these run down little structures being adopted by local historical societies and civic groups for restoration as living history museums, but lack of money and human resources bring us back to reality. This is where a saviour like Roz Fitch steps in!
It started as a dream in 1991 when Roz, then a lobbyist in Washington DC, located the owner of the derelict little school near her old family farm in Delware County and bought it and 1/3 of an acre for $6,000. Twenty years would go by before Roz had the time to undertake the restoration, but she enlisted the help of her architect husband and construction people who were familiar with old building methods. Roz's second home schoolhouse, a vacation retreat near her family, is now ready for its new role in the 21st century. Her commitment and a cool $100,000+ saved another national icon from the ravages of time and Mother Nature. In Roz's words:
"I wanted to tell you a bit about my school house. Over the past dozen years I have been involved in the restoration of a 19th century one room schoolhouse in upstate NY, in the Catskill mountains. This school, named the South Franklin School, District #19, was built in 1853. It had been abandoned when I bought it 22 years ago, and was in danger of falling down. I grew up on a dairy farm just a 2 minute walk away. I saw it all the time but never knew what it was. Another reason I wanted to save it is that my father’s siblings all attended the school, and one of his sisters taught there. My grandfather was the last clerk when it closed in 1929 to make way for the first central school in NYS. This school was one of 350 one room schools in Delaware County, NY. I look forward to living in it as a place to retreat from the city. My parents and siblings live very close by. It's been a joy to save this tiny treasure."
Roz's restoration project was featured in Kiplinger's Peronal Finance Magazine in June 2012. We have added the link below and thank Riz for sharung her story with CSAA.
(Top) Rox Fitch and her little vacation home restored, courtesy Kiplinger's)
(L) District #19 before restoration
(Below) Roz Fitch in her new home
Please enjoy the article featuring Roz Fitch's project in Kiplinger's Magazine of June 2012.
Caldwell, KS Couple Saves Belleview Schoolhouse and Find Friends at CSAAby Valerie Brunhoeber
This June, I was so excited to get to go to the Country School Association of America Conference in Ankeny, IA that I was packed and ready to go at least two weeks in advance! The night before I was to leave I could not sleep. My husband Mike and I own a one-room schoolhouse and we are always looking to improve our school's appearance and make things as period appropriate as possible.While we attended the 12th Annual CSAA Conference from June 17th through June 20th of 2012 I came away with much information.we learned the true purpose of the “stage” in the front of some one room school classrooms and why some had them and some did not. We also learned how to identify an older lunch box and that a lunch box is also called a berry bucket. We found out that a church bell, a school bell, and a house bell all had different sounds.But the subject I personally found most interesting was the kid hack! Of course I am a horse person, so anything involving horses I enjoy like nothing else. What was cool about that is that the area farmers would sometimes bid to play bus duty.We have an old farm wagon and some horses we plan to use with our school and I was concerned because the older generations who visit tend to say, “There wasn't anything like that around here!” Now I can rest easy knowing that there certainly COULD have been, because there were in other places in the USA.These conferences give you the opportunity to view other one-room schoolhouses, more then a person can see in their own little world like in our small town of Caldwell, KS! We visited six on the conference tour.Before this conference I was uncertain about how to register our schoolhouse project as a non-profit organization with the IRS until I learned from one presenter that it really should be a non-profit for its own good. In October 2009 when we started working to restore our school, I called the IRS office to send me information on applying for non-profit status, 501(c)3. I received a one-inch thick book of instructions with applications, and read that you have to have the help of an attorney. I called a few local attorneys and even those that I knew personally said they do not do non profits. I was feeling helpless that no one was willing to aid me with this huge task. I filed that packet and didn't look at it again until we got home from this 2012 conference. I decided to give it a shot with CSAA Director Richard Lewis's help through email.I am so thankful to everyone at the conference for giving me the confidence and the drive to give our schoolhouse project all I've got. Hopefully the 501(c)3 status can assure people that their donations are going to go where we say they will go.And, what I loved the most about the CSAA conference were the late nights lounging around reviewing all the helpful information and tips we learned, and sharing pictures and stories with our friends and newly found “family” of the CSAA. I no longer feel alone in this enormous project of preserving a piece of our educational history!Note: The Brunhoebers have acquired a second schoolhouse for their property. Watch for updates.Photos: (Top) Interior of the Belleview School, (Middle) Exterior Bellevue School, (Bottom) Valerie and Mike Brunhoeber at their real jobs!
