Your Invitation to the CSAA 2017 Annual Conference, New London, New Hampshire, June 11-14, 2017!
Save the Date for 2017!
Country School Association of America
17th Annual Schoolhouse Conference
June 11-14, 2017
New London, New Hampshire
Sending Thanks to Fredericksburg, Texas for Their Hospitality!
Each year we post a short video slide show to highlight the CSAA Annual Conference, held this year from June 19-22 in the beautiful hill country of Fredericksburg, Texas. 80 participants from across the U.S. enjoyed two days of presentations and a third day touring area schoolhouses.
The Pioneer Museum in Fredericksburg hosted the conference coordinated by Jane Woellhof and her cadre of wonderful volunteers! We were also fortunate to enjoy an exhibit of antique schoolgirl samplers at the museum, a demonstration of side-saddle horsemanship by Ladies Riding Astride, the Nimitz WWII Museum, a tour of Fredericksburg, and the proud history of the LBJ era. What a beautiful city!
Here we share those highlights and encourage you to attend the 2017 annual conference to be held in New London, NH, from June 11-14th, 2017. Information will be posted on the CSAA website and this newsletter on the NH conference.
Memories of Hill Country Teachers Revisited
by Diane Daniels Manning
My decision to write Hill Country Teacher: Oral Histories from the One-Room School and Beyond was motivated by the desire to preserve the stories of teachers who began their careers in one-room country schools, often as teenagers. Although I now live in Houston, I was then Chair of the Department of Education at Tulane University in New Orleans. My students didn’t believe me when I told them many teachers once had to choose between marriage and teaching. I realized the road these pioneers had walked, the gates they had opened, would soon be gone.
My original idea was to interview teachers throughout the country, but I decided to begin in Kerrville, Texas, a town with a vigorous community of retired teachers. Once I began, one person’s story led to another, and eventually there was a book. These were published as part of the prestigious Twayne Oral History series in 1990.
In the intervening years, several things happened. The original book went out of print, the copyright reverted to me, and self-publishing became a realistic possibility. I decided to reissue the original book at today’s lower pricing, so that it would be more affordable as a gift or to keep for readers who would be most interested—teachers past and future.
More information and reviews of Hill Country Teacher can be found on my website www.dianedanielsmanning.com.
The book can be purchased as a paperback or e-book on amazon.com. Reviews posted on Amazon are extremely helpful and most appreciated.
Link to purchase on Amazon: HILL COUNTRY TEACHER
Please join Sibyl Sutherland (and the others) as she begins their stories….
“I didn’t want to teach. My mother practically drove me into it. I’d been to Schreiner College for two years, and then I stayed home a year. I’d finished high school at sixteen because I started school when I was five, and we didn’t have but ten grades at that time. I just stayed home and trapped. I caught fox and ring tails and so forth.
Then one day Mother said, ‘You can’t sit around here. You need to get out!’
She told me later she was just like a mother bird shoving her little one out of the nest. She said she could just see me staying at home ‘til I was an old lady.”
Children’s Books: Making History Come Alive
by Dr. Mary E. Outlaw
Young visitors to country schools often lack the experiential background to understand and appreciate how such schools served their communities in earlier times. Museum and historic site staff and teachers of visiting students have limited time for providing perspective and context for student visits to these sites. The use of children’s literature, however, can be an effective tool in preparing students for a country or one-room school visit. This literature can also enhance post-visit classroom reviews.
The books listed below are recommended for use before, during and after a visit to a country or one-room school. One strategy that can provide needed background and context for young students is the use of a “book box.” This is a collection of artifacts mentioned in the book, especially those items that are less familiar today. These items may be presented/shared with students prior to reading the book. This sharing can even take the form of a pre-assessment---checking to see if anyone recognizes the item or has any knowledge of it. After presenting the items, the book is read, with appropriate pauses when one of the shared items is mentioned. Questions after the reading may focus on how the item was used, and what would be the comparative item today. Why was the more modern item not used in the story?
