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Highlights I wanted to share, 

    the next stories, those I want to tell

Chris Claremont, a Brit by birth, is an American comic book writer and novelist, who worked for Marvel Comics. He once wrote, “The more stories I told, the more I found I wanted to tell. There was always something left unsaid. I got hooked by my own impulse of 'Well, what's gonna happen next?’”


That’s the way I feel about highlighting stuff about Wisconsin for you that cannot be left unsaid.


Claremont expresses my feeling perfectly: “What excites me, what attracts me, what gets me up in the morning is telling the next story and getting it out in front of readers and hoping they'll love it too.”


 There is no end to the stories I could tell. I hope you enjoy these.

Wisconsin’s Old-Time Schoolhouses

Historic school house museum, Hwy 32,  Wabeno

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Wisconsin is home to a number of rare, old-time schoolhouses, a sight that is becoming increasingly scarce. I've had the privilege of spotting over 30 of these historical gems during my travels across the state.


Brandon Bustead commented in Forbes in November 2020,


The one-room schoolhouse was once a signature of the American education landscape, with roughly 190,000 such schools in 1919. Today, roughly 400 remain. What many would characterize as a relic of the past or a remnant of rural America, the one-room schoolhouse may instead be a vision for the future of education.”


Richard Fidler opines these schoolhouses are not good models for today’s education but instead are “memorials to the past (that) grace the countryside.” Fidler strikes a chord, however, saying,


“Still, we think of the one-room school as a delightful artifact of a bygone age.  We imagine it reflected values that underlie a fair and decent society–caring for the young, fostering independence, sharing resources, accepting discipline, and mastering reading, writing, and arithmetic.”


Perhaps it is those values we often miss. Allow me to show you the schoolhouses I have found. Maybe one of them was yours, or one that schooled a member of your family.

Brushville Nr 4

Second schoolhouse for Brushville. The first was a log cabin. Village is in town of Bloomfield, Waushara County. 

Fine Art America shows the Brushville School among its presentations of “architecture art.” 

Town of Bloomfield Plan 2025, lists the Brushville school in the Architecture & History Inventory. Found on Wisconsin Historical Society’s Division of Preservation website.

Dancy Public

The Dancy Public School in the town of Knowlton, Marathon County, was built in 1909. The square cupola is off, but the nameplate remains.


In her book, “Wisconsin’s Lost Towns,” Rhonda Fuchs lists Dancy as a lost town. She wrote that the town had a “boarding house, a dance hall, a sawmill, and a school.”

Dunnville

The Dunnville School in Dunn County was built in 1908. It currently serves as a private residence. 

In her book, “Wisconsin’s Lost Towns,” Rhonda Fuchs lists Dunnville as a lost town. It is very close to the mouth of the Red Cedar River, twelve miles south of Menomonie.

In its day it was a logging community. It was said to be a rowdy place.  It actually became a riverport.

Elm School

The Elm School in Jackson County was opened in 1891 and closed in 1900. Most of the students were absorbed into the Hilton school district to the east.  


The building remains in its original location on Hwy 95 between Taylor and Hilton. It is now used as the Town Hall of Curran. 

Elton School

The Elton Schoolhouse was constructed in 1912. It is on Hwy 64, about 4 four miles east of Antigo in Langlade County.

It showcases the village of Elton’s unique history.  

The building also served as the Evergreen Town Hall. It is now a community center and a museum of local artifacts, including a chalkboard signed by residents & visitors who attended the school.

Forest Vale No. 8

This is the Forest Vale School No. 8. The nameplate says it was established in 1879. It is now a private residence. 


A History of Waterville notes , “Many of these schools closed by the 1940s. In the early 1960s, all the remaining rural schools closed their doors and were consolidated into larger districts of Arkansaw, Durand, and Plum City.”

Forest View District #3    

The Forest View School in June 2013, on CH C just short of Bluebird Lane in Langlade County,  The first school was a log structure. The second was a frame structure. This one, the third, Forest View District #3, is brick. She has seen her better days!

When I visited it in 2013 I learned a man bought the land and the school, placed his mobile home on the land, lived there and took care of the property. ou can see his mobile home to the right of the photo.

Frey

The Frey School in Roxbury was built around 1870. It has been added to the State Register of Historic Places. It was built with locally quarried sandstone.  Its design is simple, though its pointed arch entrance door stands out. It did not have indoor plumbing and it was heated by a wood stove. Members of the Frey family supplied wood and water for drinking while the school was in operation.

Garden Valley #2 

The name plate says the Garden Valley School in Waumandee was built in 1902. 

The Wisconsin Historical Society lists it as a “one to six-room school.”  It describes the building,

“Segmental arch windows with decorative keystones and springers, central around the arch entrance.”

It lists the school as having a “Front Gabled” architectural style.

Hendry School    

I visited the Hendry School of Lafayette near Chippewa Falls two weeks after it was torn down. Gary Swartz sent me this photo of the school.  The Hendry School was the third one built on the Hendry property, the last one was finished in October 1929, this one. The Chippewa Herald said it was “an unpainted … frame edifice and its inside arrangements nothing to boast of.” In 1882 it was in  District II, taught by Miss Ella Beaver.

Joliet    

Kingsley School

The Joliet School, officially “JT District No 1B Stanley & Barron,” is in Barron County at the Pioneer Village Museum. Built in 1905, It was located in Stanley Township. It was built in 1905 and closed in 1962. 


It had an enclosed stove oven so the children would not burn themselves and a small coat room. Usually, the room was split into half for boys and half for girls. 