A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words
Slide show highlighting two days of presentations and the ever popular tour of country schools:
"Preserving an American Icon" Conference One More Success for CSAA
Bill Sherman of Des Moines, Iowa has done it again! He gathered colleagues and schoolhouse enthusiasts from across the United States, Canada, and Norway to meet in America's heartland on behalf of country school preservation. Participants celebrated their schoolhouses and left Ankeny with new friends, new ideas, and photographic memories to mark the 12th Annual CSAA Country School Conference, held this year at Faith Baptist College.
Some 91 participants enjoyed a diverse program of presentations that covered preservation efforts, aspects of schoolhouse life, re-enactment ideas, grant and historical registry resources, renovation and restoration projects, schoolhouse history, and marketing.
The two day program was set against the backdrop of a traveling schoolhouse museum display collected over the past few years by Jane and Paul Moody of Quincy, IL, which has been offered eight times already this season. Artifacts from all phases of instruction and daily life in a one- room school have been carefully collected and preserved by the Moodys, authenticated for dates and uses, and accompanied by detailed descriptions, photos, and documents.
In addition to two full days of presentations, attendees were treated to fine dining and friendship across the greater DesMoines Area. A trip to the Iowa Hall of Pride was included in the third day bus trip to visit Iowa country schools and three living history villages: Nevada Historical Complex, Living History Farm, and Guthrie County Historical Village.
Thanks go out to the Iowans who welcomed us to their schoolhouses, historical sites and restaurants and made us feel so welcome. The 2013 CSAA Conference will be held at Berry College in Rome, GA. Watch for periodic updates on our website at www.countryschool association.org.
Photos: (Top) Bus tour to the Bennett School , West DesMoines; (Bottom) Artifacts from the Moody's Traveling Schoolhouse Museum.
2012 CSAA Annual Conference Registration is Now Open-Program is Ready!
If you plan to attend the 2012 CSAA Annual Conference at Faith Baptist College in Ankeny, Iowa, June 17 - June 20th, on-line registration is now open by visiting the CSAA WEBSITE or accessing forms here:
Either way, payment will be made by check. Registration is open through June 10th, but we encourage early application.
The program is tentatively set and it promises to be rewarding for all our attendees. Be sure to sign up for the schoolhouse tour on Wednesday, a highlight of our annual conference.
Conference Coordinator is Bill Sherman of Des Moines, Iowa, veteran conference organizer and CSAA Boardmember.
For 2012 Program Schedule: Download 2012 CSAA Program
CSAA Boardmembers Make Headlines for Research and Humanitarian Efforts
Susan's presentation is entitled, "Rosewald Readin', Writi'n, 'Rithmetic:" What would a day in the classroom be like for a Rosenwald student? Explore the curriculum, academic subject matter, educational material,and trade skills taught in Rosenwald Schools. Learn about late 19th- and early 20th-century American education, teachers, the Jeanes Foundation which funded the training of teachers in the South, and the challenges of creating educational opportunities for young African Americans. Participate in authentic early 20th-century“recitation time” as if you were a student in a Rosenwald School.
Galena, Kansas Schoolhouse Moved for Restoration
Another success story is in the making! According to Carolyn McLean of Galena, Kansas, who helped spearhead preservation efforts, the Union Chapel Schoolhouse project is well underway after the schoolhouse was moved for safekeeping last May. As she described the move, the schoolhouse traveled, "one-half mile west (on Union Chapel Road) and one-half mile north (105th) and around the corner to the west (Boston Mills Road). "
McLean sends thanks to the many people who helped make it happen:
"Preserving an American Icon"- 2012 Conference Theme, Proposals Accepted Through March 12th
The Country School Association is now accepting your proposal to present at the 12th Annual Country School Conference to be held from June 17-20, 2012 on the campus of First Baptist College in Ankeny, Iowa. Presentations will take place on Monday, June 18th and Tuesday, June 19th. The optional, but ever popular schoolhouse tour will be Wednesday, June 20th.
Presentation proposals should be submitted by March 12, 2012.
For complete information in printable PDF form:
Photo; West Village School, Reading, MA
CSAA's neighbors to the north at the Quinte Educational Museum and Archives (QEMA) will host the SLATE in the County 2012 Conference in Ameliasburgh, Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada, April 15-16, 2012. You are invited to attend!