A list of suggested artifacts for two of the books listed below is provided, along with vocabulary activities students can complete. Additional activities in which students can participate include preparing creative book reports, playing some of the games from the book, and even writing their own story (If their grandchildren were reading about their grandparents’ life during elementary school, what would the “good ole’ days” look like?)
This book box model may be adapted for use with other books and publications. Picture books and chapter books are most appropriate for K-8 learners. (“Chapter books” generally contain more text than picture books and the storyline is organized into distinct chapters. They are now available for many ages and reading levels.) Biography and autobiography selections are suggested to provide background content for teachers and living history staff members. The list includes geographic location/setting to assist in matching different local histories and cultures of the historic and contemporary schools.
Barasch, Lynne. A Country Schoolhouse. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2004.
A student’s grandfather tells of his experiences in a three-room school. The book includes a good description of grade groupings in the different classrooms and activities in those classrooms.
Bial, Raymond. One-Room School. New York: Houghton-Mifflin, 1999.
Hauscherr, Rosemarie. The One-Room School at Squabble Hollow. New York: Four Winds Press, 1988.
This is the story of a “modern-day” one-room school. It is slightly dated even with the mention of dot-matrix printers and other details. The photographs and a story line bring the one-room school alive for the current students.
Houston, Gloria. My Great-Aunt Arizona. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1992.
Blue Ridge Mountains (NC)
A little girl dreamed of faraway places while she was growing up and attending a one-room school. Though she never visited those places, she taught generations of children about words and numbers and all the places they could visit.
McCully, Emily Arnold. School. New York: Harper & Row, 1987.
This is a wordless book about a mouse community and their country school.
Pringle, Laurence P. One Room School. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mill Press, 1998.
Share one last year at School 14, with adventures such as being driven home in the rumble seat of the teacher’s car, working in a classroom with students from first through eighth grades, having to go outside to use the school’s bathroom, playing “Anny Anny Over” throwing a ball over the school’s roof, and more.
Sandin, Joan. Coyote School News. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2003.
This is a year in the life of a one-room school in the southwest (land that originally belonged to Mexico.) Gives a good glimpse of Hispanic culture. It includes a listing of Spanish words and how to pronounce them at the end of the book.
Weatherford, Carole Boston. Dear Mr. Rosenwald. New York: Scholastic Press, 2006.
Based on the actual founding of the Rosenwald schools, the reader gets a glimpse of the
need for these schools and the times when they were built. The Author’s Note provides additional historical information.
Avi. The Secret School. San Diego, CA: Harcourt, 2001.
When their teacher has to leave for a family emergency, the students plot to keep the
school open. They all work together to continue school so that the two oldest students can take the exams they need to enter high school. With just a few challenges along the way, they are successful in their quest to keep the school open, and pass required exams.
Bartlett, Susan. Seal Island School. New York: Puffin Books, 1999.
Every year a new teacher comes to Seal Island School on the coast of Maine (rather than the former teacher staying for more than one year). Pru and other students really like Miss Sparling and are determined to assure that she stays another year on the island. Through several surprising partnerships, the students are successful in their efforts, not only for keeping Miss Sparling, but also to register enough students to keep the school open.
Brink, Carol Ryrie. Caddie Woodlawn. New York: MacMillan, 1935.
The author tells the story of her grandmother, the real Caddie Woodlawn, and the adventures with Indians in rural Wisconsin in the 1860s. Originally printed in 1935, this classic continues to be in print. *1936 Newbery Medal winner
DeJong, Meindert. The Wheel on the School. New York: Harper Trophy, 1954.
Dutch fishing village
This is the story of how students in a one-room school in the Dutch fishing village of Shora brought long absent storks back to Shora. Everyone becomes involved and an initially unlikely member of the community proves to be a critical player in the effort.
*1955 Newbery Medal winner
Hansen, Joyce. I Thought My Soul would Rise and Fly: The Diary of Patsy, a Freed Girl, Mars Bluff, South Carolina, 1865. New York: Scholastic, 1997.