The Kingsley School is in Gratiot, Lafayette County. I met the man living in a nearby home who attended the school as did all his children. He restored it.


There were no markings on the building. The village plat for Gratiot was first laid out in 1835. It was laid out again in 1856. 

Liberty School   

Lincoln School

This is Liberty School in what was known as the German Settlement in the town of Spirit in Price County. It was built in 1919. The school took the name Liberty because it was built shortly after the end of WWI. 


The school's last eight students were in 1953. It closed in 1963, and the students went to Rib Lake. The schoolhouse is now a private residence. 

The Lincoln School, built in 1880, is on Highway 88, north of Nelson. It is currently being used as the Lincoln Town Hall. 


Lincoln had one school, which began in 1863. Mr. John Muir was its first teacher. According to the history, it was known as District 8 of Waumandee. 

Little Plum

Maiden Rock

The Little Plum School opened in 1899 in Frankfort, Pepin County, replacing the original school built in 1866. It was built at a cost of $800 and was formerly known as Little Plum School District #2. A Lutheran Church was located on a lot adjoining the school. The church’s congregation was hard-pressed to maintain the school. Debra Fisher and Ricky Riggins bought it in 2017 and have been working to preserve it.  They live in the church.

Gary and Jennifer Peterson have written, “The Maiden Rock Schook was built in 1906 and was the third schoolhouse to be constructed on this piece of property.”  They operate it as a B&B. J.D. Trumbull surveyed and laid out the  Village of Maiden Rock in 1857. A schoolhouse “of moderate dimensions” was erected in 1858. Trumbull paid the teacher, Miss Charlotte Isabelle, from his own money since taxes had not yet been collected. It served as a school and church.

Maple Grove Center Nr 7

Marion Nr 3

The Maple Grove Center School District No. 7 school is on Hwy 25, near Barron. The first schoolhouse was built in 1877 and burned down in 1881. Most schools in the county were “primitive.” Teachers had no formal training, and some were as young as 16. In 1876, there were 42 schoolhouses, thirty-eight of which were in good condition. A new schoolhouse was built in Maple Grove in 1897. The Maple Grove Center District 7 School was rated the “best one-room building in the county.” 

Nelson School

Nerison School

The Nerison School belonged to the town of Esofea near Coon Valley. Only a few of the six schools in the Coon Valley area were made of brick.


Esofea once was a stopping point for travelers between Viroqua and La Crosse.  Nearly everything was destroyed in the early 1990s to make way for road construction.


Oak Grove Nr 4

Plainview

Plainview Elementary School in Albion, Trempealeau County, was built circa 1918-1919, replacing a tiny wooden schoolhouse about a mile down the road.


The wooden school began operations in 1888. The newer brick one-room school closed operations in 1962, Interestingly, male teachers always taught in the fall “as that was when the  older boys attended.” 

Pleasant Corner

Pleasant Dale #9

Pleasant Dale School #9 dates back to the 1900s.  It held grades one through eight with about 4o students. The school has been moved three times, from its spot in the Township of Stanton, between Knapp and Boyceville, to the Village of Knapp; moved within Knapp; now next to the Knapp School Property. Originally it was attached to the Village of Boyceville and then to the Menomonie School District in Dunn County.

Portland Center

Stockholm Public

The Portland Center school is located at 28049 CH X, officially now in the town of Cashton. It is now a private residence.  German settlers came from Jefferson County in 1862 and were members of the Lutheran Church. Rev. Fred. Wm. Haas, a pioneer preacher, came to the area in 1865 after walking 24 miles on foot. Rev. Henry C. Dagefoerde was the next pastor. He preached to a small band of Lutherans in the Portland Center schoolhouse. in about 1873.  I believe that this is the one.

In 1856 Dr. Eric Norelius established a Lutheran church. A small building was erected for the church and school. A new school was built in 1877, and yet another in 1905, which stands today. In 1875 there were 75 students. The first school was a small frame building used as a house of worship.  In 1905 a brick school building of four rooms was erected. There were two teachers, teaching eight grades and one year of high school.

Sunny Slope

Union School

Sunny Slope School, District #2, is in the town of Summit, Langlade County. It was built in 1917, the third Sunny Slope School. The first, was a large structure with a rough pine lumber floor, 16 x 24 ft. It opened in 1889. The second was also a log structure, built in 1898, a bit larger with an area of 22 x 32 ft. The third school was named after the picturesque slope on which the district school is located.” It was considered to be a “modern Building.” It was converted into a residence in 2006. 

This school was hard to identify, but I am convinced it is the Union School in the township of Union, which includes Plum City.


The plate above the door says “1896.” The school building is about four miles southeast of Plum City on CH U.


It shares grounds with the Free Home Cemetery, which remains operational.

Waste Valley    

Wittenberg’s First    

The Waste Valley School was built in 1898. It was moved to the Mondovi Tourist Park in 1983. The Mondovi Historical Society operates the tourist park. The school now serves as an old-time one-room schoolhouse museum.


The Waste Valley School District was the only one in Mondovi in 1858. 


The Waste Valley in Buffalo County was named after Charles Waste, a pioneer settler.

This was the first schoolhouse in Wittenberg, built in 1882. The community began using it as a town hall in 1920. It even had a jail in the back room. It was marked for demolition. Bob Nueske bought it in 1992 and moved it to its current location at Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Meat, a well-known company in Wittenberg, specializing in smoked meats, especially Applewood smoked meats.  It took eight years to restore it. 

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Deny

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