QEMA is gratified to report that they have already received numerous enquiries related to this year's SLATE Conference. Twenty Friends of SLATE have already indicated their intent to attend this yearly event, and three people have submitted their registration form though the QEMA site and through PayPal.
All updated information has been posted at SLATE in the COUNTY and may be accessed through this link. The site is interactive and user friendly.
The Conference will begin with a “Meet & Greet” reception at the Ameliasburgh Town Hall on April 15th, followed by a one day conference on the 16th using the facilities of the Ameliasburgh Town Hall, The Ameliasburgh Historical Museum and Pioneer Village & QEMA’s Victoria Schoolhouse.
Planners are hopeful that conference participants will plan to spend the weekend or even a week in historic Prince Edward County and the Quinte area. Links to local County information including the City of Belleville are provided for reference on the website. In addition, a YouTube slide presentation has been included.
We look forward with anticipation to your visit with us.
Dan Rainey, QEMA President & Historian
Dr. Helen Snider, Board Member
Additional Important Information:
Information related to the history of SLATE, plans for the SLATE in the County 2012 Conference & Workshop and related information have been posted at WWW.QEMA1978.com, the official website of the Quinte Educational Museum & Archives.
Rooms with special conference rates of $111.00 plus GST have been booked at the Ramada Inn, 11 Bay Bridge Rd, Belleville, CA, K8P 3P6. These rooms will be held until March 15th. Links are provided for other accommodation facilities listed in links to the tourist bureau websites for Prince Edward County and the City of Belleville.
QEMA’s Planning Committee has tentatively planned to accommodate 100 attendees. Interested participants should plan to register early using the registration form provided in the SLATE section of the website.
The Conference fee will be $45.00, and QEMA requests payment through their PayPal link.
Schoolhouse Photographer to Exhibit at Mission, Kansas Art Gallery February 10th - March 3rd
“YESTERDAY’S SCHOOLS,” a brilliant collection of photographically inspired works of the photographer/sculptor Gloria Hawkins will show at VALA Gallery (Video, Audio, Literary Artists) from February 10th. Hawkins work is full of surprises. She captures images of an Americana that is disappearing, and creates art from her
travels. Multi-layering, merging digital photos and re-purposed objects, she often contains them in wooden containers, boxes and suitcases. The artist will be available at opening and closing festivities for personal conversations about the process of creating and preserving our past.
VALA Gallery offers meet-the-artist opportunities on Friday, February 10th (6-9 pm) and Closing, Saturday, March 3rd noon-4 pm at their newest location, 5903 Johnson Drive in Mission, KS, nestled between the Mission Theatre and Lamar’s Doughnuts. Works can also be viewed Mondays 10-2, Wednesdays noon-4 pm & by appointment.
Gloria Hawkins, photographers/sculptor, is above all a preservationist of history and memories. A former teacher, Hawkins applies her fascination for historical accuracy to meticulous documentation and preservation. Hawkins embraced the daunting task of seeking out and interviewing living residents who taught or learned there. Her passionate works are infused with the living memories and histories of those whose stories she preserved. Hawkins does not stop there. She digitizes and re-masters the piercing photographs and reforms them into sculptural narratives to places traveled.
The creation of her exhibit Yesterday's Schools," is an extensive collection of over 15,000 photographs and interviews. Its creation covers a span of 15 years and 37 states. She has exhibited in numerous galleries and universities: including University of Iowa, Northern Iowa University, Heartland Theater Gallery and The National Agricultural Hall of Fame.
The CSAA is proud that Gloria is a member of our board of directors and a regular, and very popular presenter at our annual country schoolhouse conference.
Photos: by Gloria Hawkins
#1 Rose Hill School, OK
#2 Amish Restaurant
#4 Colorado School
Cole School Print Aids Boone, IA Restoration
At the Iowa Country School Conference in October, Iowa artist JD Speltz from Armstrong, presented a fundraiser idea for one-room schools and Cole School supporters took him up on it. That idea was to sell an art print of the schoolhouse painted by JD, and use the proceeds for renovations.
The Cole School, a country school, was built in 1888 in Boone, IA with walls of three layers of brick. Citizens were determined their school would last, and so will its legacy if this fundraiser is a success!