In this addition to the Dear America series, Joyce Hansen presents the inspiring story of Patsy, a freed girl who becomes a great teacher. Hansen won the Coretta Scott King Honor.
Hill, Kirkpatrick. The Year of Miss Agnes. New York: Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2000.
When their teacher leaves, the students are not quite sure about the next teacher that,comes to their school. Though there are several questions about the new teacher, it isn’t long before the students are endeared to Miss Agnes and enjoy everything they are learning. Miss Agnes considers returning to England at the end of the year, butdecides to stay for the next year, much to the students' delight.
Lawlor, Laurie. The School at Crooked Creek. New York: Holiday House, 2004.
Beansie and his sister Louisa have an adventure on the first day of school at their one-room school. The family cow helps out in the snowstorm and everyone looks forward to the next day of school. A glossary is included to assist with unfamiliar terms.
McCaughrean, Geraldine. Stop the Train. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.
“It’s 1892 and for them and their fellow settlers, a bright future seems set to arrive along the Red Rock Railroad track.” When settlers refuse to sell their claims to the railroad company, the railroad decides to not stop at their town. This is the story of how the people of Florence got the train to stop at their town.
Murphy, Jim. My Face to the Wind: The Diary of Sarah Jane Price, a Prairie Teacher. New York: Scholastic, 2001.
Broken Bow, Nebraska
Her father was the teacher for the one-room school, and after his death, she had nowhere to go. Rather than risk being sent to the orphanage, Sarah determines that she will be the teacher. She convinces the town people of her ability. Her safe management of the children in a snowstorm was all that was needed to assure the position was hers.
Swain, Gwenyth. Chig and the Second Spread. New York: Delacorte Press, 2003.
Kalish, Mildred Armstrong. Little Heathens: Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression. New York: Bantam Dell, 2007.
This memoir captures a way of life unfamiliar to folks today. The chapters cover a wide range of topics from the Depression era and include specific chapters about the country school and a city school.
Puckett, Martha Mizell, edited by Hoyle B. Puckett Sr. Memories of a Georgia Teacher: Fifty Years In The Classroom. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2002.
Barely fifteen years old, Martha Mizell began her teaching career in 1913 in a one-room, one-teacher school hear the Okefenokee Swamp in southeast Georgia. This book chronicles that time period and location, from the observance of holidays to the rituals of school openings and closings, to the challenges and variety of transportation available for a young teacher.
Williams, Cratis D. I Become a Teacher: A Memoir of One-Room School Life in Eastern Kentucky. Ashland, Kentucky: The Jesse Stuart Foundation, 1995.
“This book is a memoir of one-room school life in 1929, detailing the first teaching experience of Cratis D. Williams, once America’s foremost scholar on the Appalachian experience. This beautiful story of Williams’ first teaching assignment---a one-room school on Caines Creek in Lawrence County, Kentucky---will be of interest to teachers, historians, genealogists, and general scholars.” (from book jacket)
Our thanks to Mary Outlaw for sharing her presentation on books for children with one-room school themes. Beginning her career in the elementary classroom, Dr. Mary Outlaw gained valuable experience that served her well as she earned advanced degrees and became a professor of education, teaching courses in curriculum and methods for elementary education majors. Her interest in the history of teacher education provided the topic for her dissertation and on-going research. A founding member of the CSAA, she serves as the secretary for the organization, and hosted the 2013 CSAA conference at Berry College in Rome, Georgia.
2016 CSAA National Conference Preservation Grants Report
2016 is the 8th year the Country School Association has provided Grant Funding for Preservation work on some of America’s early schoolhouses. We had seven requests this year and our Association gave three grants of $1000 for preservation efforts. Our memberships provide this funding so thank you to all for this support.
I want to thank my CSAA Preservation Grant committee members for their time on evaluating the applications. Members of our committee are Sue Grosboll, Myrna Grove, and Catharin Lewis. They are a great team to work with.