According to Bill Sherman, coordinator of the conference, this is only one of three brick schoolhouses left in Iowa and volunteers have been working since 2006 to restore it. Up to now, all the brick has been repaired and re-pointed, the limestone foundation resurfaced, a new cedar-shingle roof has been installed, windowsills and a door step set in place, and electricity run to the building. Still in need of replacement are the six windows and door, the building of a vestibule inside, and the laying of a new floor.
The remaining work will certainly get a boost if the prints sell. According to Barb MacDougall, "We will be selling these prints for the next 10 days until Christmas Eve. You'll find that the colors of the print are more vibrant than a digital image here can portray."
CSAA Now Offers Country School Journal Submitted by Dr. Lucy Townsend
The Country School Association of America is now offering an opportunity for writers to share their scholarly work dedicated to the subject of country schools, their history and their current state. We recently launched our new website at COUNTRY SCHOOL JOURNAL and invite submissions for publication on this site.
The Country School Journal, sponsored by the Country School Association of America (CSAA), is a peer-reviewed, online, annual publication that includes interdisciplinary, open-access articles, curriculum, reviews, and icons. Its audience consists of people who wish to preserve country schools, disseminate scholarship about these schools, create and/or maintain the schools as museums, promote living history programs, and enable people of all ages to explore country schooling as practiced in the past and present.
Lucy Townsend, Northern Illinois University
Nicholas J. Shudak, Mount Marty College
Mark DeWalt, Winthrop University
Veronica I. Ent, St. Vincent College
Susan Fineman, District #1 School (Nashua, NH)
David L. Burton, University of Missouri
Susan Webb, The Traveling Schoolmarm (Birmingham, AL)
Articles are invited that deal with a range of issues and questions, for example:
Curriculum includes but is not limited to
Book or video reviews, poetry, icons, and family histories as related to one or more country schools are also encouraged. Links to videos are provided.
Publication will be determined by juried review. They should be relevant to CSAA members and others interested in country schooling. Each manuscript should be accompanied by a statement that it is unpublished and has not been submitted to another publisher for possible publication. Articles should be submitted by email to Lucy Townsend (email@example.com) and Nicholas J. Shudak (firstname.lastname@example.org). Authors are responsible for obtaining permission to reproduce copyrighted material and are required to sign an agreement for the transfer of copyright to the CSAA. All accepted manuscripts, artwork, and photographs become property of the CSAA. For more information, contact Lucy Townsend or Nicholas J. Shudak.
Page proofs are sent via email to the designated author. They should be carefully checked and returned within two weeks of receipt. If authors have any problems, they should contact Lucy Townsend or Nicholas J. Shudak.
Online Submission Guidelines
The suggested length for submissions is 15 to 30 double-spaced pages. Chicago Manual of Style and the sample articles below can serve as guides for formatting a submission. The author should not write his or her name or any identifying information on the manuscript. That information belongs in the author’s email message to the editor.
The Great American Experiment:
The One-room Schools of DeKalb County, Illinois, 1830s—1957
Education has been called a “great American experiment, . . . a test of various philosophies
ideas, and institutions.” This study is about one of these experiments—the one-room country school
—where most American education occurred from the colonial era to the middle of the twentieth
century. In the 1918-19 school year, the number of one-room schools reached the high-water mark
of 196,037, including more than ninety thousand in the Midwest.[i]
The focus of this study is on the one-room schools of DeKalb County, Illinois, a 633-square-
mile tract of land with its eastern border fifty miles west of Chicago’s Lake Michigan shore and its
northern border around twenty-five miles south of the Wisconsin state line. The county was
established by the Illinois General Assembly in 1837, from land previously included in neighboring
Kane County. DeKalb County is named in honor of Baron DeKalb, a German soldier who was killed
while fighting with the American patriots in the Revolutionary War. Most of the county’s earliest
settlers were farmers moving west who made their land claims in close proximity to the groves of
trees and the streams that were most abundant in the northern and southern areas of the county.
Settlement later expanded into the sparsely timbered prairie of the center of the county, particularly
after the railroad lines came through.[ii]
Between the late 1830s and 1957, when the last one-room school closed in DeKalb County, the
county’s children were educated primarily in approximately 160 one-room schools scattered
throughout nineteen townships.[iii] Why did the residents build and support one-room schools?
What role did the schools play in the neighborhoods? What activities typically occurred in these
schools? How were teachers selected, educated, paid, and supervised? And what became of these
schools? These are the questions that will be explored in this study.