This year’s grant recipients include:
Locust Grove School is a circa 1865 school west of Philadelphia in the Town of Pocopson, Pennsylvania close to the Chadd’s Ford/Brandywine region. The building was in very poor condition when purchased by the Township in 2004. The Pocopson Township Historical Commission immediately began renovations and funding efforts.
The school is in an area rich with Revolutionary War and Underground Railroad history. They have developed curriculum and collected artifacts for expanded programming. They now are anxious to get interior renovations completed, especially the floors.
Root School is a 1937 Schoolhouse in Norwich, Vermont built to replace one which had burned the year before. The building immediately was designated a Vermont “Superior” school and received its Superior plaque in 1939. In 1945 it was closed when enrollment fell to 4 pupils.
Since 1952 the school building has been maintained as a community center by the Root District Game Club, a small organization of area families. Due to a deteriorating foundation, the building had to be closed for public use in 2011. Presently the group is pursuing fund raising efforts to repair the foundation and once again have the building open for public use. In 2013 Root School was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Clara Barton School in Bordentown, New Jersey is a wonderful brick building with a raised teacher’s platform to the right hand corner by the entry door. Clara Barton created an innovative program and taught here in 1852-54. The building was restored in the 1920’s. They will use their grant for preservation of the original window muntins, rails and stiles. Note: This was one of the schoolhouses on our tour day at the 2011 conference in New Jersey.
Congratulations to this year’s recipients. Preservation Grant information, guidelines and application are available on line at www.countryschoolassociation.org
CSAA Preservation Grant Chair
More Than 200,000 Country Schools: A Guide for Research, Preservation, and Education
by Lucy Townsend, Editor
Do you know of a one-room school museum in your area?
Are you involved in the preservation of a country school?
Have you attended a one-room school, taught in one, or re-enacted in one?
Have you written a book with a country school setting, worked on the restoration of a one-room school, or ever visited one?
Are you familiar with one-room school history?
Do you need advice on programming or promotion of your schoolhouse museum?
Do you enjoy photographing schoolhouses?
Would you simply like to know more about research, preservation, and education concerning country schools?
Do you know there is a national organization dedicated to the preservation of our remaining country schools?
If you said yes to any of these questions, this is the book for you!
For over two hundred years, country schools were the nation’s most reliable educational institutions, and over 200,000 once dotted the American landscape. This book contains interviews with thirteen people who completed projects dedicated to the preservation of country school history. They set out to make a lasting contribution to their communities, and they completed worthwhile projects with neither major grant support nor national recognition.
A “must read” if you are interested in country schools. This book can be purchased from Amazon at the following link:
List Price: $14.99
6" x 9" (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Black & White on White paper
BISAC: Education / History
A brief history of the New Chicago Schoolhouse from their website says:
Built in 1874, the New Chicago Schoolhouse was moved to the west end of Drummond in 1988 and has been restored by volunteers of the Lower Valley Historical Society. It is adjacent to I-90 and can be easily seen from there. With its bell tower it can be mistaken for a church.
Among the exhibits is the story of Emma Davis Wilson (1844-1917), a pioneer teacher who homesteaded with her husband and two sons near New Chicago in 1874. Another fascinating exhibit is the quilt depicting the history of the Drummond area. The museum offers a number of other exhibits giving the visitor a glimpse of the history of this area.
New Chicago was located along Flint Creek, at the junction of the Mullan Road and the road to Philipsburg. It included two hotels, two stores, two saloons, a flour mill, a telegraph station, several stables, a stage station, and a Wells Fargo office. With the arrival of the railroad to Drummond (Edwardsville) in August of 1883, New Chicago slowly ceased to exist.
Tim has also suggested a book entitled: The Empty Schoolhouse: Memories of One-Room Texas Schools, by Luther Bryan Clegg (author/editor) that contains a chapter on the Old Hobbs School, a "nomadic" schoolhouse.
Register Now for 2016 CSAA Conference
Schedule of Events Posted!
Presentation Synopses Posted!
Self-Driving Tour Posted!
If you are planning to attend the 2016 conference in Fredericksburg, TX, June 19th-22nd, access the link below for complete registration information:
For a complete list of presentations and daily schedule, access the link below:
A full description of each presentation is available below:
If you wish to take the self-drive schoolhouse tour on Sunday, June 19th, access the link below:
You can also find registration details on our website under "Annual Conference" at the link below:
Classic Country Schoolhouse Recollection Reprinted
Submitted by Wisconsin Historical Society Press
On a hazy August morning in 1939, five-year-old Jerry Apps donned a denim shirt with new bib overalls and then combed his hair at the insistence of his mother. Carrying a lard pail as a lunch bucket, two yellow pencils, and a five-cent pad of paper, he took his place in the procession of children on the dusty road headed to Chain O'Lake School in Waushara County. At the sound of the bell that signaled the start of the school year, the students hurried into the modest white building, where one teacher taught children spanning eight grades in a single classroom. It's a memory that might sound familiar to anyone who attended a one-room rural school in the early twentieth century. From 1791, when the first school was established in what is now Wisconsin, to the consolidation of rural school districts in the 1960s, the one-room school's history has been one of growth and change.
In "One-Room Country Schools," Jerry Apps relays this history through his own vivid recollections, along with the stories told to him by some of the countless students and teachers who populated small country schoolhouses across the state over the years. From the organized chaos of teaching disparate age groups in one room, to tales of recess, holiday programs, and classroom mischief, these stories provide a lively and detailed portrait of what it was like to be educated in the same room as one's siblings. More than just memories, this book provides insight into the value of the highly localized and more personalized educational practices of the past.
Find more Jerry Apps here!
And, discover a complimentary book about one-room schools for younger readers, One Room Schools by Susan Apps-Bodilly
What was it like to attend a one-room school, to be in the same classroom as your older brother or younger sister, or to have your teacher live with your family for part of the school year? In "One Room Schools," Susan Apps-Bodilly chronicles life in Wisconsin's early country schools, detailing the experiences of the students, the role of the teacher, and examples of the curriculum, including the importance of Wisconsin School of the Air radio programs. She describes the duties children had at school besides their schoolwork, from cleaning the erasers and sweeping cobwebs out of the outhouse to carrying in wood for the stove. She also tells what led to the closing of the one-room schools, which were more than just centers of learning: they also served as the gathering place for the community. Susan Apps-Bodilly drew from the research compiled by her father, Jerry Apps, for his book "One-Room Country Schools: History and Recollections." Apps-Bodilly has geared her book toward young readers who will learn what students and their teacher did on cold mornings before the woodstove warmed them up. They also will find out how to play recess games like Fox and Geese and Anti-I-Over and will learn the locations of ten former one-room schools that can be toured. Apps-Bodilly also encourages readers to ask themselves what lessons can be learned from these early schools that have application for today's schools. "One Room Schools" will transport young readers back in time and make their grandparents and others of that generation nostalgic--perhaps even prompting them to share memories of their school days.
To receive a review copy or press release, to schedule an author event, or for more information contact the WHS Press Marketing Department: email@example.com.
Lessons Learned in the One-room Country School
by Larry Scheckel
You could not get a better education than the one-room country school. It is model for a superior education. That’s my claim and I’m sticking to it!
I attended Oak Grove School, two miles northwest of the town of Seneca, in the heart of Crawford County, in the hill country of southwestern Wisconsin from 1948 to 1956. I was one of 28 kids, grade 1 to 8, with one teacher, no indoor plumbing, no telephone, and not a single building in sight. Portraits of Washington and Lincoln hung on one wall, in addition to a map case, in a building not much bigger than a modern garage. The opposite wall held the Ranger Mac bulletin board plus exemplary student work.
Across the top of the blackboard was a banner with the entire alphabet in huge letters, both upper case and lower case. We used the term “big A” and “little a” or capital “G” and small “g”. Penmanship was important at Oak Grove School. Below the blackboard was a small stand with a Philco radio. Only Teacher touched that radio!
Oak Grove School was the educational and social center for the farm families on Oak Grove Ridge. Norwegian, Dane, Swede, German, Irish, English, Polish, and Czech families forged a bond in this school in rural Wisconsin. Everyone attended the basket social in late October, the Christmas program, and the end-of-year picnic in late May.
The nine Scheckel children walked one mile to and from school. We were joined on the gravel road by the seven Kozelka kids. While on the trek we talked to farm neighbors, picked apples, threw rocks, sledded, laughed, teased, and argued. Wild raspberries, goldenrods, Queen Anne’s lace, and chicory grew along the side of the road.
We pulled cockleburs, a natural forerunner of Velcro, from plants and balled them together. They would hook into the clothing and not let go. Who could make the biggest ball became a spirited contest. We would wind up and throw them at each other. Hopefully, someone would be wearing a wool sweater. Cockleburs just love wool clothing.
At the top of the Ingham hill, one could see miles in every direction. Rain, snow, sleet, hot blazing sun, it made no difference, we walked. One memorable afternoon we scurried home during a thunderstorm, lightning dancing across the sky. You won’t see that happening these days, let me tell you!
Reciting for the teacher, the hectograph machine, recess time, softball games, snowball fights, The Weekly Reader, radio programs from Wisconsin School of the Air, carvings on school desks, goiter pills, wood burning stove, and seventeen year old first-year teachers were all part of the Oak Grove School. There were families so poor they couldn’t afford a penny pencil and the entire library held fewer than 30 books.
We discovered family ideals by reading about Dick, Jane, Sally, Spot, the dog, and Puff the cat. Stories taught values. The story of Billy Goat Gruff and the Troll was typical. Strive for more, but be satisfied with what you have. There is no room for being a bully and that troll was definitely a bad guy. Good guys win, and bad guys lose. Lessons learned.
Our fifth grader reader had a story about a farmer and his land. The town chairman told the farmer that the road running through his farmland needed to be straightened. Several accidents had occurred on a dangerous curve. The farmer objected to his land being taken for a new road project, even though he was informed that he would be paid for his land. The farmer finally agreed to sell a part of his prized cropland. We learned about “eminent domain”.
We did not realize it at the time, I suppose, that each of our reading stories was teaching lessons of ethics, morals, citizenship, and civics.
During late afternoon, Teacher read to the entire school. The most memorable chapter-a-day book was of a severe drought that plagued India and how the villagers survived.
Older students took responsibility for younger ones. Seventh and eighth graders helped the younger students with their coats, caps, mittens, and boots. On the playground, an eighth grade boy might stand behind a first grader with arms wrapped around him and help the tyke swing the bat at the underhand pitched softball. The happy slugger might mistakenly start running down the third base line. A fifth grader would grab the kid and gently orient him to the first base line. Call it a metaphor for the one-room country school…get ‘em going in the right direction. Lessons learned.
Kids learned to work independently without a teacher. Children helped each other with lessons, older ones tutoring the lower grades, often their siblings. While Teacher had the third graders up front reciting, a seventh grader would be using flash cards to help a second grader with the multiplication tables. An eighth grader would be running off papers on the jellied surface of the hectograph machine.
Students heard the lessons of younger classmates, a review of what was learned in years past. Kids listened to the lessons being recited by older students and got a hint of what to expect in the years ahead.
Teacher assigned duties for the last ten minutes of the school day. Everyone had chores. Teacher made up a list and posted it. It was the duties for an entire week and they rotated from week to week. You could ask for a favorite duty, but Teacher was the benevolent dictator and she decided what duties you had. Kids were expected to do the assigned duty well and do it without complaint.
Older kids took down the flag, carefully folded it, and stored it away for the next day. Three or four students used a wheelbarrow to bring in chunks of wood from the woodshed and stack them behind the pot-bellied stove. Some kids took the erasers and pounded out the chalk against the concrete steps. Kids stacked the library books, made sure the outdoor toilets were swept and had toilet paper, emptied the wastebasket, brought in water from the cistern and filled up the five gallon Blue Crown water crock. Tall kids washed the blackboards. Select kids passes out the goiter pills. The most coveted duty was to pull the rope that rang the large school bell signaling the end of recess.
Every Friday a reddish sweeping compound was sprinkled on the wooden floor, rubbed in, and swept up. The “rubbing in” part was fun. We would skid and skate up and down the aisles between desks, move the desks, slide some more, pretending we were Jackie Robinson sliding into second base. Oak Grove School kids took care of their school. There was pride. School was our home for eight hours every day, Monday through Friday, five days a week. Lessons learned.
We also learned how to organize our own playground time. Younger and older kids joined together on the playground. We chose up sides and played softball. “You’re out” “No, I was safe” disputes were settled among ourselves. If not, we knew Teacher would be calling us in, and nobody wanted to cut down recess time. We discovered how to compromise and negotiate. Lessons learned.
Annie Over and Hide-and-Go-Seek could be played any time of the year. In wintertime, we played Fox and Geese in the freshly fallen snow. We divided sides, built snow forts, and had snowball fights. Some days were ideal for sleigh riding.
We kids accepted others for who they were, not based on age, size, grade level, social standing, wealth, or color. Well, we were all farm kids and we were all poor. Some families were better off than others, but we didn’t know it and didn’t care.
We 28 kids at Oak Grove School knew who the “smart kids” were. Some got a tag or label as being “dumb" or "slow”. That didn’t make any difference. We learned to give and take. We knew who to tease and who not to tease. There was a family-life relationship of younger and older students working and playing together. We simply got along with each other.
In the Fall of 1952, the good little citizens of Oak Grove School went to the polls. It was a Presidential election year. Teacher made a cardboard box with a slit on top and wrote the names Stevenson and Eisenhower on the blackboard. The 28 kids of Oak Grove Ridge School voted, a 100 per cent turnout. Eisenhower won in a landslide. Democracy in action. Lessons learned.
Oak Grove School gave the farmers a feeling of pride. When those rural schools closed and consolidated in the early 1960’s, much of that sense of community was lost. Children were bused to a larger central school in Seneca, a distance of three to six miles for most families. Many parents felt a loss of kinship with their fellow farmers.
There was talk about a superior, perhaps a more well-rounded education in the consolidated school. But, I was never convinced. The lessons I learned in the Oak Grove Ridge one-room country school lasted me a lifetime. Oak Grove School was a small place in Crawford County, Wisconsin, but it remains a big place in my heart.
To read a previous post by Larry Scheckel, use the link below:
"Memories of a Wisconsin Basket Social: Fundraising at the Oak Grove School"
"On the Land, Learning at Hand"
Calling for Presenters!
The fall descended in a blaze of color, the holidays are whizzing by, and before you know it we will be meeting for the 16th Annual Country School Association Conference in Fredericksburg, TX. If you enjoy the history and preservation of one-room schools, this is the conference for you!
CSAA is heading to the Lone Star State, to the Texas Hill Country and you are invited! The Friends of the Gillespie County Country Schools in Fredericksburg, TX are rolling out the red carpet for participants to the next annual conference slated for June 19-22, 2016. June 22 will include the optional tour of country schools in Gillespie County.
Now is the time to submit your proposal for your presentation.
Deadline for submission: February 1, 2016.
Country School Association of America
16th Annual Conference
June 19-22, 2016
The theme is “On the Land, Learning at Hand,” and presenters are encouraged to build presentations around the individuality of country schools; lessons of the land; and academic skills taught by hands.
Other suggestions of interest to the audience:
History, preservation, restoration of county schools
Curriculum – reading, writing, and arithmetic etc.
The lives of former teachers and students
Socials – end of school picnics and programs, Christmas celebrations, box socials
Fund raising - ideas for other preservationists
School Government- local school boards, state regulations, federal regulations
Attendance and transportation in country schools
Sources for preservation, restoration, re-enactment
Writing and speaking on behalf of country schools
Financial planning for your country school
...and many more
To access the informational PDF, use this link:
Visit the CSAA website for information on schoolhouse preservation, awards and grants, annual conference, slide shows of past conferences, links to our on-line JOURNAL, and numerous country school resources.