[i] Quotation from L. Dean Webb, The History of American Education (Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson-Merrill-Prentice Hall, 2006), v; Wayne Fuller, One-Room Schools of the Middle West: An Illustrated History (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 194), I; Historical Dictionary of American Education, 1st ed., s.v., “One-room Schoolhouses.”
[ii] Harriet Wilson Davy, ed., From Oxen to Jets: A History of DeKalb County, 1835-1963 (Dixon, IL: DeKalb County Board of Supervisors, 1963), 11-12, 14, 23; Henry L. Boies, History of DeKalb County, Illinois (1868; repr., Evansville, IN: Whipporwill Publications, 1987), 34-36.
[iii] Davy, 12, 14, 23. The exact number of DeKalb County’s one-room schools is difficult to ascertain since one school was actually located in an adjacent county, some were moved, others were rebuilt and renamed, and there may have been others so fleeting that all traces of them have been lost.
Book and Video Review Submissions
Book and video reviews are important contributions to artistic and scholarly work on country schooling. Reviews keep other country school enthusiasts and scholars informed and examine important issues. Reviewers should reveal the strengths, weaknesses, and uniqueness of the work in question. Also, they should include the quality of the author's scholarship and its contribution to the body of visual and scholarly work on country schooling. Reviewers are encouraged to use their knowledge, experience, and taste to write a review. Length of a review may vary from 1,000 to 2,000 words. The submission should include a word count at the bottom of the text. If the video is online, they should provide viewers with a link.
Icons (line drawings, halftones, photos, photomicrographs, etc.) may be in color or black and white. They should be submitted as separate digital files (300dpi or higher), be sized to fit a journal page, and be formatted in TIFF, EPS, or PSD.
Bibliographic Information and Referencing Guidelines
Each scholarly submission should provide complete references, text citations, and notes according to The Chicago Manual of Style, Sixteenth Edition:
Table and Figure Submissions
Tables and figures should not be included as separate files. Each table should also include a brief descriptive title with a clear legend and any footnotes identified below the table. All units should be included. Figures should be completely labeled, taking into account necessary size reduction. Captions should be typed, double-spaced, on a separate sheet. All other figures should be clearly marked in pencil on the reverse side with the number, author's name, and top edge indicated.
Painting credits: Elizabeth Stanhope Forbes, "School is Out"
Country School Association of America Seeks Nominations for 2012 Service Awards
and funds to keep up and/or serve as school marms, and/or curators for country
schools throughout the US and Canada. CSAA is committed to honoring these
individuals each year.
Two awards will be given annually. Each award will include a stipend of $300
which can go to the individual or the historical association involved with their local
school house. Winners will also receive free registration to the annual conference for
the year the award is received.
Examples of potential awardees could be (and not limited to:)
• Someone who has donated their time each summer or season to have a schoolhouse open for a day or an event, week after week or year after year.
• An area volunteer who has donated time and time again their talents to make repairs to the local schoolhouse.
• A person who has served as the school marm for years and is always an advocate for the preservation of the schoolhouse.
Two (2) awards will be granted. The first award will be given to an individual that
lives within 100 miles of the annual conference. The second award will go to an
individual who resides at least 101 miles from the CSAA Conference site. Please
check the CSAA website for this year's location.
The selection committee, CSAA Treasurer, and the director of the upcoming CSAA
conference will review the nominations. The selection committee will notify
awardees by mid April, grant a conference voucher, and present the stipend at the
DEADLINE for submissions is March 1, 2012
For information and applications, go to: CSAA Service Awards
Artwork: "The Red Schoolhouse" by Winslow Homer
Marilyn Boley of Birmingham, Iowa, is one of the two inaugural winners of the Country School Association of America Service Award of 2011. While serving as treasurer on the Morris Park Board, Marilyn has devoted her time to raising funds for school house preservation. “Marilyn has tirelessly dedicated countless hours in the restoration and preservation efforts that have been devoted to the one room schoolhouse at Morris Park,” one nominator stated. Not only did Marilyn tour other country schools in Iowa for ideas and inspiration, she also tackled school improvement jobs both large and small, from raising funds for a new roof to painting and cleaning school interiors. An inspiration to her community, Marilyn Boley has worked tirelessly as fundraiser, recruiter, advocate, and educator in the country school movement.