On tour: Visit the Junction School in Stonewall, TX, where Lyndon Johnson attended as a small child. (one of many open for visitors on our tour)
Hornby School Tries Crowd Funding
By Margaret Clark, President, Hornby School Restoration Society
Built in 1875, Hornby School has been restored as a living history museum. Preservation activities are ongoing. Now we need a furnace. We have obtained grant funding for the bulk of the insulation and installation, but we’re a little short. We launched our first crowd funding campaign on the IndieGoGo platform on October 28. You can help by telling everyone you know about it. To participate, supporters need a computer with an internet connection and a credit card.
Here’s how it works: Log on to Indiegogo.com. Our specific link is http://igg.me/at/hornbyschool Sign up. You’ll need an e-mail address or a Facebook account. Use a credit card to support Hornby School Museum for any amount-- as little as $1.00. Like on PBS, you choose a level of support based on the perk you want. We have some appropriate “old School” perks. You get a reward. You share in making history. And Hornby School Museum is closer to having a furnace. Any funds raised over our goal will be used to pay the monthly gas bill.
Why this new strategy? When the Hornby School Restoration Society Board met in January 2015, they realized the need to change with the times to preserve Hornby and keep it available. They chose to launch a crowd-funding campaign on the Indiegogo platform because crowdfunding—asking a lot of people to give a little support—has become an option through the internet and Indiegogo is set up for online fund raising. Using Indiegogo, we can gain support and share history from Hornby’s collections with people everywhere.
Slide Show in Seven Minutes...
The 2015 CSAA Conference Slide Show ready for viewing! Enjoy photos from our presentations, our participants, and the ever-popular tour of local country schools. Saratoga Springs proved to be a wonderful venue for our 15th annual gathering.
SAVE THE DATES for 2016 and 2017 CSAA Annual Conferences!
In June 2016 CSAA is heading to the Lone Star State, to the Texas Hill Country and you are invited! The Friends of the Gillespie County Country Schools in Fredericksburg, TX are rolling out the red carpet for participants to the next annual conference slated for June 19-22, 2016. Detailed information will be forthcoming. Check back on our website in the coming months.
In 2017 we will make our way to the Granite State and the quaint little village of New London, NH. Colby-Sawyer College will be the site of this conference to be held between Lake Sunapee and Mount Kearsage, June 11-14, 2017. Visit classic New England schoolhouses in pristine settings! Plans are in the works.
So much to look forward to in quality programming!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com. 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.
Diane Daniels Manning: Hill Country Teacher: Oral Histories from the One-Room School and Beyond
Memories from one-room school teachers in the Texas Hill Country.
Lucy Forsyth Townsend: More Than 200,000 Country Schools: A Guide for Research, Preservation, and Education
A guide for all preservationists and historical societies who are saving our country schools.
P.J. Hartenaus: My Sometimes Pal - The Belden Series
Fifth grade teacher P.J. Hartenaus enjoys bringing history to life with tales that her students can relate to in the present. While exploring the unglaciated area of Galena, Illinois, Hartenaus came upon a deserted one-room schoolhouse called Belden. That discovery led her to find journals from the 1800s, artifacts, and 166 tales of a time long ago as told by the elderly students who once attended Belden School. Today, the story lives through Peter McDugal, the young hero of the Belden Boy Series.
Mark W. Dewalt: Amish Education in the United States and Canada
A rich ethnographic description of Amish education in the 21st century.
Jonathan Zimmerman: Small Wonder: The Little Red Schoolhouse in History and Memory (Icons of America)
Today a beloved national icon, the one-room schoolhouse has played a variety of roles in America's popular memory.
Myrna J. Grove: Legacy of One-Room Schools
A must-own for all schoolhouse preservationists!