Landmark School Status for Perkins Hollow, NY
Congratulations are in order for Perkins Hollow Schoolhouse of the Washington County Fair Farm Museum! The Greenwich, NY schoolhouse was rededicated recently as a CSAA Landmark Schoolhouse and entered into the CSAA National Schoolhouse Registry. Education Director Joan Prouty and her husband Dale presided over the ceremonies and the enveiling of the CSAA Registry plaque, now displayed at the schoolhouse. The Proutys, both CSAA charter members, administer the schoolhouse collections, interviews, and memorabilia, and shared the information below.
"The white clapboard one-room schoolhouse stood atop a hill in Perkins Hollow In Salem, NY for over a century. Built during the 1850's it was where the Beatty family and neighbors were educated until it closed in 1910. By 1977 it was well-weathered on the outside and overgrown with brush when the Beaty family donated the building and contents, along with the woodshed-outhouse building to the Washington County Fair for the newly formed museum.
Amazingly, the four shuttered windows, two on each side of the building, still held their original glass. The wide wood board and plaster walls were still intact as were the nine woodedn desks made by the original carpenter. Placed in three rows of three desks each, the desks are double and accomodate eighteen scholars. The seat for the desk backs is one long board across the width of the room! The recitation bench on the wall at right angles to the desks is a long seat where pupils sat to recite their lessons. The blackboard, simply boards painted black, still hangs on the front wall.
The furnishings of the room were the teacher's desk and chair, another chair for company, and two charts as teaching aids. There was a low bench which could be used as an extra seat or pulled up to the stove on cold mornings. A water pail and a long-handled dipper stood at one end of the recitation bench.
Care was taken to preserve the schoolhouse and outbuildings in their original condition to offer visitors an opportunity to step back in time. Each year multiple generations visit the schoolhouse and interact with stories of when they went to school."
Note: Through its National Schoolhouse Registry program, The CSAA recognizes school buildings that contribute to the appreciation and understanding of the country school experience and their unique architectural heritage. Markers are awarded to buildings that are at least 50 years old, have been preserved, restored, renovated, or reconstructed to retain the integrity of their original design, and are well-maintained. See the CSAA website for applications.
1853- First students taught here.
1910- School closed and left untouched.
1977- Schoolhouse donated and moved to Washington County Fairgrounds.
1974- Received Washington County Historic Preservation Award.
2010- Recognized as CSAA Landmark Schoolhouse and listed on CSAA National Schoolhouse Registry
2011- May 7th Dedication Ceremony
Thanks to all the people who have helped in the schoolhouse and museum preservation effort over the years!
Another Successful Conference for CSAA
Participants from across the United States gathered at Rider University in Lawrenceville, NJ for the 2011 CSAA County School Conference. They chose from 22 dynamic presentations on all aspects of schoolhouse preservation and programming. For a list of the presentations and presenters, feel free to access the following program outline:
For photo highlights of the 2011 conference and schoolhouse tour access the YouTube video below:
Every year, unsung heroes step forward to take on the task of coordinating the annual CSAA Country Schoolhouse Conference, a daunting and time consuming job. From conception to schoolhouse tour, countless hours of planning, phone calls, e-mails, travel, paperwork, and worry go into the task of ensuring a rewarding and successful conference.
This year, we take this opportunity to thank Maureen O’Connor Leach, who offered to take on this task in a letter to the CSAA dated October 23, 2007! She never wavered in her bid to bring the conference to Burlington County, New Jersey as an opportunity to share their treasured schoolhouses. Maureen is a consultant to historic sites and cultural institutions and counts the Trenton Historical Society and the Colonial Dames of NJ among her clients. She is also a food historian and hearth cook as well as an interpreter of the 18th through early 20th centuries. Maureen is a frequent presenter at historic societies, professional organizations, and historic preservation programs.
We also thank her assistant, Sarah Bent, who is the Historic Site Supervisor for Historic Walnford Park, a mill village, presenting programs for school children at The Old Schoolhouse in Mt Holly. She is a talented artist and an amazing seamstress. She was the costume mistress for Longstreet Farm for many years.
Photos: Cross Keys School, Medford, NJ
(L) Sarah Bent (R) Maureen O'Connor Leach
2011 CSAA Conference Program Updated!
If you plan to attend the 2011 CSAA Conference June 13-15, at Rider University, you can access the updated conference program schedule NOW! There have been minor changes to the locations etc. but the attached program is the one going to press.
Note the time and place for registration check-in on Sunday June 12th is at the Bart Luedeke Center, Lawrenceville Campus from 1:00-6:00 p.m. See you there!
A Second Chance for a Schoolhouse in Galena, KS
It's another small victory for preservation: the saving of a historic 1878 country schoolhouse from the wrecking ball! The money has been raised and Union Chapel School, north of Galena, KS is being moved this week. See the article in the Joplin Globe:
Carolyn McLean, who spearheaded the effort writes: “We are moving Union Chapel School this week in large sections and to its new home...I am thrilled...I was wondering if you know of any school being torn down if they would donate redwood siding, window glass or windows, etc." She added that she sure hopes there are none being torn down though.
The schoolhouse will be moved one-half mile west (on Union Chapel Road) and one-half mile north (105th) and around the corner to the west (Boston Mills Road).
Carolyn McLean can be contacted via e-mail at email@example.com
CSAA will monitor Union's progress for the future. Photo from Joplin Globe. Thank you.
CSAA Conference Seeks Silent Auction Items
When you attend the upcoming conference at Rider University on June 13-15 in Lawrenceville, NJ, be sure to visit the silent auction and you may find some interesting schoolhouse items. In fact, if you have any extra schoolhouse memorabilia lying around that you find redundant or useful for someone else's time period, and you are willing to donate it, someone at the conference will surely consider it a treasure for their school!
Last year we sold numerous books, framed pictures, maps, DVD's, items with a schoolhouse theme, and actual schoolhouse artifacts. Attendees brought their items for donation and proceeds were used to help fund our CSAA awards and grants. Take a look around your collections and you'll probably come up with something you're willing to part with. Your donation will certainly be appreciated. The auction is also a fun addition to the festivities! Suzanne Daniel and Catharin Lewis have volunteered to run this year's auction.
Join the effort. Take a look around. Find something? Pack it in your bags. It will fly off the table!
To register for the conference refer to the next article below!
On-Line Registration Available for 11th Annual CSAA Conference:
"An Investment in Knowledge: Preserving and Presenting Schoolhouses"
The Country School Association of America’s annual conference will be held this year in the Mid-Atlantic states at Rider University in historic New Jersey. As in the past, the two-day conference will include more than 20 presentations on Monday and Tuesday, June 13 and 14, and will offer the ever popular bus tour/workshop on Wednesday, June 15th.
We thank Maureen O'Connor Leach of Freehold, NJ, our conference coordinator for 2011.
Online (and paper) registration is now open at: www.countryschoolassociation.org
If you would like to see an UPDATED conference program outline please select this link:
This event draws a diverse group of participants from a broad spectrum of organizations, museums, academic institutions as well as cultural and heritage centers. Each year it provides museum personnel, teachers, staff, faculty and students, preservationists, historians and re-enactors from across the country, a valuable forum to exchange ideas, discuss their programs, and share preservation efforts with colleagues in the field.
With such an energetic atmosphere, dynamic events, educational sessions, and networking opportunities, you do not want to miss this conference. Our attendees return home with countless ideas and renewed enthusiasm for their local schoolhouse programs.
Photo: Cross Keys School, Medford, NJ (schoolhouse on the tour)
West Bay Common School to Exhibit at American Association of Museums Expo May 22-25, 2011
The American Association of Museums will hold their Annual Meeting and Expo in Houston this year returning only every 20-30 years. It is the largest conference of its kind in the country with over 5000 attendees from across the nation.
CSAA member, West Bay Common School of League City, TX, is one of only 6 small local museums offered the opportunity to host a booth in the foyer of the George R. Brown Convention Center to spotlight their museum.
The foyer exhibit was started last year in what is called the Discover Zone, and they are going now to do it every year. This area focuses on hands-on or experiential history activities, which is why West Bay Common School fits so well. Visit the West Bay website to see the many activities that convinced the AMM of it's importance in the world of museums...of all sizes.
Catharin Lewis is the director and curator of the West Bay Common School Museum and a very active member in the Country School Association of America. She is ably assisted by her husband, Richard Lewis, of the CSAA Board of Directors.
The AAM conference will be held in Houston, TX from May 22-25th at the George R. Brown Convention Center. For more information access their website at: